Five-RBI night boosts Moss' confidence
Tribe slugger has been frustrated by lack of consistency
ST. PETERSBURG -- Brandon Moss picked up the baseball that ended Indians starter Carlos Carrasco's bid for a no-hitter against the Rays on Wednesday night. With two strikes and two outs in the ninth inning, Joey Butler sent a slider bouncing into right field, where Moss retrieved the ball from the turf.
"I was upset for him," Moss said Thursday morning before the Tribe's 5-4 victory in the series finale at Tropicana Field. "I think we all really, really, really wanted to see him finish that off. It would've been really incredible for him. He pitched an incredible game as it is. I'm sure, 0-2, two outs in the bottom of the ninth and losing it there, that's something he'll probably think about for the rest of his life."
Carrasco's stellar showing in the Tribe's 8-1 win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday understandably overshadowed a strong night in the batter's box for Moss. Cleveland's slugging right fielder went 2-for-4 with a two-run double in the second inning and a towering three-run home run in the eighth.
It was an encouraging outburst for Moss, who has been frustrated with his lack of consistency this season.
"That was great to see," Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo said. "It just gives him a shot of confidence. Hitting that home run in a two-strike count off the lefty [C.J. Riefenhauser], I think that helps him moving forward. He's been pressing a little bit with runners in scoring position, so that was a nice situation for him to have some success."
Moss' production this season has fallen mostly in line with his career rates in most offensive categories, and he entered Thursday as the Indians' leader in home runs (13) and RBIs (42), but that has not made things any easier on him. Moss knows he can perform better than he has for Cleveland.
"I know I obviously have the capability and ability to do that," Moss said. "It just hasn't been happening as consistently as I would like this year. Personally, I know I could have more home runs and doubles than I do, it just hasn't worked out that way at home. I've hit some balls to some bad spots at some bad times. I just wish there was more consistency with the base hits.
"I feel like the home runs will be consistent, because of the way I swing and the way I hit. They'll come when they should. But, base hits are something that keep you afloat and keep the team afloat. You can't hit a three-run homer or a two-run homer every week. You've got to be a baseball player. I'm just trying to find that consistently to be a better player, especially at a time when the team really needs you."
International signings: According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, the Indians have agreed to deals with international prospects Luis Oviedo ($375,000) and Jose Fermin ($500,000). Oviedo is a right-hander out of Venezuela and Fermin is an infielder from the Dominican Republic.
Per Sanchez, the Indians also reached an agreeement on a $600,000 deal with third baseman Henry Pujols.