Matt Moore

Matt Moore made his return to the mound on Thursday, his first start in 15 months following Tommy John surgery, giving up 4 runs in 4.2 innings and throwing 81 pitches.

As we discussed yesterday, we have to temper our expectations from Moore as it will be a while before he is really all the way back even if he is already 100% healthy. So instead of focusing on the results, let take a look at what Moore did and how he did it and there is one change to his approach that really stands out.

The first thing we should look at is the pitches he threw. Let’s compare his 81 pitches on Thursday to his last full season in the big leagues, 2013, while keeping in mind that the opponent could have an influence on the game plan.

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Of course, the big thing that stands out is the addition of a cutter, thrown mostly at the expense of the fastball.

What is curious about this is that a cutter is basically a tamed-down slider and Moore pretty much already had a slider in his arsenal. Officially, Moore has always thrown a curveball. But his curve has always looked more like a slider to the point that some databases recognized it as a slider. Some would call it a slurve. I liked to call it a 2 that is 3-curious.

But let’s take a closer look at that curveball. Here is the break it had in 2013 compared to the break it had on Thursday.

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The slider-like horizontal break is still there. But there was also a lot more vertical break, much more like a real curveball.

It is just one start, but at this point it looks like Moore has changed his curveball to be more like a real curveball and has added a cutter to replace that slider-like pitch he used to have.

Way back in late-2013, we started to see some red flags with Moore’s curveball. The velocity had suddenly dipped and the break was suddenly way down. It was probably the first sign that something was wrong with his elbow that ultimately led to the tear in his second start of 2014. The change to the curveball suggests that somebody thinks that the unorthodox pitch had something to do with the injury.

So, Matt Moore is back. But the Matt Moore we used to know is no more and now we have a brand new pitcher that may be better than ever once he gets his arm back in true pitching shape.

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2 Comments

  1. Steve says:

    His velocity was down quite a bit on the 4-seam, which is somewhat alarming. Definitely something to monitor going forward.

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  2. Gus says:

    He had a spike curve with lots of vertical movement when he came up (taught to him by Jordan Pacheco in New Mexico). That is what we saw last week, many of them out of the zone in the dirt. He's a work in progress I'd think. The "easy 96" isn't there for now at least.

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