As they try to go two games over the .500 mark tonight and improve to 4-1 this season against Tampa Bay, the Orioles face tough lefty Matt Moore tonight. He is 2-0 this year and has not allowed a run in 11 1/3 innings.
Moore went 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA over four starts against the Orioles last year, when he was 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA over 31 starts for the Rays.
Tonight, Moore is attempting to become the seventh major leaguer since 1916 to win his first three games of a season, all starts, without allowing a run.
Moore made his big league debut here at Camden Yards on Sept. 14, 2011 giving up two runs over 1 1/3 innings.
If you want to stack the lineup with right-handed hitters against him, that might not work. He gave up a .237 average against right-handed batters last year and this season they are 1-for-24 with nine strikeouts against him.
So what is the O’s strategy tonight?
Maybe patience is called for. While Moore has allowed just three hits this year in two starts, he has walked eight. In his career he has walked 92 over 198 innings.
Manager Buck Showalter does not necessarily want his his team to go up there tonight looking for a walk against the 23-year-old Moore.
“It’s tough,” Showalter said. “There is a split-second to recognize a ball or strike. Yeah, you can up your walk totals, but you are not going to hit much. It’s the chicken and the egg. With Moore, we know that he’s had a little more trouble with command to left-handed hitters. He may not walk a guy tonight.
“He’s filthy. He’s got great stuff. He’s got late life and a real lively arm and the ball finishes real good in the zone. He can miss the sweet part of the bat with a fastball behind in the count.
“Last night, one of the keys was us spitting on a lot of pitches (laying off them) that were moving off the plate. And, also the umpire calling them balls. Lot of times those pitches slightly off the plate are called strikes.”
Moore has averaged 18.2 pitches per inning this season, most on the Rays staff. In 2012, he averaged 17.0 pitches per inning, the third most in the AL.
Can the O’s afford to show patience tonight against a pitcher that hasn’t allowed a run yet?