Rays vs. Orioles, game two recap: Jake Odorizzi battled, but the Orioles blasted the 'pen

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

For one day at least, the Rays are a .500 team.

Take comfort in the fact that a bad outing from Jake Odorizzi now means one run over five innings. That was the only redeeming aspect of this game.

Odor really didn't have his good stuff today. He threw his secondary pitches very infrequently, and when he did throw them, they were hit. Out of Odorizzi's 106 pitches, only seven were splitters, five of those were put in play (data from Brooks Baseball). He threw twelve sliders and recorded no whiffs. He threw his big, slow curve -- the pitch that fueled his midseason breakout -- only twice. Probably this had something to do with the nasty broken nail on the middle finger of his throwing hand. In the fifth inning, the broadcast treated us to a nice closeup of the middle finger, and the always-alert Todd Kalas pointed out that Odorizzi had been looking at his hand throughout the game.

Odor was bailed out by the excellence of his fastball. He threw the heater 85 times, recording 12 whiffs. A 14% swinging strike rate is very good, and especially good for a fastball. Over his five innings of work, he gave up six hits and four walks, so his six strikeouts were instrumental in getting him out of the jams (giving up warning track fly-outs rather than home runs also helped).

Brian Anderson was consistently amazed at Odorizzi's ability to pump low-90s fastballs past one Baltimore hitter after another. I've said it before, but it bears repeating that one thing Odor has going for him is vertical movement. Average movement is 7-10 inches. This is Odorizzi:


via pitchfx.texasleaguers.com

Now to the bad part (the details of the game).

In the top of the second inning, James Loney grabbed hold of a middle-in fastball and pulled it over the right-field wall to take the lead. In the bottom of the inning, though, J.J. Hardy singled with a line drive to right field. David Lough then grounded just far enough to the left of Evan Longoria to earn an infield single off the tip of his glove. Nick Hundley singled to tie the game.

It held that way until Juan Carlos Oviedo replaced Odorizzi. The first batter he faced, Hundley, took his second pitch (a grooved fastball) out to left. Next inning, with Joel Peralta pitching, Adam Jones doubled and Nelson Cruz knocked his twenty-fifth home run of the season to remain tied for the league lead.

The Rays offense, as has often been the case this season, had no answer.

Some other notes:

  • Kevin Kiermaier bunted twice. His first time up he bunted down the third base line but Manny Machado was playing in and threw him out comfortably. That wasn't a smart play. The second time, Kiermaier bunted down the first base line. Initially he was called out, but on a replay the call was reversed and he was given the hit.
  • Longoria didn't have a bad day, hitting three singles.
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