The Rays Tank: Matt Moore Debut Edition

March 13, 2012; Sarasota, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Moore (55) throws in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. The Rays and Orioles ended in a 7 - 7 tie. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

The future outshined the present yesterday afternoon in Sarasota. Current ace David Price had a rough outing, allowing four runs and walking two in 3.2 innings of work. The four strikeouts he added helped ease the pain a bit, and he said his body is "feels pretty close to where it needs to be right now." So, that's good, especially coming off the heels of his all too vigorous toweling session last week.

Someone who actually pitched well Tuesday was 22-year-old all-world prospect, Matt Moore. Making his spring debut thanks to an abdominal strain, Moore picked up where he left off last season, striking out three in 1.2 innings of work. His changeup was reported at 88 miles an hour, which, you may note, is faster than some pitcher's fastballs (I'm looking at you, Jamie Moyer). It's hard to temper excitement whenever Moore pitches. It'll be hard to do that until he has a bad outing. Everyone who speaks of him does so only in superlatives. Take Joe Maddon for example, talking to's Bill Chastain post game:

"You saw the changeup that Matt's able to incorporate," Maddon said. "I mean, David's got good other stuff. But Matt, that one pitch that Matt has, it's one of the better ones, I think, that I've seen in the Major Leagues already, as a left-handed changeup, to go with the same kind of fastball

And check out Jose Molina's reaction after catching him for the first time:

"No one touches it," Rays catcher Jose Molina said Tuesday after catching Moore's first inning against the Orioles. "It's hard to hit off him. I mean, it's hard to catch him, imagine hitting off him. You really have to be in your game when you're behind the plate so you don't lose it and it hits you right in the mask."

Being compared favorably, and in this instance very favorably, to David Price is high praise for any pitcher, let alone a rookie. If you said Moore had better "stuff" than Price I'm not sure many people would disagree with you.

On the injury front, Luke Scott will be playing on an every other game basis as he rehabs his surgically repaired shoulder, with the goal being 50 at bats before opening day.

  • At, Dayn Perry has a nice write up of Matt Moore and his changeup. Also, bookmark their Eye on Baseball blog that Perry will be writing throughout the season. Few are more informative and funny than Perry.
  • Keith Law takes a look at when the Royals, Mets, Cubs, Padres and Astros can expect to contend. The Rays were mentioned in articles like this once. Success can come quickly if the right combination of things happen.
  • MLB has put off expanding instant replay until the 2013 season, due to all sides not being able to come to an agreement on how it would be implemented. Baseball doesn't mind deciding to add a second wild card a month before the season starts, though. That seems like a totally sane thing to do.
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