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May 15, 2014

What You Need to Know

Odorizzi Blows Away the M's

by Nick Bacarella, Morris Greenberg and Chris Mosch


The Wednesday Takeaway
Entering last Friday’s start against the Indians, Jake Odorizzi owned a 6.83 ERA and 1.80 WHIP, and had made it out of the fifth inning in just three of his six starts. The Tampa Bay right-hander held the Indians scoreless during that outing and racked up 11 punchouts, but lasted just five innings and promptly watched his bullpen squander the lead. On Wednesday, Odorizzi carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and reminded Rays fans that he was more than just a throw-in that the club got in the James Shields-Wil Myers trade.

Odorizzi’s fastball worked particularly well against the Mariners, as the pitch generated 13 swinging strikes, nearly doubling his previous career high of seven (which came in his last start against Cleveland). After the game he told reporters, “It felt good coming out. The hitters tell you what your stuff is like. They didn't put any hard contact on it, so we kept going to it. Kept bringing it up higher and higher in the zone to see if they kept swinging at it, and a lot of them did.”

Odorizzi’s comments clearly reflect the results on his Brooks Baseball chart above, as you can see numerous swinging strikes (yellow) in the upper half of the zone and up in the hitter’s eyes.

Another trend that continued from last week’s start was Odorizzi’s effort to incorporate his slow, 12-6 curveball more regularly. After using just 25 total curveballs over his first six starts, Odorizzi went to his hook 16 times for the second straight outing, on Wednesday. Odorizzi didn’t have command of the pitch—he only generated six strikes with it—but it has historically been his best weapon against lefties, who have a career .880 OPS against Odorizzi.

The 24-year-old used 75 pitches to render the Mariners hitless through five innings, and retired the first two batters in the sixth, before James Jones lined an opposite-field liner for the home team’s first hit of the game. That was the only hit Odorizzi surrendered, as he departed with a 2-0 lead for the second straight start, throwing six innings and 95 pitches with seven strikeouts and two walks. This time, the Tampa Bay bullpen had Odorizzi’s back, as Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, and Grant Balfour combined to allow just two baserunners over the final three innings and close out the 2-0 win.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (05/15)
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