In a disappointing postseason series loss to the Texas Rangers, the one bright spot was the performance in game one of Matt Moore. Moore looked like a postseason veteran rather than a rookie making his second big league start. He pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and recording six strikeouts. The Rays hope the game was just a sneak peek at what Moore can bring to the table next year, or whenever they decide to bring him up to the big leagues full time. Over on the Fansided site SeedlingsToStars, they did a breakdown of what makes Moore successful. Check out Nathaniel Stoltz’ in-depth look at Moore’s pitches and the dominant year he had in 2011.
Moore started the year in Double-A, moved to Triple-A over the summer and then joined the Rays in September. It was never really a question of if Moore would make it to the majors, but simply when. The Rays answered that question when they made the call in mid-September. His first appearance was in relief and was not what he was hoping for. It did showcase his ability strike batters out. He struck out the first two batters he faced before giving up a single and a homer followed by a double. He was better in his next outing, another relief appearance, and then spectacular in his first major league start.
The Rays had just lost three straight and were trying to avoid getting swept by the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium. And by the way they were fighting for their playoff lives as well. Moore took the ball and gave the Rays just what they needed. He pitched five scoreless innings, recorded 11 strikeouts and picked up his first major league win. It was just a foreshadowing of how Moore could handle the pressure of starting in the postseason.
Moore had a fantastic year but the question remains, what will his role be in 2012? Will he begin the year with the Rays in Tampa or will he start the year in Durham to get a little more seasoning? The Rays starting staff is loaded and without some moves in the offseason, there really isn’t a spot for Moore. I can’t see the Rays having him on the roster just to sit in the bullpen as a long reliever or spot starter. Chances are unless a deal goes down he will begin the year in Triple-A so that he can get regular starts and then make a move to the majors if there’s an injury or the Rays make a midseason deal involving James Shields.