BOSTON — The Rays' starting pitchers talk often about trying to one-up each other and keep whatever momentum they have going.
In that case, Matt Moore faces quite a challenge today, not just in trying to tame the potent Red Sox lineup but equaling or surpassing what David Price and Alex Cobb did before him.
And he couldn't be more confident about it.
"Absolutely," Moore said. "It's kind of like when you see somebody do something bad or a pitcher struggling, or whatever it is, it's just kind of ugly, you try not to look away.
"In these moments when these guys are dominating games and taking over, that's where you want to have your eyes most open. So to be able to see that, that's a great visual for a mentality, for sure."
Though Moore is just 24 and has been in the majors only since September 2011, this will be the second American League Division Series opener he has pitched.
The first one, against the Rangers in Texas shortly after his callup, was more an experiment. Moore said the feeling will be much different today.
"I'm a little more aware of the lineup," he said. "I think that the whole major-league level, the experience, that stuff kind of leveled off with that a little bit to where it's not as new," he said. "I think a lot of that helped me back in 2011; just not having the expectations for myself that year and just being in the situation kind of helped me be in the moment."
Wildness has been a problem for Moore since he came off the disabled list Sept. 3, with 20 walks in 29 innings over six starts. Manager Joe Maddon said a key today is for Moore to find a middle ground, because when he throws too many strikes he tends to get hit more often.
"He walks this different kind of a tightrope that maybe some other pitchers don't walk," Maddon said, "but he's able to do it."