I know this is just the second series of the season, but if you are looking to be entertained during the afternoon the next three days, the friendly confines of Comerica Park should provide just that when the Tampa Bay Rays come to town and square off against the Tigers in a 3 game set. While a lot of people will be quick to dismiss both teams successes this weekend because it is so early in the season, both Tampa and Detroit were impressive in sweeping two quality opponents, and should be strong contenders for playoff spots as the season goes on.
I don’t care that it is only three games into the season. Today should be fun, and the biggest reason isn’t even getting to watch the Tigers, it’s getting to watch the Tigers face rookie Matt Moore.
Moore, depending on which prospect ranking outlet you use, is widely considered a top 5 prospect in all of baseball. Most sane ranking “experts” have him in the top three. He impressed so much down the stretch and in the playoffs for the Rays, the organization all but penned him into a rotation for 2012 that was already stuffed with talent. He is the type of guy that you find a spot for. Lefties that can sit mid 90’s with their fastball, a plus curve, and a good change up don’t grow on trees. They just seem to grow in Tampa’s farm system.
The truth of the matter is that Moore only has 9.1 major league innings under his belt, 19.1 if you include the playoffs, which I do. In those 19.1 innings, the talented Moore has struck out 23 batters, and only allowed 12 hits and 4 runs, continuing the dominance that he has shown throughout his minor league career. He averaged 12.7K/9 in his minor league career, and sported a 2.64 career ERA. But this isn’t the minors anymore, and he is going to be facing a potent lineup.
The Tigers have gotten off to a tremendous offensive start, though admittedly the pitching they were facing wasn’t the toughest with the exception of Jon Lester. Josh Beckett looked like a former shell of himself, and that Boston bullpen was terrible. The Rays and Matt Moore will present a new challenge, a talented lefty that the Tigers are getting their first look at.
Moore seems to be able to handle the pressure so far, and there are some lofty expectations for the youngster. So much so, I haven’t even mentioned his counterpart that the Tigers are trotting out to the mound today, Rick Porcello. Porcello, like Moore, knows a thing or two about expectations. Thus far, we as Tigers fans can’t be too disappointed with the results, at least in terms of wins, but it’s getting to be a make or break scenario for Porcello to see if he ever will reach the expectations people had for him when he was drafted in the first round.
Moore will have a chance to make a statement against a very good Detroit lineup today, and as a baseball fan I am looking forward to the match up.
I would like to see the statement come from Rick Porcello today, however, one that lets everybody know that he himself is a good young pitcher, and he is ready to take a step forward in becoming the pitcher we all had hoped 5 years ago.