Jake Odorizzi threw no-hit ball for 6-1/3 innings on Tuesday night, while Lucas Duda homered and drove in both of Tampa Bay’s runs. When all was said and done, the Rays held on to a slim lead against Minnesota, defeating the Twins 2–1. Tampa Bay now has won the first two games of their series with the AL Wildcard leaders, and end the night two-games back with 22 left to play.
Odorizzi retired the first 12 batters in order, thanks to a lively cut fastball that kept Minnesota’s batters off-balance for much of the night. The right-hander worked the four quadrants of the zone very effectively, especially up in the zone (if not above it), coaxing a fair number of swings and misses, as well as weak fly-ball outs that — surprising to most — stayed inside the park. When he didn’t throw his cutter, he leaned on a plus curveball which he used to get ahead of lefties. Minnesota didn’t get its first baserunner until the fifth inning, when Eddie Rosario led off the frame with a walk, although he was quickly erased on a 6-4-3 double play.
The Twins didn’t collect their first hit until the seventh inning after Joe Mauer slapped a sharp grounder up the middle that ricocheted off of second-base and high up into the air. Adeiny Hechavarria was able to field the ball barehanded, however, he couldn’t couldn’t throw out the hustling Mauer. Odorizzi struck out the next hitter, then was pulled in favor of LOOGY Dan Jennings afterward. He struck out seven.
Bartolo Colon allowed just two earned runs while scattering five hits over 6-2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one.
Duda broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run in the fourth inning — his 27th of the season.
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB_) September 6, 2017
Duda plated the second run in the bottom of the sixth, driving in Evan Longoria on a double off the right-field wall.
Moments That Mattered
— With runners on the corners in the sixth inning, reliever Steve Cishek, who took the mound in relief of Jennings, was able to get Byron Buxton to fly out to centerfield to end the threat. Cishek has not allowed a run in 17 appearances since joining the Rays (18 IP).
— Robbie Grossman, in his first game since being activated from the disabled list, led off the ninth inning against Alex Colome with a solo homer to right field, pulling the Twins within a run. Colome walked Mauer before he allowed a single by Polanco to put runners on the corners with just one out. The right-hander came back to coax a 6-3 double play to end the game.
La Pantera was all over this one to end the game. 🐾 pic.twitter.com/snCgPl21yP
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 6, 2017
If I may, Colome made things a little too interesting, and he owes Hechavarria at least a beer.
The New What Next
The Rays look to sweep Minnesota in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon with Blake Snell (3-6, 4.02 ERA, 4.37 FIP) on the mound. He will be opposed by 6′ 10″ right-hander Aaron Slegers (0-0, 2.84 ERA, 5.19 FIP).
Snell pitched well in his last start, tossing 6-2/3 innings of one-run ball on an efficient 85 pitches. At times he worked ahead of batters, and at others he fell behind. However, he did a good job to battle and get back into those at-bats. Snell took advantage of an aggressive White Sox lineup, although he wasn’t dominant per se. In all fairness, the southpaw was helped in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings by ground ball double plays — each of which was started by Adeiny Hechavarria.
Slegers will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to make his second big league start. The right-hander struck out 10 batters in each of his last two outings in the Minors.
The scouting report on Slegers (per Puckett’s Pond):
Fastball (55) – Slegers will work typically around the 90 MPH mark with his fastball, usually working 90-92, touching 94. What makes his fastball effective is the plane he gets from his 6’10” height and the tremendous late vertical movement he gets on the pitch, with a bit of arm side sink. When he “dips” to a traditional 3/4 arm slot, he can get a touch of cut on his fastball as it moves in on lefty hitters.
Change Up (50) – Slegers does not get the same sort of movement on his change as he does on his fastball, which does make the pitch easier to distinguish, but he has excellent arm deception on the pitch. If he struggles in location on a pitch, it seems as if this is the pitch he struggles most on, however, and the more “straight” movement on the pitch allows the ball to get driven hard.
Slider (45) – Many guys get a “sweeping” slider from a tall angle, but Slegers typically has more of a slurvy slider that has a short horizontal break as well as vertical break. While the pitch would be an excellent ground ball pitch in the lower third of the zone, he seems to get better break on the pitch when he works the ball roughly thigh-high to belt-high. Slegers also can get more of a sweeping movement to lefties by “dipping” to a traditional 3/4 arm slot. The fact that the pitch’s movement is fairly gradual and not exceptionally sharp is what keeps the pitch from rating higher.
Rays 8/6/17 Starting Lineup
Souza Jr. RF
— According to Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), the Rays are making contingency plans as Hurricane Irma approaches. As we noted on Tuesday, the team pushed their departure to Boston back from Wednesday until Thursday afternoon to allow more time for players and traveling staff to get their families situated or headed out of town.
They also will pack for extra days in case they can’t fly back into TIA as planned on Sunday night and/or if next week’s series against the New York needs to be relocated from Tropicana Field.
Rays executives expect to talk extensively today with Major League Baseball officials about that scenario, with a decision expected by Friday.
The most logical option would be to play the games at Yankee Stadium as the home team, but while convenient, that would present a competitive disadvantage. The Rays visit Yankee Stadium Sept. 26-28, but it’s unlikely they would seek to swap series given the revenue difference.
Another option would be to play at a neutral site, as the Astros and Rangers did at the Trop last week due to Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston. Available options in the northeast could include the Mets’ Citi Field and the Orioles’ Camden Yards.