Moore tabbed for rotation after dazzling in relief

Moore tabbed for rotation after dazzling in relief

ARLINGTON -- Even with Felix Hernandez and James Paxton set to return later this week, Andrew Moore appears to have earned a spot in the Mariners' rotation after throwing six innings of one-hit ball in relief of struggling starter Ariel Miranda in Monday's 5-3 loss to the Rangers.

"Certainly we'll look at him possibly sliding into the rotation for us in that spot moving forward," manager Scott Servais said. "He was awesome. I can't say enough about the job he did. He's got plenty left in his tank, which is great to see from a young guy at this time of the year."

Miranda, on the flip side, is clearly wearing down as the only starter to not miss a turn this season. On Monday, the lefty lasted just 1 2/3 innings while giving up six hits and four runs. After starting the year 7-4 with a 3.82 ERA in his first 17 starts, Miranda is 1-3 with a 6.71 ERA in his last 12.

Miranda threw six innings of no-hit ball his last start against the Astros, but did walk six in that game and threw a season-high 112 pitches. And he didn't bounce back well against the Rangers, giving up two-run doubles to Nomar Mazara and Shin-Soo Choo in the first two frames before getting the quick hook.

"He's running on fumes right now," Servais said. "I think that's what we're seeing. I appreciate how he competes and goes out there. There are certain nights he doesn't have it and he didn't have it at all tonight. We'll take a look where he's at in a couple days from now.

"But certainly Andrew Moore was the story of the night tonight on the pitching side. I can't say enough about how he did. He used all his pitches, pitched up in the zone. Used the changeup, mixed in the breaking ball against a pretty good ballclub. Definite positive sign there."

Servais on 5-3 loss to Rangers

And that's a welcome relief, or a fresh start, for the Mariners' No. 4 prospect, per The 23-year-old struggled in his midseason opportunity with Seattle, going 1-3 with a 6.34 ERA in his first seven games (six starts).

But since being called back up in September, Moore threw six innings of two-run ball on just three hits against the Astros last Wednesday and followed that up with six outstanding innings against the Rangers, allowing just a solo homer to Delino DeShields while walking one and striking out seven.

"I was definitely pitching with a lot of confidence and just trying to help the team out, whether starting or relieving, however I can," Moore said.

He's just the second pitcher in Mariners history to throw at least six innings in relief while allowing one or less runs and one or less hits while striking out seven or more. The other was Roy Thomas in 1985 in Boston. According to Baseball-Reference, he's just the 11th pitcher in the Majors to achieve that combination in relief since 1971 and first since the D-backs' Josh Collmenter in 2013.

"It felt really good," Moore said. "I made a few minor tweaks to the delivery. That was something we just did a few days ago, so it was good to roll that out and see benefits from it. It's just like the last time. I got in good counts and the off-speed was there."

Moore used his fastball effectively up in the zone, which is a strength of his that he got away from in his previous time up. And he had the effective change, curve and slider to make that work.

"He's getting in a rhythm now," Servais said. "I think that's the Andrew Moore that we've heard about at the Minor League level."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.