The Tampa Bay Rays have strung together a pair of wins on the heels of an 8-1 bloodletting of Joe Saunders and the Texas Rangers, Friday night. If I had to summarize the game in a sentence; Sean Rodriguez and Ryan Hanigan powered the Rays past the Rangers, while Jake Odorizzi stifled the boys from Arlington in his first start of the season.
Jake Odorizzi, bolstered by his Alex Cobb like split/change-up which he named the Thing, was impressive in his 6 IP/3 H/0 ER/3 BB/4 K 95 pitch (57 strikes) outing. Despite getting into trouble in the second and fourth innings, Odorizzi was effective in getting out of any self inflicted jams and coming out largely unscathed. He was met with a bit of luck in the fourth inning after Prince Fielder and Alex Rios reached on a couple of hard hit singles. Mitch Moreland was next, hammering a line drive to right field which should have easily scored Fielder — that is, had he not hesitated rounding third base. Fielder allowed himself to be caught in a rundown, giving the Rangers second and third with two outs, instead of second and third with one out and a run scored. Odorizzi ended the threat, and the inning, by wringing up Donnie Murphy on the Thing.
Speaking of the Thing, Odorizzi used the pitch to his advantage, throwing it 22 times (14 strikes, six whiffs) and recording six outs as result. The only Ranger who didn’t seem fooled by the pitch was Beltre, who walked twice without chasing. If anything, Jake had trouble putting hitters away when he was ahead in the count. All told however, it was a fairly impressive way to start his season.
Joe Maddon replaced James Loney with Sean Rodriguez in the lineup; a sage decision in hindsight. SeanRod drove in the first run after being hit by a pitch in the first, following with a three-run homer to left in the third, and a double to lead off the fifth inning. He also made an impressive diving grab at first base in the fifth inning, subsequently tossing the ball to Odorizzi and retiring Leonys Martin.
The right handed lineup combined to reach base 18 times on 11 hits, six walks and an HBP, setting the table for Rodriguez, Ryan Hanigan — who also hit a three-run blast on a first pitch fastball — and Wil Myers to drive in the Rays’ eight runs.
The New What Next
David Price will make his second start of the season, opposite of Nick Martinez. Prior to his complete game victory in last season’s Wildcard tiebreaker, Price was 1-7 with a 5.57 ERA in 11 starts against Texas — including the postseason. Then again, this is a different Rangers team. You can read about the match-up in our series preview.
Rays 4/5/14 Starting Lineup
- Joe Maddon’s first replay challenge was a success, overruling the original call. Wil Myers cleanly made a sliding catch in the seventh inning (seen below).
- The typically reliable Adrian Beltre made two errors Friday night.
- Five of Desmond Jennings’ six total hits have been doubles.
- Per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, X-rays on Texas LHP Joe Saunders, who left in the fourth after a Longoria liner struck his left ankle, were negative.
- Catcher Chris Gimenez has been granted free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment to Round Rock. Could the Rays/Durham be on his radar?