David Moraga

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David Michael Moraga

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Biographical Information[edit]

David Moraga had one of the most unsuccessful stints any pitcher has ever had in the majors in 2000: Moraga posted a 40.50 ERA in four games in the big leagues. In 2 2/3 innings, he allowed 10 hits, walked two and hit a batter. In total, he allowed 12 earned runs.

He was called up by the Montreal Expos in mid-June, 2000, even though he was not considered a top prospect - he had been a 30th round pick in the 1993 amateur draft - because they had very little left in terms of pitching prospects in their minor league system while facing a rash of injuries in the majors. He was 7-3, 3.41 with the AA Harrisburg Senators at the time, having pitched exclusively as a starter. In his first game with the Expos, against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 11th, he allowed a single to the first batter he faced, Carlos Delgado, then threw a wild pitch to the next batter, Brad Fullmer, before eventually walking him. He left the game without ever getting anyone out, being replaced by Felipe Lira. All the batters Moraga allowed on base were eventually brought home on a home run by Tony Batista, the first batter Lira faced after replacing Moraga. His second appearance, the next day against the Milwaukee Brewers, was no better. He allowed a double to Raul Casanova and then a single to Santiago Perez before recording the first out of his career: a James Mouton strikeout. He then proceeded to allow a double to Ron Belliard scoring Casanova and Perez, before inducing a Marquis Grissom pop up. Two days later in his third game, he allowed a double to Jeromy Burnitz, the first batter he faced. Geoff Jenkins reached first on a fielder's choice. Charlie Hayes hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Burnitz. Moraga finally got Tyler Houston to strike out to end the inning, though it was more of the same the next inning. Raul Casanova doubled off him and Santiago Perez walked, before he finally got Jamey Wright out on a sacrifice bunt before leaving the game. Casanova and Perez did eventually score, with Ron Belliard and Marquis Grissom hitting a sacrifice fly and a home run, respectively. The Expos had seen enough and decided to send Moraga outright to the minor leagues, but that exposed him to waivers. The Colorado Rockies picked him up, on the basis of his minor league record and not of his performance in the Show.

He was given a look by the Rockies late in the season, appearing in one game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 28th. In the final big league appearance of his career, Moraga allowed a single to the first batter he faced, opposing pitcher Armando Reynoso. Reynoso was forced out by Danny Bautista on a grounder to shortstop. Moraga hit Luis Gonzalez with a pitch, then allowed a single to Greg Colbrunn, scoring Bautista. Steve Finley hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Gonzalez, then Matt Williams singled. Jay Bell proceeded to hit a home run, before Moraga finally got Craig Counsell to ground out. In each of his four appearances, Moraga allowed a hit to the first batter he faced. Of the 15 batters that got on base while he was pitching, only three of them did not eventually score.

Moraga, along with Keith Osik, held a dubious record. Among all post-1900 Major League pitchers with at least two innings pitched under their belts, they had the highest career ERA - 40.50. The all-time record belongs to a pitcher known only as Lewis, who in 1890 pitched three innings, giving up 20 runs for a 60.00 career ERA. Their record was broken in 2009, when Paul Janish tossed two frames and posted a 49.50 ERA.

Despite an unimpressive Major League stint, Moraga was a fairly successful pitcher in the minor leagues, posting season ERAs as low as 2.80 and twice striking out over 100 batters in a season. He moved around a lot during his career, rarely spending a full season with the same team, but put up combined records of 10-8, 3.85 in 1999 and 14-7, 3.39 in 2000. The Colorado Rockies let him go after the 2001 season, and he then pitched in the independent leagues in 2002 and 2003. After a four-year break, he came back in the independent Northern League in 2008, going 9-4 but with a fat 5.96 ERA with two teams.

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