The last time he faced the Yankees, Jake Odorizzi pitched pretty well, but was done in by a number of mistakes, all of which the Yankees lineup seemed to capitalize on. In the first inning, this game had much of the same feel, as Odorizzi produced two popups and then immediately gave up a home run to Alex Rodriguez. That's unfair to A-Rod, though, as there was nothing wrong with the pitch he hit. It was located up and away, a location the Rays go to often against same-handed hitters, but A-Rod's swing and the easy line drive home run to right-center was just better. It was a "I'm-one-of-the-best-hitters-ever-and-I-can-still-catch-up-to-your-sorry-93-mph-excuse-for-a-fastball" swing. That easy swat dripped with scorn.
Luckily for the Rays, runs count the same with or without the scorn, and they pulled it back in the bottom of the inning. John Jaso lead off and singled into left. Grady Sizemore also flared a hit into left, and Jaso, always an aggressive baserunner, tried to go first to third. He was thrown out (barely), and likely made some Rays fans grimace when he slid head first. I thought he wasn't doing that anymore. Jaso was unhurt, but it was a shame he ran into the out, because both Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe singled, scoring Sizemore.
In the second inning, Mikie Mahtook created a run all on his own. First he turned on an inside curve and pulled it down the third base line. Chase Headley got a glove on the grounder but couldn't control it, and it bounced into left field. Mahtook hustled into second for a double. Then he promptly stole third, and everything was off for the Yankees. Adam Warren's delivery was oddly slow, giving Mahtook a good jump. Then there was no one at third for catcher Brian McCann to throw to, forcing him to pause. When McCann did let the throw go, he rushed it and threw it into the dirt, and Headley couldn't handle the scoop, allowing Mahtook to come home. McCann could be seen muttering "That's horseshit" after the play.
In the top of the fourth inning, Odorizzi, perhaps remembering the earlier swing, danced around Rodriguez, eventually walking him on six pitches. He got the next two outs, but was made to pay when Greg Bird homered after a ten pitch at bat. I question the pitch selection. After two high fastballs taken for balls, Bird swung through the next two fastballs on the upper-outside corner. Then Odorizzi threw the same pitch four times (and missed high with one fastball), all of which were fouled. The next fastball was mostly in the same spot, but a bit more over the plate, and it went for the homer. An inside fastball or something offspeed might have done wonders.
The Rays could have curled up and lost at this point, but they did not. A Forsythe single was cashed in with a Nick Franklin homer when Franklin connected with a hanging high changeup. Singles by James Loney and Mikie Mahtook extended the lead, and Brandon Gomes got his first career major league save (although the tying run did come to the plate following Loney's error).
Some other notes:
- Franklin was only in the game to hit his homer because Asdrubal Cabrera left with a knee strain. Cabrera is day-to-day.
- It was a poor day for the Rays infield defense, with both Franklin and James Loney getting eaten up by grounders for errors. Franklin's error came immediately after he entered the game.
- It was a good day for the Rays outfield defense, with both Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr. making highlight catches.
- I know no politics, yadda yadda yadda, but uh, I'm with Kharflock on this one. Saying that the problem with big market-teams and their fans is leftist politics is . . . ironic.
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