Matt Moore made his San Francisco Giants debut today with impressive results—for the most part. Moore held the Philadelphia Phillies to two runs on three hits over six innings, giving the Giants one of the better starts this month.
Some might dismiss the nice numbers for having come against the Phillies. Yes, Philly are among the National League’s bottom-three run scoring teams. But they’re plenty talented, as we’ve seen the past couple days. The other reason to come away from today’s game not fully impressed by Moore is that, while he allowed just three hits, he walked six. That’s a walk an inning, which usually leads to a flood of runs.
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Control has always been Moore’s most glaring weakness—he has walked a batter every 2.4 innings in his career. Madison Bumgarner, by comparison, has walked a batter every 4.3 innings. Unfortunately, it’s a wart that the Giants will have to live with…unless pitching coach Dave Righetti can coax some more control out of him. Moore is basically a less refined Cole Hamels, so if Righetti can indeed have a transformative influence on Moore, then Moore could become one of the more dominant starters in the league.
But that’s all speculative. For now, Moore looks like a solid No. 3 pitcher with a dangerous tendency of walking too many batters.
Complementing his solid start was the bullpen. Again, it’s easy to dismiss results against one of the weaker teams in the league—especially one with so many young players—but today’s game may have revealed the Giants’ pitching formula for winning games moving forward: Hunter Strickland handled the seventh inning; Derek Law spun a perfect eighth; newly acquired Will Smith and Sergio Romo combined to hold down the Phillies in the ninth; and then, hold your breath, Santiago Casilla closes the game out (as he still does the vast majority of the time, despite the seemingly high rate of cardiac-arresting outings).
Some of the names are different. But it’s a familiar formula that the Giants have successfully deployed in recent very successful seasons.