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Moore takes Giant steps in comfort with S.F.

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

PHOENIX -- Matt Moore qualified for full-fledged "Gianthood" by dominating the rival Dodgers in a pair of late-season victories last season, but he needed the offseason and the first weeks of Spring Training to absorb the orange and black deeper into his bloodstream.

His fuller conversion has come just in time for his first full season with San Francisco.

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PHOENIX -- Matt Moore qualified for full-fledged "Gianthood" by dominating the rival Dodgers in a pair of late-season victories last season, but he needed the offseason and the first weeks of Spring Training to absorb the orange and black deeper into his bloodstream.

His fuller conversion has come just in time for his first full season with San Francisco.

View Full Game Coverage

"I think more so this offseason I really settled into feeling like a Giant," said Moore, 27.

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Moore couldn't be blamed if he felt slightly in limbo after San Francisco acquired him from Tampa Bay at last year's Trade Deadline for third baseman Matt Duffy and two Minor Leaguers. The whirlwind of joining a postseason race with a new team would knock anybody off balance.

"From last August on, it was pretty quick," he said.

But the passage of time and the immersion that comes with it helped Moore solidify his association with the ballclub.

Moore continued preparing for his role as the Giants' No. 3 starter by working three scoreless innings in San Francisco's 4-2 victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday. He fanned five, yielded three hits over three shutout innings and stranded five baserunners, four of them in scoring position.

"What I liked was he had to pitch in traffic a lot," manager Bruce Bochy said.

The Giants hope that Moore will face less adversity come April. He should succeed if he retains the lessons of last fall.

Corey Seager's two-out single in the ninth inning denied Moore a chance at a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 25. That also began an eight-game stretch that saw Moore go 6-2.

Video: SF@LAD: Moore pitches near no-no, fans seven

During that span, according to figures compiled by Statcast™, Moore junked his sinking two-seam fastball, used his cutter more frequently and continued to rely on his curveball and four-seam fastball. In this 45 1/3-inning stretch, Moore threw 49.3 percent four-seamers, 16.9 percent curves, 16.8 percent cutters, 15.4 percent changeups and 0.9 percent two-seamers.

By comparison, in his first four starts with the Giants after they obtained him, he was less diverse. Statcast™'s pitch breakdown tabulated his four-seam fastball percentage at 65, followed by 26.1 percent curveballs. That left only 8.9 percent for other pitches.

Moore recalled experimenting with the cutter while playing catch years ago. He mastered it enough to distinguish it from a slider, which spins sideways, but he never used it in his starts.

"Nobody really liked it where I was at," said Moore, who has regained his arm strength after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2014.

After Moore joined the Giants, catcher Buster Posey encouraged him to throw the cutter, which has benefited numerous pitchers.

"Basically, we just went right into games with it," Moore said. "I think a lot of that was because there's not a big difference in the thought process of throwing a four-seam fastball and throwing the cut fastball. I haven't been around that long, but it does feel nice to have a pitch that's something new, to mess around with a different look."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Matt Moore