Texas Rangers

Can the Rangers keep Matt Moore in the rotation?

Rangers pitcher Matt Moore struggled again in his start Friday night against the Chicago White Sox. His ineffectiveness could force the Rangers to make a decision about his future.
Rangers pitcher Matt Moore struggled again in his start Friday night against the Chicago White Sox. His ineffectiveness could force the Rangers to make a decision about his future. AP

For the Texas Rangers, there doesn’t appear to be much more to evaluate about Matt Moore’s rotation spot.

Moore simply hasn’t shown signs of regaining the form that made him an All-Star and Cy Young candidate five years ago.

Maybe he’ll never be the same pitcher since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in 2014. Maybe it’s something else.

Whatever the reason, Moore continues to struggle anytime he takes the mound. Even facing the worst team in the majors didn’t help.

Sure, the Rangers held on for a 12-5 victory over the White Sox, but Moore had a less-than-inspiring night. He couldn't make it through four innings despite the Rangers holding a 9-3 lead when he was pulled.

But manager Jeff Banister didn't appear interested in announcing any potential decisions regarding Moore's role.

"Well, we just finished tonight’s game," Banister said. "We'll continue to evaluate that situation. At this point, Matt Moore is still in our rotation."

Banister had a similar response after Moore's previous outing, a forgettable three-inning performance in Houston last Sunday.

Asked about it again before Friday's game, Banister said: "He's got to build on each inning. He's got to continue to build innings. He's shown us that for a couple innings he can go out and throw the ball well. He just has to continue to build and multiply those innings. Again, it comes down to attacking the strike zone and finishing hitters when he can."

Moore didn't accomplish any of those goals in his ninth start of the season.

After the Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Chicago’s erratic starter, Carson Fulmer, Moore surrendered two runs in the bottom half.

The Rangers pulled ahead 4-2 in the second, but Moore gave up another run that inning.

Shin-Soo Choo's grand slam made it 9-3 in the third and Moore finally showed a little bit of life with a 1-2-3 inning.

But he issued a one-out walk and a two-out walk in the fourth and, despite the Rangers leading 9-3 at the time, Banister pulled him for Jesse Chavez.

"A situation where the pitch count just got to the point there in the fourth that we had to make a change," Banister said.

Chavez let both inherited runners score to make Moore's pitching line look even worse.

Moore was charged with five runs (four earned) over 3 2/3 innings with three walks, five strikeouts and one hit batter. He needed 92 pitches to get those 11 outs, and has pitched fewer than five innings in five of his nine starts. He has pitched more than four innings just once in four starts this month.

In other words, the Rangers have to decide how to proceed going forward.

For his part, Moore didn't seem overly concerned about his status.

"I’m just here to do what I do, right?" Moore said. "I'm a starting pitcher right now and I’m going to keep taking the ball and I’m going to keep preparing each day."

The problem for the Rangers is that Moore is making $9 million this season with a $10 million team option or $750,000 buyout for 2019. Plus, the Rangers have no clear-cut answer to take Moore's spot in the rotation.

They’re bringing up Double A Frisco right-hander Ariel Jurado to pitch Saturday with Cole Hamels continuing to deal with neck stiffness.

Another rotation option is Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who is throwing OK at Triple A Round Rock but isn't on the 40-man roster.

Either way, it’s hard to see Moore being a logical candidate for his next scheduled start Wednesday against the New York Yankees.

After all, if Moore couldn’t contain a struggling White Sox team, how is he going to handle one of the top offenses in the game?

That’s a question Jon Daniels, Banister and the rest of the Rangers’ brass will answer in the coming days.

Rangers 12, White Sox 5

Texas

315

000

003

12

10

1

Chicago

210

200

000

5

9

1

Texas<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields cf

4

2

0

0

0

0

.243

Choo dh

3

2

2

4

2

0

.254

Kiner-Falefa 3b

3

1

0

1

0

0

.254

Mazara rf

4

2

2

0

1

1

.283

Profar ss

4

2

2

3

0

0

.232

Gallo lf

5

0

3

3

0

2

.207

Odor 2b

5

1

0

1

0

2

.172

Chirinos c

4

1

1

0

1

2

.200

Guzman 1b

3

1

0

0

1

1

.195



Chicago<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Anderson ss

4

2

2

0

1

2

.240

Delmonico lf

1

0

0

0

0

0

.224

Garcia pr-lf

3

0

0

0

0

1

.260

Abreu 1b

4

2

2

2

1

1

.293

Davidson 3b

3

0

1

2

2

1

.246

Castillo c

5

0

1

1

0

2

.248

Palka dh

5

0

2

0

0

1

.268

Moncada 2b

4

0

1

0

0

0

.269

Engel cf

4

0

0

0

0

0

.186

Thompson rf

4

1

0

0

0

1

.111



E—Profar (8), Engel (3). LOB—Texas 5, Chicago 10. 2B—Gallo (6), Abreu 2 (11), Davidson (6). HR—Choo (6), off Volstad. RBIs—Choo 4 (21), Kiner-Falefa (12), Profar 3 (18), Gallo 3 (30), Odor (6), Abreu 2 (23), Davidson 2 (27), Castillo (13). SB—DeShields (8). SF—Kiner-Falefa. S—Kiner-Falefa. Runners left in scoring position—Texas 4 (Mazara, Odor, Chirinos 2); Chicago 5 (Anderson, Castillo 3, Moncada). RISP—Texas 5 for 16; Chicago 3 for 10. Runners moved up—DeShields, Profar. GIDP—Guzman. DP—Chicago 1 (Anderson, Davidson, Abreu).

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Moore

3<AF>2/3

5

5

4

3

5

92

7.99

Chavez, W, 2-0

2<AF>2/3

3

0

0

0

1

43

4.33

Claudio

1<AF>2/3

1

0

0

0

0

22

5.06

Barnette

1

0

0

0

1

3

26

3.18

Chicago

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Fulmer, L, 2-4

2

3

8

8

5

2

75

8.07

Volstad

4

2

1

1

0

2

50

4.12

Bummer

2

1

0

0

0

2

25

3.68

Soria

1

4

3

2

0

2

33

5.65

Fulmer pitched to 4 batters in the 3rd. Inherited runners-scored—Chavez 2-2, Volstad 3-2. HBP—Fulmer 2 (DeShields,Profar), Moore (Delmonico). WP—Fulmer, Chavez. Umpires—Home, D.J. Reyburn; First, Scott Barry; Second, Angel Hernandez; Third, Paul Nauert. T—3:52. A—16,373 (40,615).

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments