Tampa Bay Rays southpaw Matt Moore has been one of the major’s most dominant pitchers so far along with Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz and Mets right-hander Matt Harvey.
The 23-year-old entered yesterday having won each of his first four starts and recording an impressive 1.04 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 29 strikeouts over 26.0 innings.
After having a tough first half (4.42 ERA) in 2012, he found his groove after the All-Star Break, recording a 3.01 ERA during his final 14 starts.
He broke onto the scene late in 2011, and made two appearances, one start, in the ALDS against Texas, surrendering just one run and three in 10.0 innings.
He entered the 2012 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball behind only Bryce Harper. Baseball America also ranked his fastball, curveball and control the best of any pitcher in the Rays organization.
Moore recently went one-on-one with Eagle-Tribune baseball writer Christopher Smith, who writes the Smitty on Baseball blog that can be found on the paper’s website.
Smitty: How would you describe yourself as a pitcher?
Moore: This year, my velocity on the radar guns is not maybe quite where it has been in the past. I pitch with my four-seam fastball a lot. And I throw basically a 12-to-6 curveball and change-up. So very simple pitches. My two-seamer is the newest pitch for me right now. I’m sure there’s another pitch to come.
Smitty: When did you start throwing the two-seamer?
Moore: It’s just something that (Tampa pitching coach Jim) Hickey and I just kind of monkeyed with last year, something for me to throw down the middle of the plate basically 0-0. With 92, 94 (mph), if I can get that thing just to bite a little bit, that’s going to be enough to keep them out of the barrel. That’s a good pitch for me to start out an at-bat.