GLENDALE, Ariz. — At some point of the offseason, it hit Matt Moore.
“I really settled into feeling like a Giant,” he said.
Getting traded makes for a difficult transition for any player, but for Moore, it was a bit more hectic. He was dealt in the minutes leading up to the trade deadline, crossing the country to join a contender that was seemingly turning into a sinking ship. The Giants acquired Moore to get one more arm for big games, and his season ended with a start in the National League Division Series.
Over the winter, Moore finally caught his breath. He has spent this spring getting to know all the people behind the scenes in the organization, and he smiled Tuesday when he explained that being a Giant now simply “rolls off my tongue easier.”
For the people Moore has met this spring, the “he’s a Giant” day probably came August 25. That was the night Moore came an out away from no-hitting the Dodgers. If you throw a no-hitter at any point of the season, it’ll go down in the history books. If you’re a Giant and you do it at Dodger Stadium, well, that’s a shade or two better, and Moore knows it.
“It was nice being injected into that (rivalry), having watched their battles together,” he said. “It’s probably similar to when I was in Tampa. We didn’t really get along with the Red Sox. There’s a little something extra there.”
The Giants hope Moore can provide that little something extra in 2017, when they’ll look to end the Dodgers’ four-year run atop the division. The early returns were curiously mixed. Moore followed that first start against the Dodgers by giving up six runs in one inning of work on Sept. 21 at Dodger Stadium. Two starts later, he gave up just one run over eight innings in a third matchup.
“That was tough,” he said of the middle start. “That’ll happen, I suppose. That’s what they say, right?”
The Dodgers struggled against left-handers last season and they still lean heavily that way. But their leadoff batter Tuesday, Logan Forsythe, could help make a difference, and Moore said the offseason addition was a good one. He praised his former teammate for his ability to fit into a clubhouse, and the Giants saw the on-field ability when the second baseman picked up two singles in three at-bats, raising his spring average to .462.
Forsythe, who hit 20 homers for the Rays last season, will make the rivalry games a bit more difficult for Giants left-handers, but Moore didn’t take anything away from Tuesday’s matchups with his teammate of three seasons. He said he has not yet reached the point of the spring where he hides tendencies from division rivals. He’s out there getting his work in, and Tuesday’s results showed he’s on the right track. In three scoreless innings, Moore gave up three hits and struck out five.
“Let’s just make sure I’m healthy and in a good place heading into the season,” he said. “From there, I think we all like our chances.”