Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Moore out to silence Jays' potent lineup

Left-hander Matt Moore will become the latest Rays starter who attempts to quiet the potent Blue Jays' lineup when the two teams conclude their four-game series on Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Moore has a strong track record of success against Toronto, with a 5-2 record and 3.04 ERA over nine starts, but this lineup is different than the one he's used to. The 26-year-old faced the Blue Jays just once last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.
"Last year, we saw basically two personalities," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You saw a guy trying to find his way coming back from an injury. Then feeling pretty good about himself the last four or five starts, and you weren't quite sure what guy you were going to get coming into Spring Training.
"He definitely showed [he's] the guy who has a lot of confidence. You can just see the way he approaches hitters. Very much a 'here it is, hit it' approach. I trust my stuff over whoever is in the box, and that speaks to how much success he had in Spring Training."
The Blue Jays will counter with left-hander J.A. Happ, who is making his first start for Toronto since the 2014 season. Happ was traded to Seattle for Michael Saunders at the end of that year, but he returned this offseason on a three-year, $36 million contract.
"They're all good," Toronto manager John Gibbons said of the Rays' pitching staff. "One thing they've always done, I think the reason they've been so tough on us, for the most part, they've always held our offense in check. That's what we do, is score. They've always managed to generate enough offense on their own to beat you."
Three things to know about this game
• Steve Pearce will likely find his way into the Rays' lineup on Wednesday afternoon. He has a .368 career average with three home runs and nine RBIs against Happ.
• Several Blue Jays hitters have fared well against Moore, but Russell Martin tops the list with a .429 average and two home runs.
• Toronto infielder Darwin Barney will draw his first start of the year with the left-handed Moore on the mound for Tampa Bay. Barney has yet to appear in a game this season, but he is expected to spend the year as a platoon partner with Ryan Goins at second.

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