Mariners Insider Blog

Watchpoints: Moore makes his debut for a rotation still in flux

Andrew Moore will make his big-league debut Thursday in the Mariners’ series finale against the Tigers.
Andrew Moore will make his big-league debut Thursday in the Mariners’ series finale against the Tigers. AP

Andrew Moore will be the 13th different starting pitcher used by the Mariners when he makes his major-league debut Thursday in the series finale against Detroit at Safeco Field.

It’s no reflection on Moore to say 13 is an unlucky number. It reflects a rotation that’s spent the entire season in an injury-induced chaos.

Moore replaces veteran Yovani Gallardo, whose demotion to mop-up duty in the bullpen swept the board. None of the club’s five projected starters have taken their turn on every cycle.

One difference with Moore is this isn’t a frantic move resulting from an injury. He arrives with a resume that, as general manager Jerry Dipoto phrased it, shows he’s "earned an opportunity to pitch here."

Moore, 23, is 17-8 with a 2.59 ERA through 56 minor-league games, including 49 starts, since his selection in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He was 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A Tacoma.

"Obviously, he’s been a very good performer," manager Scott Servais said. "He’s been on our radar since day one. We really liked what we saw in spring training."

Moore is a pitch-maker who doesn’t dazzle at first glance, but the numbers are the numbers. He compares his approach to that of teammate Sam Gaviglio, another Oregon State alum.

"Sam has been someone I’ve looked up to since high school," Moore said. "Both of us being from Oregon and going to Oregon State. Kind of following his path has been really cool.

"We’re really similar pitchers. We’re not going to blow it by you. Just working both sides of the plate and keeping you off-balance."

Gaviglio, 27, will start Saturday against Houston. He is 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA in eight games, including seven starts, since his May 10 promotion from Tacoma.

What isn’t certain is how long either Moore or Gaviglio will remain in the rotation. It also seems unlikely Gallardo will spend an extended tour in the bullpen, although there’s no reason to expect him to return any time soon to the rotation.

The Mariners must make a space-clearing roster move Friday in order to activate Felix Hernandez from the disabled list. And the Mariners, in a schedule quirk, have two open dates next week in a four-day span.

"You really don’t need the fifth starter-type," Servais noted. "There may be some different ways to maneuver that."

Further, Hisashi Iwakuma is slotted for at least one more rehab start after a setback earlier this week, but he should be ready by the All-Star break. Drew Smyly is tracking to return just after the break.

More moves are coming in the rotation.

Other watchpoints:

***Detroit is starting lefty Daniel Norris (4-4 with a 4.42 ERA) in the series finale at 7:10 p.m. Thursday at Safeco Field. The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest.

***Norris is 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA in four career starts against the Mariners. He gave up four runs in four innings in an 8-0 loss to the Mariners on April 26 in Detroit.

***Right-hander Tyler Cloyd cleared waivers and remains at Tacoma on an outright assignment. He is scheduled to start Thursday for the Rainiers at Reno (Diamondbacks). The Mariners designated Cloyd for assignment Wednesday in order to add Moore to the 40-man roster.

***The Mariners’ lineup isn’t out yet, but it’s likely Guillermo Heredia will draw a start in center field over Jarrod Dyson, who ignited Wednesday’s comeback victory. Heredia is 4-for-6 in two previous games against Norris.

***Servais indicated he would likely flip Ben Gamel and Mitch Haniger between second and seventh in the lineup depending on the opposing pitcher. That suggests Gamel, with his .354 average, will drop to seventh against Norris.

***Gamel has a 13-game hitting streak and has hits in 23 of his last 24 games. His .354 average would lead the American League if he had nine more plate appearances. Chicago outfielder Avisail Garcia is the qualified leader at .341.

***Nelson Cruz had three RBIs in Wednesday’s victory, which boosted his AL-leading total to 58. New York outfielder Aaron Judge has 54.

***The Mariners hold a 5-1 edge in the season series, which concludes Thursday. They are looking to complete a four-game sweep of the Tigers in Seattle for the first time.

***The Mariners enter the game at 37-37, which marks the fourth time this season that they’ve reached .500. They have never been above .500.

***Detroit has lost five in a row and 10 of its last 13.

***It’s Pride Night at Safeco Field.

TIME CAPSULE

It was 23 years ago Thursday — June 22, 1994 — that Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 31st homer and broke Babe Ruth’s record for the number of homers through June.

Griffey’s homer came against California lefty Brian Anderson and ignited a five-run sixth inning that propelled the Mariners to a 12-3 victory at Anaheim.

Ruth had 30 homers by the end of June in 1928 and 1930. Griffey finished the month with 32.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

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