MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

Happy Matt Moore Day!

It has been 15 months since Matt Moore has taken the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays but the end is near as he will make his first start since Tommy John surgery when he takes the mound on Thursday.

It is easy to get overly-excited about the return of one of the best pitchers in baseball. But at the same time, it is probably best to temper the expectations a bit. While it takes a little more than a year to be healthy enough to pitch again, most feel it takes another year to really get back to where a pitcher was before the surgery in terms of stuff, control, and command.

We have seen this with Matt Harvey of the New York Mets. He came back and looked as dominant as ever early in the year. But then he started to struggle a bit. The worry was that he still had post-surgery rust and had not built up the endurance to go late into games even when he was pitching well. So in recent starts he has been limited to 6ish innings and is starting to pitch well again.

So while it is great to have Moore back and he may pitch well, don’t expect him to pitch much past the 5th inning and that could go on for the rest of the season.

Hickey addressed this in a recent interview on the MLB Network.

“Fortunately, for myself personally, I really haven’t had to deal with the Tommy John injury very much at all over the course of [my] career. We have the best training staff there is, in my opinion … They have a very specific plan, along with the other people who make these decisions as to how he will be used. He’ll certainly be limited. I don’t think we’ll see him throwing 115, 117 pitches probably anytime this year. Maybe, maybe much later if that’s the case. But you’ll probably see something more along the lines of a 90-pitch, you know, kind of a soft limit.”

By “soft limit” Hickey simply means that there will be some flexibility. If he hits 90 and there are 2 outs in the inning, maybe he will get one more batter if he is not struggling.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Moore has never been efficient with his pitches. He regularly hits 90-100 pitches in the 5th inning. So a pitch limit is really going to limit how deep he will be able to pitch in games this season and we may see some games where he only pitches 4 innings and we’ll rarely see him go 6 innings.

On a side note, we don’t hear Hickey speak to the media very often, but I don’t remember him sounding so much like Joe Maddon. Not necessarily the voice, but more the cadence and rhythm and tempo of the way he speaks and even the way he gesticulates. Very Maddon-like.

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1 Comment

  1. Gareth Miller says:

    19K's! Many of them "looking." Maybe Shelton isn't responsible, but how often do we have to watch first pitch center cut fastballs ignored, followed by expanded zones and behind in the count struggles. Yes, that means you Forsythe and DeJesus, as well as Longo,Sousa, Elmore (who had been more aggressive earlier), and everyone else, except maybe Sizemore now. BTW, I noticed that Indian hitters weren't waiting around and "working the count."

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