Matt Moore to make first MLB start Thursday vs. Yankees

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The Rays suffered 4-2 defeats in both halves of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Yankees, dropping a half-game in the AL Wild Card standings despite the Red Sox’ 6-4 loss to the Orioles.

Well aware that another loss could sink the Rays’ chances of overtaking Boston by the end of the regular season, Rays manager Joe Maddon has made an aggressive but warranted move.

According to beat writer Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, rookie Matt Moore will take the mound in Thursday evening’s series finale against New York. It will be the first major league start of the 22-year-old left-hander’s career.

Jeff Niemann, who was originally scheduled to make the start, has been bumped to Saturday.

Widely regarded as baseball’s best pitching prospect, Moore posted a 1.92 ERA and 210/46 K/BB ratio in 155 innings this season between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham before earning a mid-September promotion to the majors. He’ll be taking on a Yankees squad fresh off an AL East title celebration.

Tampa Bay faces a 2.5-game Wild Card deficit with only seven games left to play.

Dodgers add Scott Alexander to World Series roster, drop Caleb Ferguson

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Just as the Red Sox did, the Dodgers swapped out a pitcher for the World Series, replacing lefty Caleb Ferguson with lefty Scott Alexander.

Ferguson, a rookie, had made six appearances in the postseason, facing only one batter on three occasions and no more than three batters in any outing. He hasn’t allowed any hits or runs in three aggregate innings of work and has walked only one. The Dodgers might be concerned about his workload, however, as his velocity dipped as the NLCS wore on.

In Alexander, the Dodgers get a lefty with a bit more durability. Alexander pitched in 73 games in 2018. He made the NLDS roster, appearing in one game against the Braves, pitching a perfect inning in Game 3.

Here’s the entire World Series roster for Los Angeles: