Mixing his pitches and hitting 96 on the gun in the 7th inning, Matt Moore shut down an explosive Texas Rangers lineup in his postseason debut in Game One of the American League Division Series. Moore went seven innings, giving up only two hits while striking out six and walking three. It was a tidy 98 pitch performance, all the more impressive given the stage, opponent’s offense, and hitter-friendly ballpark.
Moore was the story of the game. It was hard to imagine the Rays even being in the playoffs three weeks ago, so can you really be surprised at this point that they were powered by Kelly Shoppach and a pitcher who made his first major league start a week ago?
Moore said after the game that there were a little bit of nerves in the first inning, but that he was able to settle in nicely when his offense put 3 runs on the board early in the second inning. Both Joe Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey said Moore cooly and calmly accepted the call to start game one, but even Moore said there was no way he saw this coming:
Three weeks ago I was in the minor leagues and to be a part of this now and this postseason push, it’s something I never dreamed was going to happen this year.
After a comfortable win in which the Rangers never threatened, the Rays will now turn to James Shields in game two tomorrow night, looking to build on the Matt Moore magic from this afternoon.