Despite a rocky start for the Tampa Bay Rays, Matt Moore has been one of the few bright spots for the team. Moore is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his two starts, conceding only three hits in his two starts combined. Last season, Moore had a solid year, posting an 11-11 record with a 3.81 ERA and 175 strikeouts. A number of scouts had predicted that Moore would break out in the coming seasons, however, few could have predicted that Moore would be outperforming the rest of the highly skilled Rays pitching staff.
One area that Moore does need to improve upon is his control. Last season, Moore walked 81 batters in 177.1 innings, good for 4.1 walks per 9 innings, which FanGraphs describes as between “below average” and “poor.” This season, Moore has already walked eight batters, good for 6.4 walks per 9 innings pitched, which FanGraphs describes as “awful.” Moore’s inability to consistently throw strikes has contributed to his inability to pitch more than six innings this season while throwing at least 100 pitches in each of his first two starts.
Another thing the Rays will need to do in order to win more games is provide some run support for their pitchers. The Rays are second to last in runs scored (39) and last in team batting average (.204). With runners in scoring position, the Rays are batting a “Mendoza-line” busting .176. Though the team lost B.J. Upton in the offseason, one could hardly have expected them to be hitting this poorly with Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings still on the team.
If Moore can straighten out his control issues and the Rays can start providing their pitching staff some run support, look for this team to sit closer to playoff contention than the cellar of the increasingly more competitive AL East. The first pitch of tonight’s game against the Baltimore Orioles is at 7:05 p.m. from Camden Yards in Baltimore, Md.