Well, that series didn't go quite as planned for the Rays. After coming off a sweep of the Boston Red Sox last weekend that moved them as close as 3 games back in the Wild Card, the Rays (82-66) faltered against the Orioles (60-88), dropping the final two games of the series.
Last night's loss was particularly disappointing, as the Rays simply couldn't hit Jeremy Guthrie. After taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the third off a Matt Joyce double, the Rays handed the lead right back to the Orioles in the bottom of the inning. Wade Davis wasn't his sharpest, and in the third, he allowed a three-run home run to first baseman Chris Davis. The Rays wouldn't score again for the rest of the night.
But in the disappointing mess that was last night's game, there was a glimmer of something special: pitching prospect Matt Moore made his major league debut. His final line may not look pretty -- 1.1 innings pitched, three hits, two runs, one homer -- but watching him throw was a treat. Moore is the best pitching prospect in baseball right now -- #3 prospect overall -- and he was hitting 96-98 MPH last night with a windup that looked like he was playing catch. His changeup was nasty and he spotted his fastball well for the most part, but his mistake came on leaving a fastball over the plate to hotter-than-hot, "I eat lefties for lunch" Matt Wieters.
Here's a postgame interview with Moore, courtesy of Marc Topkin from the St. Petersburg Times:
And here's a video of his debut:
The Rays now face an uphill battle, as they must at least take 3 of 4 from the Red Sox this weekend in order to stay somewhat alive in the Wild Card race. Although the Red Sox do have to face the Orioles seven more times this season, and if they're as tough on them as they were on the Rays, it may give the Rays a fighting chance.