Matt Moore had to be feeling lucky just to be there, having been named an All-Star only after Yu Darvish went down with a back injury. But Moore had no idea what was in store for him once the game began. He got the call for the 6th inning, and everything went perfectly as he sent Carlos Gonzalez, Yadier Molina, and Troy Tulowitzki down 1-2-3 on just 9 pitches. With a fastball hitting 94 MPH twice and a late-fading changeup in the mid-80’s, Moore gave fans throughout baseball a taste of the dominance that Rays fans have been seeing from him just about the entire season. But the entire day, it felt to Moore like something was off.
Moore’s night didn’t begin well, as he and Zobrist mixed up their spots in the line during pregame introductions, and he didn’t warm up well.
“I hadn’t felt that good the entire time I’d been here,” Moore said. “It was kind of like a big deep breath and I just blew it out. There was no longer that hanging over my head like, ‘Okay, I’m here, but I haven’t pitched in a game yet.’ So to me that had a lot to do with just letting go and having as much fun as possible.”
One of the most frustrating things about Moore since he has made the major leagues has been his inconsistency–he’ll be rolling one second and then completely fall apart the next. The thing about Moore, though, is that it seems like whenever the moment comes when he’s struggling the most, suddenly he springs back in the opposite direction and everything starts to click once again. It was his rough three starts from June 4th to June 14th where he managed just a 13.86 ERA that spurred him to go 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his following five starts and get himself to the All-Star Game. And it was his tough time the day of the game that helped him to an inning that he’ll never forget as he helped the American League win the All-Star Game 3-0. Congrats to Moore on being an All-Star and throwing that outstanding inning, and hopefully his best is still to come in the second half of the season.