Rays Spring Training Game 13 Preview: Matt Moore Hopes to Rebound

By Robbie Knopf

Yes, spring training stats are pretty meaningless. There is a point, though, where you have to start being a little concerned, and Matt Moore reached that point in his last start as he allowed 4 runs in just two-thirds of an inning. Moore hopes for better results this time out as the Rays take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at Charlotte Sports Park. Here’s the Rays’ lineup.

1. Ben Zobrist, 2B
2. David DeJesus, CF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. James Loney, 1B
5. Yunel Escobar, SS
6. Wilson Betemit, DH
7. Wil Myers, RF
8. Ryan Hanigan, C
9. Brandon Guyer, LF

Starting Pitcher: Matt Moore

The good news for Moore is that he also reached 95 MPH in his last outing, well above where he was at this time this spring. Moore hopes for a much more consistent outing to remind everyone that he will be just fine. Ryan Hanigan will attempt to find the right combination behind the plate to get Moore going strong.

Today marks Zobrist’s first time in the field as he finally takes his place at second base. He continues leading off to help him get more at-bats. Overall, this lineup is a reasonable facsimile of a regular season Rays lineup–but the crazy thing is Myers batting 7th. We have to think that it is for the opposite reason that Zobrist is batting leadoff–the Rays want to get Myers in the lineup, but they are more concerned with the guys ahead of him getting at-bats.

Guyer takes the field once again as he hopes to make his case for a roster spot. His results so far have been underwhelming as he has started 3 for 16 (.188) with a couple of misplays in the field. But Guyer’s talent is too impressive to be outweighed by a few bad games, and the Rays will hope to see more of his power, speed, and defense in the coming weeks.

Behind Matt Moore, Heath Bell, Jeff Beliveau, Adam Liberatore, Juan Sandoval, and Sam Runion are also scheduled to pitch. Bell hopes to continue working on his splitter as he hopes to come back in a big way in 2014. The others are just hoping to do something to help them stand out. Beliveau and Liberatore are in similar positions as 26 year old lefties who racked up huge strikeout numbers at Triple-A but still need to prove they can do the same against big league hitters. Their odds for the roster are long, but catching the Rays’ eyes enough to be in consideration for future call-ups would be a solid consolation prize.

The game will be broadcast on Gameday Audio beginning at 1:05 PM. Enjoy the game, and check back at Rays Colored Glasses for the recap later today.