Today's game began with a rotation shuffle, moving Matt Moore up by one day, forcing him to pitch on four days rest to skip Alex Cobb's cut finger. That may not have been a great idea.
Moore started with one K and 2 hits in the bottom of the first on 31 pitches, and that was a bad sign. Detroit was reading the young southpaw well, taking balls outside, but also fouling just about everything they could.
The Rays gave some support when Longoria scored on and a sac after whamming a triple, but it wouldn't be that helpful. Detroit jumped on Moore in the second,
With two outs and a man on second, Torii Hunter took a ten-pitch walk, and Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked for Prince Fielder. A soft liner scored two more.
It took Moore 64 pitches to get out of the second, and he allowed four 2-strike hits (which is not his thing).
The third started with a first pitch double, and it took ten pitches to load the bases with no outs. The third baserunner was trying to sac-bunt and got walked on four pitches. Avisail scored one on a soft liner that kept 'em loaded, and the top of the order was back. Omar Infante earned a walk after a full count, and Torres was called in for Moore. 6-1 Detroit.
Matt Moore FInal Line: 2.0 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 1 K, 86-48 PC-ST
A Tale of Two Pitchers
Alex Torres entered the game with three major league appearances on the year, two 4.0 IP long, and hadn't allowed a single run. Here he got bases loaded, no outs, and with Hunter-Cabrera-Fielder on deck.
He too was pitching on short rest after being brought to the Rays pen from the Durham starting rotation, but no matter -- it was a tapper to third for an easy out at home, a 3-1 whiff on a change and a 3-2 whiff on the heater to get Miguel Cabrera swinging, and then K'd Fielder on a change in the dirt. GB-K-K, both swinging.
As erratic as Moore had been the previous 19 batters, Torres was hitting nearly every spot Molina gave him and escaped the jam. He followed with a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth
Kyle Farnsworth was brought in for the fifth inning, to the confusion of everyone watching, but I'm certain short-rest was to blame. The Professor got three ground outs, but allowed a 2-out, two-strike home run that sure felt like a strike.
In the top of the seventh, Farnsy allowed a hit to Cabrera on a pitch in the dirt, because Miguel Cabrera. Cesar Ramos was then called on, and after two strikes to Prince Fielder, spiked the ball at the plate, ricocheting off his left forearm. Cabrera took off running and reached third base from first after Molina had trouble getting the throw off. Maddon came out to check on Molina, but after a conversation went back to the dugout.
Fielder hit a sac fly, 8-1 Detroit.
Jamey Wright would can the eighth, allowing five base runners and two more runs; oh, and the Rays offense never showed up. Detroit wins 10-1.
The time has come for a compelling argument for Torres. Is he a reliever or a starter? If he's here to stay in the 'pen, why not let him pitch longer? Perhaps Maddon saw Angel Sanchez dealing and chose to call it a game in the fourth, but I was disappointed to say the least about Torres's early hook.