That's Moore Like ItTuesday, April 23, 2013
Expectations were sky high for Matt Moore last season, so his rookie campaign was a bit of a mixed bag under the circumstances, as he finished with a 3.81 ERA and 175/81 K/BB ratio over 177 1/3 innings. However, he could be primed to take a step forward this year.
Moore improved to 4-0 on the young season on Monday by striking out nine batters over eight innings as part of a 5-1 win over the Yankees. The 23-year-old left-hander gave up just two hits while the lone run scored on a home run by Robinson Cano. No shame in that. He threw a career-high 117 pitches in the victory and has compiled a 1.04 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in 26 innings across four starts.
The big key to Moore taking the aforementioned "step forward" is to improve his control. And he's not there yet. Moore averaged 4.1 BB/9 last year and has already walked 14 batters this season. To be fair, six of those were against the Rangers back on April 10 and he has issued three or less in his other three starts. Let's hope he has fewer wild days moving forward. With a healthy innings jump expected, Moore has a good chance to top 200 strikeouts this year. And while Tropicana Field is a lousy venue, it's a pretty nice environment to facilitate a breakout season.
Heyward Goes Under the Knife
While Freddie Freeman is set to return from his strained oblique, the Braves will have to get by without another important piece of their lineup.
The Braves announced late Monday night that outfielder Jason Heyward underwent successful appendectomy surgery at Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. The usual recovery time is 2-4 weeks, but Adam Dunn and Matt Holliday have returned from the procedure within 10 days in recent years. While Holliday was fine upon his return, Dunn later admitted that he came back too soon and suggested that it was partially responsible for his miserable 2011 season. Convenient excuse? Maybe. But it's something to keep in mind. Get a backup plan in place in fantasy leagues.
The Braves are set to play three games in the space of the next two days, so it seems likely that they'll move Heyward to the disabled list. Reed Johnson and Jordan Schafer figure to see an uptick in playing time during his absence, but it will be interesting to see whether the Braves give Evan Gattis some reps.
Marcum Nearing Season Debut
The Mets haven't gotten much out of their starting rotation outside of Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, and a strong start from Dillon Gee on Sunday, but there's some help on the way. And no, I'm not talking about top prospect Zack Wheeler. At least not yet.
Shaun Marcum, who began the season on the disabled list due to nerve inflammation in his neck, threw 52 pitches over five scoreless innings Monday in an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He then threw more in the bullpen in order to stretch himself out to 70-75 pitches. Assuming no setbacks over the next few days, the veteran right-hander should be cleared to make his season debut Saturday against the Phillies.
Marcum has a lengthy injury history and was limited to just 124 innings last season due to elbow soreness, so he had to settle for a one-year, $4 million contract with the Mets during the offseason. Still, he's been highly effective during his career when healthy, posting a 3.76 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Interestingly, he had a 2.67 road ERA from 2011-2012 with the Brewers, which was the best among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched. Who knows how long he'll hold up, but he should be useful in mixed fantasy leagues.
National League Quick Hits: Ryan Braun homered Monday for the fourth time in his last five games … Johnny Cueto (lat) played catch Monday for the first time since he was placed on the disabled list … Carlos Ruiz will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday and is eligible to return from his 25-game amphetamine suspension on Sunday … Shelby Miller gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings in Monday's win over the Nationals and now has a 2.16 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 26/7 K/BB ratio in 25 innings across four starts … Adam Eaton (elbow) resumed throwing on Friday and is likely looking at a return in mid-to-late May … Cameron Maybin received a cortisone shot in his right wrist on Monday …Kyle Lohse left Monday's game in the sixth inning after he dislocated his left pinkie finger by running into Padres' first baseman Yonder Alonso. X-rays came back negative, but his status for his next start is uncertain … Zack Cozart (fingers) went 0-for-4 with a walk in his return to action Monday … Anthony Rendon collected his first major league hit -- an RBI double -- Monday against the Cardinals … Jonathan Lucroy was moved to the cleanup spot Monday and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout … Carlos Marmol has pitched seven consecutive scoreless innings … Sean Marshall (shoulder) struck out two in a perfect inning Monday in his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Louisville … Jonathan Broxton left Monday's game after he was hit in the right hand by a comebacker, but X-rays came back negative … Jonathan Pettibone was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday and limited the Pirates to two runs (both solo homers) over 5 1/3 innings while striking out six and walking none ... Monday's game between the Braves and Rockies was postponed due to snow in the Denver area …
American League Quick Hits: Felix Hernandez notched his 100th career victory Monday by tossing six shutout innings Monday against the Astros … CC Sabathia gave up five runs -- including three homers -- over seven innings Monday in a loss to the Rays … Mike Napoli hit a grand slam and knocked in five runs Monday against the Athletics and currently leads the majors with 25 RBI … Josh Hamilton was moved to the fifth spot Wednesday and went 4-for-4 with four singles and two runs scored … Yoenis Cespedes (hand) took batting practice Monday and is expected to begin a two-day minor league rehab assignment Friday … Michael Bourn is scheduled to have the stitches removed from his right index finger on Thursday … Curtis Granderson hit off a tee and took soft tosses Monday for the first time since he suffered a fractured forum in late February … Joel Hanrahan (hamstring) threw off a mound Monday for the first time since he was placed on the disabled list … Shane Victorino (back) went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored Monday in his return to action … Kevin Youkilis (back) sat out his second straight game Monday and may miss another day or two … Brett Anderson (ankle) is expected to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday against the Red Sox … Jesus Montero launched his first home run of the season Monday against the Astros … A.J. Pierzynski hit a go-ahead homer in Monday's win over the Angels … John Lackey (biceps) struck out five over 3 2/3 scoreless innings Monday in his first rehab start with Double-A Portland … Tommy Hanson was placed on the bereavement list Monday and will miss his next scheduled start … Brett Myers is out indefinitely with a mild tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow … Franklin Gutierrez left Monday's game with a tight right hamstring and could require a stint on the disabled list … Luke Scott (calf) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with High-A Charlotte … Joakim Soria (elbow) has been shut down for 2-3 weeks due to a strained pectoral muscle and isn't expected to join the Rangers' bullpen until July … The Orioles demoted right-hander Jake Arrieta to Triple-A Norfolk … The Athletics acquired outfielder Casper Wells from the Blue Jays for cash considerations … Monday's game between the Marlins and Twins was postponed due to snow in the Minneapolis area …