Sunday was another rough outing for Matt Moore. Making his fifth start since coming back from Tommy John surgery, Moore allowed five runs in five innings. He's allowed at least four runs in four of those five starts and just barely has more strikeouts than walks. When the pitches work you get glimpses of the old Moore. When they don't, like today when several curveballs dive bombed into the dirt in front of the plate, you can see how much more work he needs. Command is usually the last thing to come back to a pitcher after Tommy John surgery and it's clear Moore is still missing that part of his game. The team is out of contention so it's not going to hurt them to keep Moore in the rotation and let him work out his issues, but a trip to Durham wouldn't be out of the question either.
As far as today's game goes, it was lost in the first inning. With one on and two outs, Adam Jones reached base on an infield single between first and second off a check swing. The Rays had shifted second baseman Logan Forsythe to the left side of the bag due to Jones' tendency to pull the ball. J.J. Hardy added a run scoring single on a groundball to left field. Nolan Reimold then lofted a fly ball to right-center field which Brandon Guyer dove after, missed, and ended up pushing the ball into left field after it bounced off his glove. That bounce allowed Jones to score all the way from first. Guyer's effort is admirable but he came up a foot or so short of making the catch. Had he backed off and picked up the ball after the bounce only one run would have scored.
Baltimore added two more runs in the fourth inning. Jonathon Schoop singled in virtually the exact same way Jones did, getting jammed on a fastball inside but pushing it to the hole between first and second with the heavy shift on. Caleb Joseph followed by taking a low-inside fastball and crushing it to left field for a two run homer. It certainly wasn't a poorly located pitch by Moore. Look where this ball ended up.
That's a play where you have to give credit to Joseph and move on.
Scoring six total runs in a three game series isn't going to net you many wins. The offense didn't have a baserunner until Evan Longoria's two-out homer in the fourth inning. He was followed by a first pitch homer from Logan Forsythe. Unfortunately those would be the only two runs the offense could muster, though they had more opportunities.
Tim Beckham lead off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double to right field and advanced to third on a Jake Elmore single. Curt Casali then flew out to right field but not deep enough to allow Beckham to score. After a Brandon Guyer hit-by-pitch loaded the bases, Steven Souza was called out on strikes and Longoria grounded out to third.
Another opportunity presented itself in the sixth inning with Joey Butler on second and James Loney on first with one out. A wild pitch allowed Butler to advanced to third easily but Loney was gunned down trying to make it to second. The play wasn't particularly close either. Tim Beckham walked to bring the tying run to the plate once again, but, sadly, that tying run took the form of Jake Elmore. The right-handed Tommy Hunter easily got the right-handed Elmore to ground out to end the inning. Having Elmore play third base today put the Rays in an unfortunate situation in that at bat. Three left handed batters -- Kevin Kiermaier, David DeJesus, John Jaso -- were on the bench but were unable to pinch hit. The bench lacked another player who could fill in somewhere in the infield. They could have pinch hit for Elmore and moved Longoria to third base but would have given up the DH in the process.
The loss drops the Rays to two games below .500 and hopefully increases the likelihood they will trade some players before Friday's deadline.
Virtually the only bright spot on the offense all season has been Logan Forsythe. He reached base three times today, moving his slash line to .283/.369/.443. He's legitimately one of the best second basemen in baseball and that's not something you'd ever have pictured yourself saying before the season.
Alex Colome was great in his three innings of relief. He allowed only two hits and struckout four while walking none. He hasn't allowed an earned run in his last seven innings which have all come in relief.