Matt Moore isn’t looking like Rookie of the Year material

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Matt Moore was expected to excel right away for the Rays. He would have been the overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year honors if not for Yu Darvish’s presence on the Rangers, and many thought he had a good shot at the award anyway. Some thought he might quickly overtake CC Sabathia, David Price and Jon Lester to become the AL’s top left-handed starter.

It’s not working out that way, though. Moore was lit up for eight runs in 4 2/3 innings by the A’s of all teams on Sunday. He fell to 1-2 and his ERA jumped to 5.74 for the season.

Moore has performed better than those numbers suggest. Today’s outing was just the second of his six starts in which he allowed more than three runs. Still, it’s not an encouraging sign that his outings keep getting shorter. From first to last, here’s how long he’s lasted in his six starts:

6 2/3 IP @Det
6 1/3 IP @Bos
6 1/3 IP vMin
5 2/3 IP vLAA
5 IP v Sea
4 2/3 IP vOak

As you can see, those longest starts actually came against his toughest opponents. The shortest have come versus the Mariners and now the A’s.

It’s likely only a matter of time until Moore busts out. Lefties with his stuff don’t come around often, and the Rays probably aren’t having any thoughts yet of demoting him. Anyone looking to speculate in a fantasy league could do a lot worse.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.