After a raucous Opening Day victory over the Yankees, hope sprung eternal. Logan Morrison was The Babe Reincarnate, the entire lineup looked threatening, Archer was his old self, and the AL pennant was somehow back in reach.
Then Game 2 happened. As I write this, I can hear the air being let out of the balloon that is Tropicana Field.
Tuesday night’s game wasn’t all that entertaining, so I’ll keep my recap to the point: Chase Headley can baseball and Jake Odorizzi shouldn’t buy a lottery ticket tonight.
Chase Headley Laughs at the Shift
The Yankees’ third baseman Chase Headley likely hopes teams keep playing the shift against him all season long. He’s had no problem early finding the gaping holes on the left side of the field.
After an Opening Day that saw him beat the shift twice by going to the nearly empty opposite left side of the infield, Headley did so again on Tuesday, plating the Yankees’ fifth run of the night.
He also had a solo home run in the sixth inning to straight away center, one worth the tape measurer. Odorizzi missed his spot badly, trying to put a fastball down and in on Headley, but left it middle and down, and you knew it was gone at the crack of the bat.
It was indicative of what the story would be for the Rays starter throughout the game.
Odorizzi Not Especially Sharp or Lucky
It just wasn’t Odorizzi’s night.
His cutter just didn’t, well, cut.
At the end of the night, the story is simple. Despite an overall great performance, Odorizzi had trouble with his efficiency and command in fleeting but punishing moments.
Sure, he was the hard-luck victim of some defensive miscues, none bigger than Rays’ newbie Peter Bourjos losing a popup in the roof of the Trop that would have ended a crucial inning, but instead allowing a run to score.
Overall, Odorizzi looked like the Jake we all know and love, adjusting well and working his fastball up in the zone and earning strikeouts and pop-ups in the process. Ultimately he went 107 pitches, but also allowed 7 hits.
Certainly not the way the Rays drew up Odorizzi’s first start of the year, but it’s game two, and despite a few pitches lacking bite, it felt like a much stronger performance from the Rays No. 2 starter than the box score indicates.
- After a monster opening day, LoMo was substituted for Rickie Weeks, Jr. at first, an expected platoon vs LHP CC Sabathia. Weeks went 0-for-5, though he only missed a home run by mere feet in the first inning. He also had a nice scoop on a throw to first base, but failed to produce at the plate like the Rays needed.
- LoMo pinch hit for Tim Beckham in the eighth with two outs and the bases loaded. He grounded out to first to leave them that way.
- Daniel Robertson also made his debut this evening, showing good hustle and covering short in the ninth inning, making a great stab on a bullet line drive off of the bat of Gary Sanchez. He was the final out of the game, and sent his bat into the stands on the final swing.
- Evan Longoria loves batting against CC Sabathia, adding 1 hit and 1 BB tonight.
- Derek Norris looked completely lost at the plate tonight. He swung at just about anything that looked remotely like a baseball. Not that we necessarily picked him up for his bat, but we need more than that out of an everyday catcher. Then again, with the Rays, it was also the standard performance expected out of the catcher’s spot.
- There will be some concern over the Rays’ ability to hit against LHPs, and rightfully so. CC Sabathia wasn’t exactly dominant on Tuesday night, but stymied everyone not named Longoria in the Rays’ lineup.
- Jumbo Diaz made his Rays debut, which was fun. On first blush, he’s a good addition to the bullpen with plus stuff. Who knew! Tommy Hunter also made his first Rays appearance, and both should be covered by the site tomorrow, so stay tuned.
- Two down, 160 to go!
“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”