Moore feels starters can go deeper in games

Left-hander said he felt fine after 96 pitches in Rays' loss to Twins

Moore feels starters can go deeper in games

MINNEAPOLIS -- Normally a pitcher will head to the clubhouse following an outing. On Thursday night, Matt Moore lingered on the bench during the sixth, an inning after he'd completed a five-inning outing.

The Rays ended up dropping a 6-4 decision to the Twins, which translated to seven losses in their last eight games and 10 losses in their last 12. Naturally, frustration is everywhere, leaving players to look for answers to questions about how the team can get out of its funk.

Moore would like to see the Rays lean more on the starting rotation. The left-hander made it clear that he wasn't questioning decisions that have been made regarding how long the team's starters have been allowed to remain in the game, he just wants it out there that he's willing to give more and he thinks he's got more to give.

"I'm not questioning the moves they're making," Moore said. "I'm saying we [the starters] do have more in the tank. If [manager Kevin Cash] does allow us to go out there for the sixth or seventh, or whatever inning it is, that we are going to be OK and we're going to be able to compete in those moments.

"To our starters it doesn't matter how many times the lineups turn over. It doesn't matter who we're playing. The mentality in our group is we're going to go out there until he takes the ball from us."

Since returning from Tommy John surgery on July 2, 2015, Moore has pitched five innings or fewer 14 times in 23 starts. He threw 96 pitches on Thursday night, which he admitted to reporters surprised him.

"Absolutely, that's without question," he said. "If you just look at the average number of pitches that our starters are getting vs. the league average. I don't know what that is. I'm not a big numbers guy. I don't go on the Internet looking for stuff like that. But I know routinely, I'm watching guys pitch into the sixth inning with 100 pitches and seventh with 110.

"None of us are rookies or haven't been in that situation. We can handle that. We train for those moments. But then again, there is that part where I gave up four runs. No matter how you look at it, it's just the style of baseball we play."

Moore said the short pitch counts are something he doesn't want to be thinking about when he's on the mound, but he added, "You are a little more in touch with your pitch count than you want to be."

"It's baseball," Moore said. "This is not just Little League with pitch counts and high school where they're trying to keep you healthy and things like that. It's the Major Leagues and it's time to go.

"... It's something we prepare for. I'm not going to sit here and question his move to take me out. It is the fact that I did feel like I had more to go. If he thought I wasn't the best guy to go out there for the sixth inning, that's another story. But, I had [96] pitches. I felt like I still had stuff in the tank."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.