ST. PETERSBURG, FL--Jake Odorizzi, the centerpiece of a 2012 blockbuster trade with the Kansas City Royals, will start against former Ray James Shields, the pitcher for whom he was dealt. Odorizzi (4-7, 4,18) has lackluster traditional numbers but his peripherals have been at an all-time best, and appears to be just the sort of perennial All-Star that the Rays were expecting when they acquired him. When asked about tonight's matchup, Odorizzi said:
This is absolutely the biggest game I've ever pitched in. I'm so blessed to be here with this organization pitching in meaningful games in July. I want you all to know that I'm taking tonight's game very seriously, as I am fully aware of who will be on the mound when I'm not on it. You can count on me to carry this team to victory.
God what a great guy. Jake (he asked us to call him Jake) then set down the box he had been carrying throughout the interview and started handing out caramel-colored puppies with candy-cane collars to each reporter. In this reporter's eyes, it's safe to say the he is the one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game, and certainly the greatest human being alive today.