While Matt Moore entered 2012 with very high expectations, he
wasn’t able to find much consistency during the first half of the
He could get off to a rough start to the second against a
Cleveland Indians club that hit him hard just over a week ago.
Moore tries to avenge one of his more disappointing outings as
the Tampa Bay Rays continue a four-game set with the visiting
Indians on Tuesday night.
Considered by many to be one of baseball’s most promising young
pitchers, Moore (5-6, 4.42 ERA) hasn’t lived up to that billing
yet. Though his 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings rank among the AL’s
top 10, the left-hander has been plagued by poor control while
walking 50 in 99 2-3 innings.
Moore was especially wild against Cleveland (46-43) in his final
start before the All-Star break, yielding a season high-tying five
walks along with five runs and five hits over 4 2-3 innings of a
7-3 road loss July 7.
“He’s young and has great stuff, but still a little
inconsistent,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “We ran his pitch
count up early and had a lot of good at-bats. You need to stay
focused against a guy like him.”
That outing was especially disheartening given that Cleveland is
10-17 against left-handed starters this year, but the 23-year-old
Moore is trying to learn from his struggles.
“I’ve had nine days off between starts, so I’ve had some
recollection of what’s been going on,” Moore told the Rays’
official website. “I’ve definitely been looking at some film, just
trying to stay consistent with my delivery. They hit five doubles
off me. I looked back at some tape and figured out a couple hot
spots for the zone.”
Moore has to like his chances of bouncing back at home, where
he’s compiled a 1.80 ERA during a three-start winning streak. Tampa
Bay, though, has posted a 12-21 record at Tropicana Field since
winning 13 of its first 14 games there.
Hitting just .202 with runners in scoring position during a 6-12
stretch overall, the Rays (46-44) went 2 for 10 in such situations
during Monday’s 3-2 series-opening loss. Shin-Soo Choo and Jason
Kipnis each had two hits and an RBI.
“These guys have been able to win close ballgames the whole
year,” Acta said. “They’ll fight, they’ll fight and fight.”
Batting .383 with five homers and 19 runs scored in his last 24
games, Choo has gone 12 for 30 (.400) with a pair of long balls
during an eight-game hitting streak against Tampa Bay.
Josh Tomlin (5-5, 5.45) returns to the mound after having his
way with the Rays in his last start July 5. The right-hander gave
up one run and two hits over seven innings of a 3-1 victory,
earning his first win in three starts in this series.
“The inconsistency this year for me has been the biggest
disappointment,” he told his team’s official website. “Last year, I
felt like I could go out there every start and figure out a way to
pitch deep into the game. That hasn’t happened as much this year.
Hopefully I can pick it up from here, and hopefully this continues
for the rest of the season.”
If his recent road efforts are any indication, Tomlin could have
difficulty building on his last performance. He is 1-2 with an
11.77 ERA over his last three outings away from home, with
opponents hitting .404 and taking him deep six times.