Rays pitching prospect Matt Moore made his major-league debut in last night’s 6-2 loss to the O’s. It wasn’t fantastic: he allowed two runs on three hits in one and a third in relief.
It was a weird first appearance too. He and the bullpen coaches thought he was supposed to start the seventh inning, and had even started his way out to the field, but Joe Maddon kept Wade Davis on the hill to face two batters before actually calling for him. Did it rattle him? I dunno. Figure he had to be rattled anyway making his debut. He came in with the Rays down 4-2.
All that said, he looked good until Matt Wieters took him deep for a two-run homer in the eighth. He retired his first four batters, including strikeouts of J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis to start the eighth, flashing a 96-97 m.p.h. heater. But then a single to Vlad Guerrero and that bomb to Wieters happened. Maddon left him in for one more batter to see how he’d react, and he gave up a double to Chris Davis. Then came the hook.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Moore was so insanely dominant in the minors that last night’s rocky outing should be indicative. But no, probably not how he visualized it going down.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.