Matt Moore’s splits this season have been and remain a puzzler. The lefty allowed fellow lefties to slash .386/.448/.641, all while holding righties at a relatively stifling .265/.318/.455 heading into Friday’s game. That wasn’t supposed to happen.
But it begs an odd question: would teams reverse tailor their lineups to be lefty-heavy against Moore? The Phillies have five switch hitters and three lefties, including the injured Odubel Herrera with Nick Williams representing the lone one in the lineup. All five switch hitters, understandably, haven’t faced a lefty as a lefty this year. Freddy Galvis has one career at bat in that situation, and it did not go well.
Long story short: the Phillies had no reason to dump their switch-hitting bench into the lineup and force them to hit from the right side in the off chance it could produce more effectively against Moore. But the prospect didn’t seem as far fetched when Moore left the mound after 7-1/3 dominant innings.
For the first time at home since May 13, Moore could talk about a win. He could discuss his improved changeup, his easy curveball and didn’t have to justify a shift in pitch usage. He even dared himself to think shutout—an accomplishment the Giants have yet to check off at home this year, an accomplishment that sputtered when Fredy Galvis’ RBI bloop fell inches away from Jarrett Parker‘s outstretched glove in the eighth inning.
Two of just six baserunners Moore allowed forced him out of the game one out into the eighth and scored when Cory Gearrin just couldn’t hold the shutout at its seems. But Moore thought, rough patch aside, he had a two outs and a ninth in him:
“One of those nights where I knew I was on track to finish the game for myself…You look at the ball Cory got and it was almost really close to a play.”
The damage totaled to two hits, four walks, two runs and one of Moore’s best starts this season. He preserved blowout status in the Giants’ 10-2 win over the Phillies.
Moore’s come a long way after giving up five runs and six hits to left-handed Cubs in his 12th loss not two weeks ago when he found himself fighting for his next start. He’d pitch through it, he promised Bruce Bochy. That was the only way to really feel out his problems, maybe climb out of the rut.
Over his next two starts, against the Nationals in Washington and against the Phillies, Moore allowed four runs in 14 innings. This is what the skipper wanted to see:
“He’s gotten a rhythm going…He’s not out overthrowing at all. It looks like he’s playing catch with Buster.”
The offense did their part, too. Parker, Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval combined to give Moore a whopping six-run lead by the third inning. Parker hit another two-run RBI double, his second of the series, and Hunter Pence hit his 11th home run. Crawford added on with an opposite-field, two-run shot.
Moore had room for error, and for once he didn’t really need it. He gets win No. 4 and the Giants now have 10 wins in August, one more than they managed to tally in April, June and July.
Ty Blach will face Jerad Eikhoff in Game 3 of this four-game spectacular.