Despite leading in every game of this series the Rays managed just one victory. Tonight the offense struck early, but not often, and the young fifth-now-third starter struggled once again.
Jake Odorizzi, facing the highest scoring team in baseball, had another rough outing, failing to go at least five innings for the second straight start. Four of the eight hits he allowed came with two outs, and five with two strikes, including a two-run homer and a run scoring double. His bugaboo has always been the inability to put away hitters with two strikes and that was evident tonight.
He also wasn't able to effectively use his split-change, the most important pitch he has. He threw it 23 times but recorded just 12 strikes and constantly missed down and outside of the zone. Compare that with his first, and best, start of the season against Texas where he threw it 31 times for a 71% strike rate. If he's able to use that pitch effectively he'll have success. If not, the fastball and slider won't be enough to get him by as a starter in the long term.
Jake McGee allowed his second and third earned runs of the season in relief. He also hadn't walked anyone in 10 innings of work, yet gave out three free passes tonight.
The offense got out to an early lead thanks to a leadoff double by Ben Zobrist, who would score on an error by pitcher Andre Rienzo in the very next at bat. Desmond Jennings, now at second base thanks to the error, came around to score on a sac fly to deeeeep center by Matt Joyce, narrowly missing a home run. They'd pick up another run in the fourth on a David DeJesus double, but they'd get just four base runners the rest of the night.
The bipolar-ness of the Rays offense is strange when just looking at the raw slash lines. Zobrist has a .407 on base percentage, Evan Longoria is hitting like he usually does, Jennings is getting on base at a .390 clip, Joyce is crushing everything in sight, James Loney is hitting .306/.381/.436, and Ryan Hanigan is slugging .510*. Sure, Wil Myers hasn't hit as well as expected yet, and David DeJesus had a prolonged slump, but it's a surprise the team hasn't scored more runs as a whole.
*All figures are going into tonight's game