Another week, another up and down performance from the Tampa Bay Rays.
A 3-4 West Coast road trip places the team at five games back in the AL East. Incredibly, the Rays are still in the thick of things for the division, since their divisional opponents refuse to take any sort of commanding lead in the race.
SP David Price
(1W, CG, 12 SO, 0 BB, 1 ER against Mariners on 5/13)
DP didn't have it all together on Sunday versus the Angles, but his performance against the Seattle Mariners earlier in the week is the kind of dominant pitching the Rays needed from their ace.
Price was efficient and had impeccable control over his pitches, hitting the corners and tallying 12 strikeouts without a single walk. Thanks to a 9th-inning rally against former Rays closer Fernando Rodney, Price was given the opportunity for the complete game win and he capitalized on it.
Not to mention, he got to milk a cow before the game on Saturday.
SP Jake Odorizzi
(1 W, 6.0 IP, 1 hit allowed, 6 SO)
It was Jake Odorizzi's best start of the season this past Wednesday against the Mariners. He stayed strong and avoided trouble during his second time through the lineup, which has been his demise so far this season (.125 BA 1st time through lineup; .383 BA second time).
The Mariners didn't pick up their first hit until the bottom of the sixth inning and two outs. Personally, I was impressed by Odorizzi in his response to the hit. Often times, you can sense a bit of a let down by the pitcher after surrendering that first hit, which can lead to a quick rally, but he shut the door on the Mariners with a quick strikeout of the next hitter.
A tangible, positive moment like this outing for Odorizzi hopefully is the point where things turn around for him. He's striking out a lot of batters (18 SO and 4 BB in last two stars) and seems to have improved his approached later in games.
OF Kevin Kiermaier
(1st career hit and home run in weekend series against Angels)
What a weekend for the Rays' young center fielder! An unfortunate move to the bereavement list for Desmond Jennings opened the door for Kiermaier to see some more time with the big league club for a few days.
It's hard to quantify which highlight was Kiermaier's best over the weekend. In just two games, he recorded his first Major League hit, his first home run and a web-gem catch against the wall in center field.
More than likely, Kiermaier will be the odd-man-out when Alex Cobb returns on Thursday, but frankly he's just as deserving of a spot on the team as a guy like Logan Forsythe. It remains to be seen if he'll stay through the week, but there's no doubt that Kiermaier has earned at least the extra few days with the Rays.