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Sunday, Nov 19, 2017
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Rays notes: Moore eager to reverse trend

ST. PETERSBURG - LHP Matt Moore has not been the dominant pitcher he was last fall when he helped the Tampa Bay Rays to the American League wild card and earned their only postseason win. That is somewhat expected since he is only 22, has five major league starts on his résumé and is no longer the mystery he was when he first arrived on the scene. But what about this: 32 base runners in 19 1/3 innings, including 12 walks? Moore was a slow-starter during his minor league career, and manager Joe Maddon said this might be a continuation of that trend. "We got him at the end of last season when everything was going really, really well for him, so there were probably times in the minor leagues last season when things weren't exactly perfect," Maddon said. "Historically he's not been a huge strike thrower early in the season, so maybe we're seeing a little bit of that right now, too."
Moore said a couple of things weren't right with his delivery this season, though he thinks he ironed some of it out while warming before the sixth inning of his last start. "A bunch of little things," he said. "I'm kind of getting that feeling back where everything is coming out nice and easy from the similar arm slot, where sometimes I felt like I was fighting a little bit through my delivery. My last three or four days have been good." Moore, who is 0-1 with a 5.12 ERA (left-handers are hitting .500 off him while righties are batting only .189), thinks he's turned a corner. "It's all about tempo and rhythm. If he finds that, heads up," Maddon said. "He'll pitch a lot like what you saw David (Price) do (Tuesday). They're very similar." Mr. 1,000 1B Carlos Peña got the 1,000th hit of his career Tuesday night, a towering home run into the right-center field seats. "I'm grateful that I was able to get the opportunity to get one hit," Peña said. "I dreamt about getting one hit in the big leagues, so for me to be able to get 1,000, I can't put it into words how special it is for me." It was the 479th hit for Peña as a Ray and his 262{+n}{+d} career home run, 148 of which came as a Ray. As he rounded first base, Peña passed by Albert Pujols, who has 2,089 career hits. "And all I thought of was, 'Wow, this guy's got 2,000 of these things,' " Peña said. "I'm like, 'Man, I have to do this double to reach where he's at.' So it kind of puts things into perspective, but that doesn't take away from how grateful I am and how cool it is just to be able to say I got 1,000 hits in the major leagues. That's awesome." Road trip theme No. 1: Minimalism The Rays embark on a short three-day trip to Arlington, Texas, after today's game, and Maddon deemed the trip the first one this season with a dress theme. And that theme is … minimalist. "It's just a three-day trip and it's a great opportunity for us to practice our minimalist tendencies," Maddon said. "I'm hoping that everybody just brings their little carry-on luggage. One pair of jeans, three shirts, some socks — those who wear underwear bring underwear — and toiletries." Maddon said he got the idea this week while talking with equipment manager Chris Westmoreland and decided the theme would make things easier on those who have to load and unload the team bus. "As we move forward into this century I think minimalism is going to become a more popular concept, so we're just doing our best right now to promote that particular concept," Maddon said. Price was right According to ESPN Stats & Info, Price held hitters to 0 for 13 with two strikes during his complete-game shutout Tuesday. Opponents had been 9 for 36 with two strikes during Price's first three starts. Price threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 32 batters. He threw 29 change-ups and got a career-high 10 outs off change-ups. He also held hitters to 1 for 15 on at-bats ending in fastballs. Noteworthy The Rays began play Wednesday tied for first place with the Yankees, Blue Jays and Orioles. According to Elias, it was the first time since divisional play began in 1969 that four AL teams in the same division had identical records after 17 games. … Maddon said 1B/DH Brandon Allen has looked better than the Rays thought as an outfielder while taking fly balls in batting practice. … Neil Solondz, the Rays' pregame and postgame radio host, called his first big league game Wednesday when he filled in for Andy Freed, who was ill.
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