FanPost

Matt Moore to Start Game 1 of ALDS: Unprecedented Inexperience

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon has tapped top pitching prospect Matt Moore to start game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers. The southpaw was pretty good in his first--and only--start in the Major leagues, finishing with a line of 4 H, 0 R, 11 K, 1 BB over 5.0 IP against the New York Yankees. He has pitched two other games in relief: in his debut he pitched 1.1 innings giving up 2 runs on 3 hits (1 homerun), and in his second game he pitched 3.0 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits. He finished his first season with 9.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 15 K, 3 BB, 2.89 ERA.

When Moore throws the first pitch Friday night, he will become the most inexperienced pitcher to ever start game 1 of any postseason series in Major League history, having just pitched in 3 games and had 1 start. (Side note: the 256 postseason series game 1's played since 1903 had, obviously, 512 starting pitchers. Of those 512, 126 (25%) were playing in their first career postseason game.)

To date, only 9 first-year pitchers have ever started a game 1:

Player

Date of Game 1

Series

Age

Tm

G

GS

Brian Duensing

2009/10/07

ALDS

26

MIN

24

9

Bob Wolcott

1995/10/10

ALCS

21

SEA

7

6

Bob Walk

1980/10/14

WS

23

PHI

27

27

Jim Beattie

1978/10/03

ALCS

23

NYY

25

22

Joe Black

1952/10/01

WS

28

BRO

56

2

Don Newcombe

1949/10/05

WS

23

BRO

38

31

Spec Shea

1947/09/30

WS

26

NYY

27

23

Paul Derringer

1931/10/01

WS

24

STL

35

23

Jeff Tesreau

1912/10/08

WS

24

NYG

36

28

The last pitcher to do this was the Twins' Brian Duensing in the 2009 ALDS, but the rookie had a whopping 24 games and 9 starts under his belt. You can see on that list that the next most inexperienced pitcher is Bob Wolcott but he still had more than double the games played compared to Moore despite being a year younger!

Let's see how these kids did in their starts:

Player

Opp.

Result

Pitching Line

Brian Duensing

NYY

L  2-7

4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HR

Bob Wolcott

CLE

W  3-2

7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 5 BB, 1 HR

Bob Walk

KCR

W  7-6

7 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 K, 3 BB, 3 HR

Jim Beattie

KCR

W  7-1

5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 K, 5 BB, 0 HR

Joe Black

NYY

W  4-2

9 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 HR

Don Newcombe

NYY

L  0-1

8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 11 K, 0 BB, 1 HR

Spec Shea

BRO

W  5-3

5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 K, 2 BB, 0 HR

Paul Derringer

PHA

L  2-6

7 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 9 K, 3 BB, 1 HR

Jeff Tesreau

BOS

L  3-4

7 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 K, 4 BB, 0 HR

Pretty respectable results: they compiled a 5-4 record with 2 complete games (in bold), averaging 6 H, 3 ER, 5 K, 3 BB, 1 HR over 6.2 IP.

Moore, at 22 years and 104 days, will not be the youngest pitcher ever to start a game 1 (obvious from above that Wolcott was younger). That honour belongs to Fernando Valenzuela (LAD), who was 20 years, 339 days and in his second major league season when he started game 1 of the NLDS against Houston on Oct. 6, 1981 (8 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 K, 2 BB in a no decision; Dodgers lost 3-1). Moore would slot in as the ninth youngest game 1 starter, between Vida Blue (22 years, 67 days on Oct. 3, 1971) and Carlos Zambrano (22 years, 128 days on Oct. 7, 2003).

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