Remember when, not so long ago, Matt Moore looked like a potential Cy Young Award candidate? Barely two weeks ago, Moore appeared to be one of the best pitchers in the American League, as he and Alex Cobb were the two most reliable starters for the Rays. Well, things have changed since then for Moore, as he has gone 0-3 with a 13.87 ERA over his last three starts. So much for that 8-0 start.
What has been the cause of Moore’s troubles? As we noted previously, his velocity has been at the same level, but his command had been off. Far too often, the catcher would be set up outside, and Moore would throw a pitch on the inner half of the plate, or conversely, throw to the outer edge when trying to hit the inside corner. His mechanics just appeared to be off.
Those mechanical issues were obvious during his walk to Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning. After getting a strike, he threw a pitch where he left his back foot up in the air after the release. On the follow through for ball two, he put his back leg down, but it almost seemed as though he did so absentmindedly. He did put his leg down on the third ball, but the back leg remained relatively low to the ground. On the fourth ball, and the fifth pitch of the at bat, Moore’s leg was in between where it had been on the third and fourth pitches. Four pitches – four different follow throughs.
Quite simply, Moore just has not been able to repeat his delivery as of late. This likely has led to his command issues, where he has been missing his spots by such a wide margin. Thankfully, this may be something that is easily corrected, and Moore can get back to being the pitcher he was over the first two months.
With the continued struggles of Jeremy Hellickson and David Price still on the disabled list, the Rays need Matt Moore to lead their pitching staff for the time being. Getting his mechanics straightened out may allow him to get back to doing just that.