The Tampa Bay Rays won in walk-off fashion Saturday, as Allan Dykstra capped a three-run ninth with a two-run homer to right in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. Jake Odorizzi was impressive Saturday, becoming the first Ray to work into the sixth inning of a Grapefruit League game. It should be noted, Tampa Bay took the Knutson Cup from the Twins, Thursday.
Juan Francisco put the Rays on the board with a massive opposite field blast in the fifth inning, however, the Twins pulled ahead with the lead in the sixth. Down by one in the ninth, Kevin Kiermaier doubled to start the inning, and David DeJesus walked. The Twins were unable to complete a double play on a Corey Brown grounder, and Kiermaier scored to tie the game at two on a throwing error on the play. After a fly out, Dykstra followed with his first homer of the spring for the victory.
The real story of the game was Odorizzi’s impressive 5-2/3 inning outing.* The presumed number two starter** allowed two runs on five hits while striking out four in an efficient 69 pitch (53 strikes, 77% K/BB) outing. Odorizzi was perfect against the front 10 batters before he gave up a bloop single in the fourth. However, he came back to retire the next six batters, including a stretch that featured back-to-back-to-back strikeouts.
Jake ultimately gave up both runs on four hits in the sixth, when it seemed apparent that he was fatigued — something that’s to be expected when you factor in the heat and humidity, compounded with the fact that he isn’t fully stretched out. Odorizzi’s fastball velocity dropped from 93 mph to 90 by game’s end.
Following his outing, Odorizzi was particularly proud of the work he put into throwing first pitch curve balls, telling reporters,
I think it was a strike overtime I threw it, so the work the other (during an intrasquad game) day paid off.
You can hear his post-game interview (courtesy of Rays Radio) below:
Brandon Gomes also had a good day on the mound, finishing off the seventh inning, and working one out into the ninth; striking out three in a pair of one-hit innings.
Manager Kevin Cash was pleased with the overall effort:
The New What Next
Everett Teaford will start Sunday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays. The LHP is in the hunt to earn one of the three remaining slots in the starting rotation. Also in the competition and scheduled to pitch is fellow lefty Mike Montgomery.
Rays 3/22/15 Starting Lineup
- Drew Smyly threw 20 pitches off a mound on Saturday, reporting that all went well.
Felt greatRight direction for sure. Just keep going day by day. Smyly continued, ‘my catch game has been going great. So I was ready to get on the mound.’
Focusing on fastballs, Smyly noted that he did not feel restricted,
No, today was a good day. Threw 20 good pitches off the mound. Probably not 100 percent, but I don’t think anybody’s bullpen is 100 percent.
He is expected to throw another bullpen session Monday.
- “The Rays starting pitching depth has taken yet another hit as LHP , slated for Triple A, is sidelined with a mid-back muscle strain and likely won’t be ready to start the season, writes Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times).” “Romero would have been among the first options if the Rays had additional injury issues.”
*That’s a rather awkward turn of phrase, innit?
**While Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly mends, that is.