For the meat of his retched season, Moore has juggled the worst ERA in the National League and, at times, all of baseball. It got to a point where his spot as a rotation regular and, perhaps more abstractly, his place as a key cog in next year’s rotation looked to be in jeopardy.
After a particularly poor start against the Cubs, Moore convinced his manager he could pitch through the problem. Since then, he’s hasn’t suffered a loss.
Moore dealt 6-1/3 innings of one-run ball against the Milwaukee Brewers (66-62), propelling the Giants (52-77) to a series-clinching 4-2 win Wednesday afternoon. In three starts, Moore has tallied a 2.21 ERA — five earned runs over 20.1 innings — with 16 strikeouts. What’s been the difference? Simplicity, said Bruce Bochy:
“This is a case where less is more, not overthrowing and using all his pitches.”
“That’s the way I’m thinking about it too.”
The ease with which Moore pitches seems to have translated to his outlook on the rest of this season. He’s done being frustrated, thinking about what he’s doing wrong and over-thinking ways to manipulate his route back to success. Relaxed Matt Moore has replaced mea culpa Matt Moore.
Never mind the hypotheticals — what if Moore had pitched like this all year? — he, his skipper and the team are eyeing a strong finish at least as an indication that they can believe in that talent they have, said Bochy:
“We’ve got the talent to be where we’ve been the past six, seven years… These guys are good, our pitchers are good.
“I want Matty to go out there and keep throwing out good starts.”
The Brewers caught Moore before he hit his stride, knocking a pair of doubles in the first for their only run against him.
It took a check-swing double from Jarrett Parker to provide the Giants a deciding blow, handing them a 3-1 lead in the seventh. Parker said he was trying to be aggressive and did not care that his RBI double went off the bat at only 61 mph:
“Doesn’t matter. Scored two runs.”
“Good things happen when you put the ball in play.”
Bochy wants his players to show up until the end and Moore isn’t the only player that looks to be getting there.
Brandon Crawford went 2-for-4, extending his hitting streak to eight games — a season-best for a hitter in a season-long slump. Crawford was hitting .225 coming into the home stand and managed to bump it up to .236 in seven games.
Mark Melancon tossed a scoreless eighth, pushing his streak to 6 innings since returning from pronator strain and stint on the disabled list.
The Giants kept the Brewers in the park this series all the way until the very last out. Sam Dyson allowed his first home run as a Giant and Stephen Vogt did the honors, blasting a solo shot off a 3-2 pitch in the ninth inning.