Thursday, July 28, 2011

Matt Moore Is the Real Deal

Photo Kailey Farmer,
Game 103, July 25, DBAP
Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta) 9, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) 3
Wrap, Box, Examiner, Indy Week

Game 104, July 26, DBAP
Durham Bulls 4, Gwinnett Braves 0
Season: 59-45; Home Stand: 4-2
Wrap, Box, Examiner

Tuesday’s game wasn’t very interesting and besides the Bulls lost, so let’s just jump to Wednesday’s game.

Matt Moore is the best young pitcher I’ve seen at the DBAP. I am not famous for the accuracy of my judgements regarding ballplayers; however, I watched every current member of the Rays starting rotation as they came through Durham (Price, Shields, Niemann, Davis, Cobb, and Hellickson) and I think at comparable points in their careers he’s better than any of them. If you live nearby you want to make an effort to see him before he goes on up to the Rays.

Fortunately, the Rays are famously cautious with the development of their starting pitching, so you may have time this season and probably the first half of next season to see him work. I wish I could say the same about how the Rays handle their AAA relief pitching assets, but that’s for later.

The matchup was terrific. Matt Moore against the Braves’ Mike Minor, also a left-hander. Statistically, there really wasn’t that much separating the two pitchers in the game. The obvious difference was the home runs Minor gave up to John Matulia and Leslie Anderson. And the record-tying 13 K's of Moore. But as we watched the batters flail away at Moore’s stuff there wasn’t much doubt as to who was the better pitcher. Most impressive of all was the apparent effortlessness of his delivery. This is a fun guy to watch. Both pitchers worked quickly. Possibly the shortest 9-inning game this year at 1:55.

John Matulia’s home run was a thing of beauty, a line drive that just sailed over the center-right wall into the seats. Two home runs in two days.

Reid Brignac is back and playing just fine. He had three well-struck singles against a sharp left-handed pitcher (how many lefties was he allowed to bat against with the Rays?) and was in the middle of a 4-6-3 double play. Since he’s going to be getting a lot of at-bats with the Bulls, we can hope that he will continue to help the team.

Now, I’ve put it off long enough. Let’s talk about the pathological behavior of the Tampa Bay Rays. Alexander Torres gets called up, pitches one inning on July 18, gets sent back. Dane De La Rosa gets called up, pitches 1 inning on July 20, gets sent back. Jay Buente gets called up, pitches 2 innings on July 26, gets sent back. Rob Delaney gets called up and pitches 3 innings (!) on July 27. Not sent back ... yet ... but the day is young. [See update below]

This is nuts. Not helping the Rays and it has to be hurting the Bulls as a team, not to mention what it’s got to be doing to the pitchers. Take this story about Jay Buente’s day. Of course, Maddon, who hadn't even met Buente until after he'd pitched his first inning, sent him back to Durham after telling reporters he was going to keep him for a while.

By the way, right-handed reliever Adam Russell is reportedly ready to play. No word yet on left-handed reliever Cesar Ramos. Both were recently sent down from the Rays, along with Andy Sonnanstine. The difference, obviously, is that when a player goes from Durham to St. Pete he’s got maybe 30 minutes to get to the plane. When the reverse happens, the player gets 5-7 days to report.

Brandon Guyer has gone on the disabled list. We are going to miss his bat for what will be at least a week, probably more.

Temperature's going up. Let's take it easy out there tonight. Air.

Reports on Moore's game in Indy Week and Herald-Sun
Rob Delaney is coming back to the Bulls and how Buente was told he was coming back to Durham in Tampa Tribune and St. Pete Times.
Will Joe Bateman get his chance? Is there anyone left?
Rays Index kvetches about Indy Week kvetching about roster turmoil.]

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