It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish–but when you fall behind 9-1 after the top of the 4th, even a comeback of unbelievable proportions will not be enough. The Rays offense continues to flex its muscles, but Matt Moore got destroyed for the second straight start to send the Rays a 10-7 loss and settle for two out of three against the Baltimore Orioles.
After allowing 6 runs in just 2 innings his last time out, Matt Moore took the hill hoping for much better results. He didn’t get them. Moore allowed 2 runs in the 1st and 3 in the 2nd and 3rd to put the Rays in an 8-1 hole and wound up allowing 9 runs, 8 earned, in 5 innings of work. You have to give Moore some credit for battling to get through 5 and save the Rays bullpen, even finishing his outing with a shutout 5th, but he was just horrible again and that can happen. Unlike his previous outing, where he didn’t have any control and walked 6 batters, Moore was able to keep the ball over the plate, throwing 71 of 100 pitches for strikes and striking out 6 while walking 1, but he just left pitch after pitch up in the zone and got hammered in the process. Moore’s ERA was at 2.18 two starts ago–now it’s at 3.78. Moore is a whole lot better than this. We’re not talking about an issue insidiously arising to begin a lengthy collapse but just Moore losing command of his pitches for a couple of starts. Now Moore has to find a way to get back on track and resume being the talented pitcher the Rays know he can be.
Cesar Ramos had a great bounce-back outing in relief of Moore, allowing 1 run on 4 hits in 3 innings of work, striking out 4 while walking none. Ramos has rebounded nightly after a recent disaster stretch, allowing 1 run in his last 8 innings. And thanks to Ramos’ strong effort, the Rays were able to make a comeback, albeit one of the “too little, too late” variety. Ben Zobrist and Sam Fuld both slammed homers, with Fuld’s being his first of the season, and a Jose Lobaton single in the 9th actually brought the tying run to the plate with two runners on the Rays down 10-7. But it all went for nought and the Rays will have to hope for better luck and better starting pitching next time around. Even after such a disastrous game, though, the Rays can hang their hats on a series win versus the Orioles and they will be just fine as long as they can put this game in the rearview mirror as they begin a huge three-game series with the first place Boston Red Sox.