Moore’s past two starts have been poor but manager Scott Servais is preaching patience.
There was Chris Sale: a veteran, a master of the strikeout, a pitcher in complete control of his form and, of course, the starter for the Red Sox on Wednesday.
There was Andrew Moore: a rookie, still learning, a pitcher whose stuff is better on the whole than any individual parts and, of course, the starter for the Mariners on Wednesday.
Sports are complicated, but sometimes they aren’t: On Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox started Sale and the Mariners started Moore, and the Mariners lost 4-0.
N.Y. Mets @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
“There’s a reason he’s probably been the most dominant starter in the American League this year,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Sale.
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That reason was clear, and it was clear early.
Sale didn’t allow a hit until the third inning, a double to Jean Segura, which Sale quickly stamped out with back-to-back strikeouts. He gave up all of three hits in seven innings. He struck out 11, the 14th time this season he struck out at least 10, the most in a season since 2002 (when Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling did it).
Sale was entirely and thoroughly dominant.
Moore was not.
His last two starts had been rough — 10 runs in nine innings — and this one appeared headed for a similar end. By the end of the fourth inning, Moore had allowed four runs and two home runs.
But he hung around and retired the final 10 batters he faced, extending his start to last 62/3 innings.
“He’s learning,” Servais said. “Certainly like his competitiveness and how he goes about it. He just didn’t have that pitch to finish them today, and the home-run ball got him.”
The home-run ball has been a consistent thorn in Moore’s six starts with the Mariners. He’s allowed 11 home runs this season, including a hanging curveball to Yankees star Aaron Judge last week that Judge nearly deposited outside of Safeco Field.
Moore referenced the Judge home run on Wednesday because of its similarities to the two-run home run he allowed to Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon: a mistake, a curveball up that Leon hit over the wall.
Servais said Moore’s curveball has been inconsistent, and it’s hurt him.
“I was trying to do too much,” Moore said. “Kind of the same situation as the Judge pitch last time. I was just trying to make it too good instead of just trusting the grip and the movement off of it.”
That was in the fourth inning. Moore rebounded.
“With a young pitcher, you have to have patience,” Servais said. “There are going to be some growing pains. He is learning. I do like the way he is able to make adjustments in game. He’s done that a number of times to stretch out an outing. He doesn’t fold because he gives up a home run or anything like that. He continues to battle and understands how important it is for him to get deep into the game. He did it again today. He gets the last 10 guys out, gives you a chance and keeps it right there. Got to be patient. That’s what you have to do with young players.”
The loss only reinforced the importance of Tuesday’s 13th-inning win. That secured a series win against first-place Boston, which came after losing three of four against the Yankees to start this homestand.
“The goal coming in here was to win the series,” Servais said. “We did accomplish that, which was great.
“I thought we did play well,” he added. “We just got shut down today.”