Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Moore winning differently than he did
By ESPN Stats & Information
The Tampa Bay Rays just keep on winning. And so does Matt Moore.
Moore turned in his best gem in a strong stretch of starts as the Rays won their sixth straight and earned their 14th win in their past 15 games, 3-0 over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.
The Rays are now within a half-game of the AL East lead, which the Red Sox have had since May 25.
Let's take a look at a statistical summary of his performance.
Rare gem from a lefty in Boston
Visting lefty starters don’t often throw a shutout in which they allow two hits or fewer and one walk or fewer at Fenway Park.
Moore’s was the first such shutout by a visiting lefty in 25 years. The last was by Jimmy Key for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1988.
In fact, there have been two shutouts this season at Fenway Park in which a pitcher allowed two hits or fewer and no more than one walk. Jon Lester had the other against the Blue Jays on May 10.
There were no other southpaw shutouts of this nature either for or against the Red Sox in their home ballpark in between Key’s and Lester's.
How Moore won
Moore is a pitcher who usually gets a lot of swings-and-misses when he is successful. But that wasn’t necessary on Monday night.
Moore threw 74 of 109 pitches for strikes, a 68 percent strike rate that was his second highest this season.
But Moore got those strikes in a different manner than usual. He got 27 called strikes on the 62 pitches the Red Sox took, a 44 percent success rate. Moore’s typical success rate is 30 percent, which would have netted him eight fewer strikes than he got.
Moore dominated off his fastball, which he threw for a strike nearly three quarters of the time. He only got two swings-and-misses with it, but the pitch netted him 17 outs -- seven groundouts (including a double play), eight fly ball outs, and a line drive out.
Moore threw 21 changeups, with 16 dropping to the lower-third of the strike zone or below the knees, and that pitch netted him seven outs, including three of his four strikeouts, without yielding a baserunner.
What’s made Moore so good?
The Moore who has won his past six starts, with an ERA of 1.50 in that span, is a different pitcher from the Moore who started the season 8-0, then ran into some struggles.
That version of Moore was outpitching his peripheral stats -- a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2-to-1 and a rate of one homer allowed every eight innings.
Moore has basically eliminated the home run, allowing one in 68 1/3 innings in his past 12 starts.
His past four starts have been gems. In them, he’s pitched to an 0.91 ERA, with 29 strikeouts and eight walks in 29 1/3 innings.
Moore has limited not just the home run, but solid contact. His line-drive rate in those four starts is a mere 13 percent, down five percentage points from what it was the rest of this season.