matt moore getty

No. 1 pitching prospect Matt Moore joining Rays as reliever

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Matt Moore, the 23-year-old stud pitching prospect who last week finished runner-up to Mike Trout for Baseball America‘s minor league player of the year award, is on his way to Tampa Bay.

With their Wild Card deficit down to 3.5 games the Rays have decided the time is right for Moore to make his big-league debut and the left-hander’s agent told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that he’s expected to fill a bullpen role initially.

Moore projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter and threw 155 innings with a 1.92 ERA, .184 opponents’ batting average, and 210/46 K/BB ratio between Double-A and Triple-A, but the Rays envision him making an immediate impact as a reliever much like David Price did down the stretch (and into the playoffs) in 2008.

Price then, like Moore now, was called up in mid-September after dominating in the minors and made four relief appearances and one start for the Rays, throwing 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA and 12/4 K/BB ratio. And then he made five more appearances as a reliever in the playoffs, finishing all five games while allowing one earned run in 6.2 innings.

With closer Kyle Farnsworth sidelined by an elbow injury manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times: “We’ve got be very open-minded and flexible right now. We can’t have any kind of set parameters. We just can’t.”

Video: Aledmys Diaz hits a grand slam in remembrance of Jose Fernandez

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Aledmys Diaz #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against San Diego Padres in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.

In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.

Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”

Here’s the video.

AL East still mathematically undecided as Red Sox lose, Blue Jays win

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 27, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.

The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.

Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.