Lately, Matt Moore and the entire Rays pitching staff has just continued to implode. It seems like almost every outing starts in disastrous fashion and even when it doesn’t, the implosion comes in a nightmarish inning later in the game. At least Moore has an excuse: the rain messed him up. Moore went just one inning on May 31st before a lengthy rain delay took him out of the game. Moore then went on three days’ rest on June 4th, with the thinking being that after throwing just 11 pitches, they wanted to get him back on the mound as soon as possible, but he lasted just 3+ innings allowing 6 runs, walking 6 while striking out just 1. And then on June 9th, he continued to be considerably off of his form, allowing 9 runs, 8 earned, in 5 innings, although he did rebound a little bit by allowing just 1 run in his final 2 innings of work. Moore has to find a way to regain that sharpness and tenacity that led him to an 8-0 record and a 2.18 ERA in his first 11 starts. For some inspiration, he can look no further than another Rays left-hander with overbearing stuff, pitching prospect Blake Snell at Low-A Bowling Green.
On May 22nd, Snell had gone 2 perfect innings when a rain delay forced him out of the game. He next pitched on May 29th, but he wasn’t sharp at all as he allowed 5 runs in 4 innings, walking 6 while striking out 1 just like Moore. Then he allowed 4 runs in 3.2 innings in his next start, striking out just 1. But finally in his third start after the rain-shortened outing he started to regain his form, going 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. He wasn’t dominant and it was far from his best effort, but he started to look once again like the promising pitcher the Rays know he is. The Rays have to hope Matt Moore can do the same exact thing.
As a prospect in a major league organization, you can’t help but glance at big league team’s numbers every once a while and dream of being in their position. That is especially the case for players at your position. There had to be some moment where Blake Snell was thinking “I hope someday I can be the next Matt Moore.” The process doesn’t go the other way–except for maybe spring training and rehab outings, big leaguers pay little attention to what the minor leaguers are doing. But in this case, Moore has an example right in front of him for precisely what he needs to do. Now it’s time for him to go back to the mound and get back to executing his pitches, just like Snell.