The Tampa Bay Rays are in a terrible offensive slump. Luckily
for them, they haven’t needed much success at the plate for pitcher
Moore looks to continue his scoreless streak as the Rays try to
get their offense on track in the middle game of a road series
against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay (4-9) ranks near the bottom of the majors in runs (39)
and batting average (.204). The Rays have been especially bad in
dropping seven of eight, totaling 14 runs and hitting .160 while
going 1 for 34 with runners in scoring position.
“As long as players don’t quit on themselves then we’re in good
shape, and we’re not going to do that because I’m not going to do
that,” manager Joe Maddon said after his team matched the
franchise’s worst start with a 5-4 loss in the series opener
Tuesday. “I like the battle. I like the fight. The work has been
great. It’s going to flip.”
The Rays hope to snap out of their funk with Moore (2-0, 0.00
ERA) taking the mound for his third start. The left-hander has the
longest scoreless streak to open the season among AL starters at 11
1-3 innings. He held Texas hitless for the first 4 1-3 innings and
allowed one hit over 5 1-3 in a 2-0 win last Wednesday.
Moore maintained his perfect ERA despite walking a career-high
“Where the big pitches that really needed to be made, I was
locked into those moments,” Moore said. “From that, we can be happy
with what the results were.”
Moore has allowed three hits in his first two starts and leads
major league starters with an .086 opponents’ batting average. But
he has already walked eight and thrown two wild pitches.
Maddon acknowledges that Moore can sometimes have trouble with
control, but admits that he has enjoyed Moore’s start to 2013.
Moore has “this nice little tempo, then all of a sudden you see
the tempo (go away) and there’s this little thing at the end of the
delivery,” Maddon told the Rays’ official website. “A little
lagging of the arm. … But when he’s right on and that thing comes
together, it’s beautiful to watch from the side.”
Moore was excellent in his first four career starts against
Baltimore last season, going 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA. However, he
walked 13 in 19 2-3 innings.
Despite Moore’s success against the Orioles, Baltimore catcher
Matt Wieters is 5 for 8 with two homers and three walks against
Wieters was 2 for 26 over his last eight games before hitting a
solo homer in the series opener, helping the Orioles (7-6) improve
to 3-1 against the Rays in 2013.
Chris Tillman (0-0, 7.00) will get the ball next for the
Orioles. The right-hander held Boston to two runs in 5 1-3 innings
Thursday, and Baltimore took a 3-2 victory on Adam Jones’ RBI
double in the seventh.
Tillman is 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA in seven starts against the
Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria, who’s 6 for 15 (.400)
with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored versus Baltimore
this season, is 6 for 12 with three homers and three walks against