Matt Moore, 1-5. Who predicted that? Sure, won-loss record is far from everything and far from perfect and Moore has pitched better of late, but wow. Thus far in 2012 he is 1-5 with a 4.76 ERA, a 9.2 K/9, a 4.4 BB/9, and a 1.4 HR/9 in 10 starts and 56.2 IP. But the funny thing is that this has happened to him before.
In 2009, Matt Moore broke through as a prospect. Tons of pitchers dominate at Rookie ball. But that number dwindles down once you get to full-season ball. Moore had gone 8-5 in 26 Low-A starts with a 3.15 ERA, a 12.9 K/9, a 5.1 BB/9, and a 0.4 HR/9 in 123 IP. But the question was whether he could keep his top-notch performance, especially the strikeout rate, going given his problems with control. His start in 2010 at High-A Charlotte did not exactly inspire confidence.
In his first 11 starts spanning 54.1 IP, Moore went 0-7 and his ERA was a ghastly 6.63. His struck out 69, an 11.4 K/9, but he walked 34, a 5.6 BB/9. He also allowed 3 home runs (0.5 HR/9). Moore was still missing bats and showing the electric stuff, but his control and command was absolutely horrific. How would Moore respond? The rest of the season, Moore went 6-5 with a 1.49 ERA, a 13.5 K/9, a 3.2 BB/9, and a 0.4 HR/9 in 17 starts and 102.2 IP. He struck out double-digit batters more times (11) than not (6). He went from struggling to dominating by any measure.
Can Moore do the same thing in 2012? It’s important to note that his struggles were over a little bit of a shorter period (9 starts), manifested themselves more in home runs allowed than in walks and he has not exactly gotten the same strikeout totals as he did back in 2010. Past results are not indicative of future performance. But Moore has the ability to make his season do a complete 180 and dominate the American League the rest of the season. Moore is just getting started with his turnaround. He already started it with his impressive outing on May 28th against the White Sox, taking the loss but allowing just 2 runs in 7 innings, striking out 10 while walking 1.Hopefully his resurgence continues today versus the Orioles and he can lead the Rays to a series win and back into first place in the AL East with a dominating effort.