Right Field

Another Reason to Love Joe Maddon: Matt Moore Will Start Division Series Opener

With Jeremy Hellickson, David Price, and James Shields unavailable to start game one of the American League Division Series this afternoon, Rays manager announced that he is bypassing his other members of the rotation to start 22-year-old southpaw Matt Moore against the Rangers in Arlington. What makes this move most intriguing is that Moore, whom FanGraphs’ Steve Slowinski earlier this month labeled “Tampa Bay’s Best Ever Pitching Prospect,” will be making only his second big-league start. Fellow lefty C. J. Wilson will take the mound for Texas.

When asked why, Maddon — who is well known for unconventional strategies and tactics — replied, “I don’t think we have qualms about doing anything,”

As Tommy Rancel of DRaysBay observed:

In choosing Moore, he is putting his best available arm on the field regardless of experience. Considering how loosely the Rays have played with “house money” it is no surprise that they are going all in with a rookie starter. That said, Matt Moore is no ordinary rookie.

Today’s game will be broadcast on TBS. First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. CDT.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.