Matt Moore‘s Mind Clear & Heartbeat Slower On Mound
Matt Moore had a very successful season for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013 posting a 17-4 record with a 3.29 ERA. His 17 wins ranked 2nd in franchise history to David Price who won 19 games in 2010 and 20 games in 2012.
Like David Price (strained tricep) and Alex Cobb (concussion), he spent time on the disabled list in 2013. After his start against the New York Yankees on July 28th he felt soreness in his elbow and on July 31st was placed on the disabled list where he’d remain for the next 31 games.
Even before his injury there were questions surrounding his drop in velocity. According to Fangraphs.com Moore’s four seam fastball average velocity dropped from 94.1-mph in 2012 to 92.3-mph in 2013.
Yesterday he threw his first live batting practice and afterward said he felt better today than 12 months ago. “Thinking back to where I was last year on the mound in that first live batting practice, I was a lot more encouraged walking off the hill today with the hitters’ feedback, where the ball was winding up, where my effort level was. I think all those things are ahead of where we were at this time 12 months ago.
As for the velocity he didn’t address it directly but did say that “When I’m throwing the ball well, I’m not reaching back for more. The [distance to the] catcher almost seems shorter. I make sure I’m painting that stroke and that my body is staying back:
When he is free and easy he says his mind is freed up and “I’m thinking, ‘Get down the hill, get down the hill.’ [I’ve got] a little more clarity on the mound; a slower heart rate.”
Manager Joe Maddon was pleased with the way Moore looked Sunday afternoon, “There’s definitely a lot on the ball. He worked out of the windup and the stretch, threw some really good curveballs, definitely a lot of hop on the ball.”
As for his velocity Maddon admits that there was no radar gun on him but that “the velocity looked pretty impressive. I don’t know what it was, but there was a lot of jump on the ball and some pretty good break.”
For Moore the process of getting ready for the open to the 2014 season continues in Port Charlotte and from the sound of his first outing he is free and easy and ready to take the next step.