ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 17: Matt Moore #55 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on May 17, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
It was a tale of two games for Matt Moore. He came out spitting hot fire and struck out the side in the first inning. Unfortunately, he also allowed two singles, a hit-by-pitch, and walked in a run to give the Red Sox an early lead. Things didn't get better to start the second inning, as Marlon Byrd timed up a 3-2 center-cut fastball and hit a homer to left.
After that, however, Moore started to turn things around. He got ahead of the Sox hitters and in the third inning looked downright dominant. Yes, he did give up a two-out solo homer to Cody Ross to dead center on an 0-2 change-up, but that one pitch more indicative of Ross timing up a bad pitch, than Moore's post-first-inning performance.
It was smooth sailing after that Ross homer as Moore retired the next ten Sox to finish the night with 6IP, 3ER, 5H, 1BB, and 8K. He induced twelve swinging strikes on 106 pitches, eight of them on the fastball. Hopefully this is the start of an upswing for the slow-starting rookie.
Here's his plot if you're interested:
The deciding runs would of course come off the bat of Cody Ross. Full disclosure: I have a hard time taking anyone named 'Cody' seriously. It all stems from the time I was asked to take my (Devil) Rays hat off in a restaurant. Frankie Muniz (AKA Agent Cody Banks) and his 'posse' were seated a table away and he was wearing a beret . A frickin' beret. And I have to take off my hat? Come on! This America, man.
Sorry about that, I blacked out for a second. Anyhoo, In the eighth, Cody Ross came up with the big hit of the night on a 96-hop, Muniz-beret of a single up the middle that scored two and gave Ross his third and fourth RBI of the night. Elliot Johnson could have made a play on it, but he was playing towards the line in the shift and couldn't get back up the middle. Yes, shift happens, we know. God, I hate Frankie Muniz.
Bullets after the jump...
- On the brighter side of things, Rich Thompson collected his first Major league hit on an RBI-single that scored Sean Rodriguez in the fourth inning. He then proceeded to steal to bases before being stranded at third. We have nothing to expect from the 33 year-old rookie, so everything he does well is exciting.
- Once again, the Rays put pressure on the Red Sox starter, but just couldn't pull the trigger when it counted. They amassed eleven base runners in Doubront's 5.2 innings, but only pushed across two runs, one of them unearned thanks to a Kelly Shopaholic (my computer wants to auto-correct to this, so why not) Catcher's Interference call.
- 'Twas Wade Davis who gave up the Ross 'single' in the eighth inning, but the runners belonged to Burke Badenhop and J.P. Howell. Badenhop pitched a dandy seventh, however, striking out the side. Howell faced Ortiz and walked him on five pitches. Davis pitched well allowing just that one hit and a walk through 1.2 innings. What I'm saying is: it wasn't a bullpen meltdown tonight, they just weren't perfect. I suppose these things happen.
- Oh, and Mike Aviles got tossed. That was nice to see.
- James Shields looks to get the Rays back in the Win column tomorrow night as he faces Tommy "Ummmbop" Hanson and the Braves of Atlanta @ 7:10.