SAN FRANCISCO -- When Matt Moore scales the mound for Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday night (8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT on FS1), he would do well to remember the advice once given to him by the manager in the other dugout.Moore broke into the
SAN FRANCISCO -- When Matt Moore scales the mound for Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday night (8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT on FS1), he would do well to remember the advice once given to him by the manager in the other dugout.
Moore broke into the Majors in 2011 with the Rays, a club then managed by Joe Maddon, who is now the Cubs' skipper. In his second big league start, Game 1 of the American League Division Series in Texas, the young lefty delivered seven scoreless innings in a 9-0 win. Moore felt at ease in the spotlight thanks in part to Maddon's calming influence.
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"One of the first things he told me was they're not looking for me to come in and do something that I'm not capable of doing," Moore said. "Be yourself. ... Nobody's asking you to come out here and be somebody that you can't be."
Moore will take that mentality into arguably the biggest start of his career against the Cubs' John Lackey at AT&T Park. The Giants acquired Moore from the Rays on Aug. 1 with games like this in mind, and now they will turn to him with their season on the line.
To force another elimination game, the Giants stormed back in the eighth inning of Monday's Game 3 with three runs off Aroldis Chapman before grabbing a 6-5 win in 13 innings. San Francisco has won 10 straight win-or-go-home affairs in the postseason.
"I think we should be going into [Tuesday] with confidence," catcher Buster Posey said. "At the same time, we know that Lackey's going to be bringing his 'A' game. We've got Matty Moore going, and we look forward to the challenge."
Moore quickly picked up on the key to the Giants' success with their backs against the wall.
"I have noticed that just the tone in the overall clubhouse, that I don't feel that panic, the sense of urgency like somebody's trying to be somebody that they're not," Moore said. "I do notice that, and I think that it kind of helps me being new here to kind of just follow suit."
Overall, Moore finished the year 13-12 with a 4.08 ERA and 198 1/3 innings in 33 starts, a bounceback season following an up-and-down return from Tommy John surgery in '15. He went 6-5 with a 4.08 ERA in 12 starts for the Giants, rounding out a revamped rotation behind Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.
Moore could have pitched in Game 2 at Wrigley Field, but manager Bruce Bochy opted to start Samardzija, who gave up four runs in two innings as the Cubs took a 2-0 series lead. One possible factor in the decision to hold Moore for Game 4: He's been better at AT&T Park, going 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA in six starts.
Moore has never faced the Cubs, so he closely watched Bumgarner in Game 3, making mental notes about how Chicago's potent lineup approached the left-hander.
Mindful of being himself, like Maddon told him five years ago, Moore once again will step into the postseason spotlight Tuesday night and try to send the Giants to a winner-take-all Game 5 at Wrigley Field.
"This has got to be the biggest reason why we play the game, why we start training early in November and getting ready for this month, for these series, these moments," Moore said Monday afternoon. "I'm very excited to watch Bum pitch tonight -- and probably a little bit more excited to get going myself."
Adam Berry has covered baseball for MLB.com since 2011.