Tampa Bay Rays
Rays notes: Moore looking to stay perfect
ST. PETERSBURG - LHP
Matt Moore puts his winning streak on the line tonight against the Red Sox in the opener of the three-game series.
Moore, 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA in seven starts, can become the first starter in franchise history to begin a season 7-0. A win and Moore will tie LHP David Price for consecutive wins with eight, a streak that dates to Moore’s final start of the 2012 season.
As good as he has been, Moore said there is still room for improvement.
“Oh yeah, absolutely,” he said. “If I was going nine innings and throwing up all zeroes, there wouldn’t be much room to improve. But there’s always something we’re focused on working toward, getting to a place where we can work deep into games.”
Moore said he’s still trying to get hitters out in as few pitches as possible, which means throwing first-pitch strikes and throwing strikes when in a 1-1 count. “You try to think of three pitches or less to hitters, so filling the zone up in those first few pitches is helping me get some balls put in play,” he said. “If it’s a base hit, at least it only took two pitches. It didn’t take six. If it’s a ground ball, we’re out of there in two pitches.” Turning the corner? The Rays blew leads in the first two games of this 10-game homestand then rolled off a season-high five straight wins to climb above .500 for only the second time this year. “It speaks to quality of guys in the clubhouse,” manager Joe Maddon said. “To lose games like that and not really have it impact you on any kind of permanent basis, to come back and win some really difficult games against Toronto and against San Diego over the next five days, that really speaks to the group, itself, the hitting has been consistent, the defense has been there, but now the pitching is going to start coming back to us, and then, heads up.”
The homestand continues against one of the teams they are chasing in the AL East.
The third-place Red Sox are 21/2 games ahead of the fourth-place Rays.
“It’s always good to start turning things around in the middle of the homestand because you start rolling into the road trip and that’s what you want, to roll into the road trip,” 1B/OF Sean Rodriguez said.
The Rays open a six-game, two-city trip Friday that goes through Baltimore and Toronto.
Longo named AL POW 3B Evan Longoria was named the American League Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday.
He batted .464 (13-for-28) with five doubles, three home runs, 11 RBIs, eight runs scored and four walks to help the Rays to a 5-2 record. This is his sixth career weekly honor. He last received the award for the week ending Aug.?22, 2010.
Noteworthy The Rays signed RHP Cory Wade to a minor-league contract Monday and assigned him to Triple-A Durham. To make room on the Bulls roster, LHP Mike Montgomery, who was on the DL with a sore arm, was activated and assigned to Class-A Charlotte. That’s the first stop in his rehab assignment. … Longoria’s game-winning home run Saturday was measured off the bat at 112.8 mph. That was the fastest home run by a Ray since Hideki Matsui’s homer on June 1, 2012, vs. Baltimore was measured at 114 mph. … OF Sam Fuld is hitting .281 with a .395 on-base percentage in his last 14 games.