The Tampa Bay Rays have the reigning AL Cy Young award winner on their staff, but young left-hander Matt Moore has been their most effective starter to open the season.
Looking to become the franchise's first pitcher to win five April games, Moore tries to help the Rays avoid a fourth straight road defeat and prevent the Chicago White Sox from a fourth consecutive victory Saturday night.
While Tampa Bay (10-13) Cy Young winner David Price is winless in five starts, Moore (4-0, 1.04 ERA) has a chance to join Boston'sClay Buchholz as the majors' only five-game winners.
Moore, who went 11-11 with a 3.81 in 31 starts during his first full season in 2012, has allowed three runs, 10 hits and struck out 29 in 26 innings. He gave up a homer and one other hit while fanning nine in eight innings of a 5-1 win over the New York Yankees on Monday.
Moore made it a point to be better out of the gate after going 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in his first five starts last year.
"Probably because we've talked about it so much; we made such a big issue about it, he wanted to prove us wrong," manager Joe Maddon told the Rays' official website. "Which, you know, most of your children always want to do."
Moore went 1-1 with a 1.46 ERA against the White Sox last season. In his final start of 2012, he allowed a hit in 5 1-3 scoreless innings of a 10-4 win at U.S. Cellular Field.
He'll try to help the Rays somehow improve on their AL-worst 2-9 road mark. Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria each homered and James Loney had three hits, but Tampa Bay blew a 3-0 lead in Friday's 5-4 loss at Chicago (10-12).
"The bigger issue is that we have to figure out how to win on the road,'' Joyce said. "For us, that's more at the forefront of our minds.''
Loney has been a recent bright spot, going 10 for 13 with four RBIs in the last four road games after he went 1 for 13 in the first seven away from home.
Half of Longoria's 12 hits in his last 47 at-bats overall have been home runs.
He's batting .360 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his past 12 games against the White Sox. His only two hits in 13 at-bats versus scheduled starter Gavin Floyd (0-3, 4.98) have left the park.
Floyd has allowed three earned runs and struck out 21 in 19 innings while winning three straight starts against the Rays.
The right-hander gave up nine runs in 9 2-3 innings of his previous two starts before he yielded a run and three hits while not factoring in the decision of a 5-3 loss to Minnesota on Sunday.
Backup infielder Tyler Greene and catcher Hector Gimenez each hit their first homers and two of the three Friday for Chicago, which has won three straight after losing three in a row.
"We're not like a Detroit who's going to line up and here we go man-for-man," winning pitcher Jake Peavy said. "We've got to have contributions from everybody and we understand that.''
Of Chicago's 76 runs, 43 have come off 27 homers.
Slugger Adam Dunn did not homer, but had two hits and is 3 for 8 in the series after going 1 for 37 in his previous 11 contests.