Matt Moore eyes a fifth straight win to start the season on Saturday when the Tampa Bay Rays continue a four-game set with the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Moore has been absolutely terrific for the Rays in the early going, posting a perfect 4-0 mark with a 1.04 ERA. He's also struck out 29 batters in 26 innings.
The 23-year-old left-hander was brilliant again on Monday against the New York Yankees, as he gave up just a run and two hits, while striking out nine in eight innings. He did walk three batters, though, and has issued 14 free passes on the year.
"I think that I was able to get ahead with my fastball and just really use my offspeed pitches the way they were meant to be used," Moore said. "I felt just as good -- if not better -- out there in the seventh and eighth innings than I did in the first and second."
The last AL pitcher 23 years old or younger to go 4-0 in his first four starts of a season was Jered Weaver of the Angels in 2006. Another win on Saturday and he will become the franchise's first pitcher to win five April games.
Moore has split his two starts versus the White Sox and has pitched to a 1.46 ERA in those outings.
On the other hand Chicago righty Gavin Floyd is winless in four starts this season, going 0-3 with a 4.98 ERA. Floyd, though, was terrific his last time out on Sunday versus Minnesota, as he allowed just a run and three hits in six innings. He also walked three batters, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 5-3 loss.
"Ultimately, you want to win as a team," said Floyd, who threw 96 pitches. "It's a bittersweet thing. You're happy that you threw well, but unhappy that we lost."
Floyd could get off the schneid on Saturday, as he owns a 5-1 lifetime mark against the Rays with a 2.48 ERA in six games.
In Friday's opener, Tyler Greene hit a two-run homer and Hector Gimenez and Conor Gillaspie both added solo shots to help Chicago to a 5-4 win. Adam Dunn added a pair of hits and drove in a run for the White Sox, who have won three straight.
Chicago starter Jake Peavy (3-1) allowed three runs on six hits -- including two homers -- while striking out six over 6 2/3 innings. Addison Reed gave up one run in the ninth, but stranded a pair of baserunners to seal the win and record his eighth save of the season.
"Jake had a good game. He had a rough inning, but other than that he was real good," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Our guys kept plugging away though."
Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria homered for the Rays, losers in three of their last four. Kelly Johnson added an RBI.
"I think we have to capitalize on these close games. I think a lot of the good teams do. Usually, the teams that make the playoffs have a lot of moments when they win close games," Joyce said. "We still have a long way to go, but we will figure out how to win those games."
Roberto Hernandez (1-4) allowed all five Chicago runs on eight hits over six innings to absorb the loss.
The Rays lost four of seven matchups with the White Sox a year ago, dropping three of four at U.S. Cellular Field.