Matt Moore has thrown just 9 1/3 innings in the big leagues. And now he'll be a Game 1 starter in the playoffs.
Moore, 22, will be making just his second big-league start on Friday. He started last Thursday against the Yankees and announced his presence with authority, striking out 11 batters, walking one and allowing four hits in five scoreless innings. In all, he's appeared in three games, going 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA. Moore hadn't pitched above Class A before the season, but in Double-A and Triple-A this season, he went 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 155 innings.
Moore debuted in a loss to the Orioles on Sept. 14, allowing two runs on three hits in just 1 1/3 innings. However, he's gotten better in each subsequent appearance, allowing two hits and a run in three big relief innings against the Red Sox on Sept. 17 and then last week's lights-out start against the Yankees.
The Rays had been debating starting either Jeff Niemann or Moore in the first game and picked the rookie. James Shields will start Game 2. The Rays didn't release their entire rotation, but it appears they will have Jeremy Hellickson lined up for Game 3 and David Price for Game 4, if needed. .
Moore will face Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson in the first game of the series. Wilson is 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA and was 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in four postseason starts in 2010.
It's yet another aggressive move by the Rays, who often take a little too long to get their top pitching prospects to the big leagues, but they certainly don't hold them back once they get there.
More Rangers-Rays ALDS coverage