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Rays Game MVP Recap: Week 5

The race tightens

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Week 5 (which we are defining, with some poetic license, as 9 days) was packed with wins as the Rays continued to bump their heads against that glass ceiling of .500 baseball. Let’s see who you voted for as MVP in those games.

The Polls

I thought this could have been the first instance where someone would be awarded a game ball for exceptional defense, but offense prevailed. If Souza’s multiple 5-star Statcast catches weren’t good enough for an all-defense game ball, I don’t know if we will ever see one. That’s okay, as long as someone on our side wins, that’s all that matters.

This was probably the closest vote we’ve had yet, with Odorizzi’s 5 IP of 1 run ball in his return just barely nosing out Beckham for his first game ball. Because there weren’t any overwhelmingly outstanding performances, no doubt, you all spread your votes between several players. I’ll take 5 innings of 1 run ball in the first outing of a pitcher returning from injury every time.

I don’t think there was ever really a question on this one. 6 scoreless innings isn’t going to lose very often. Cobb just keeps going out there and getting results despite not having the movement on the pitch that made him a great starter in his splitter anymore. He’s figuring out how to get major league hitters out without it and reinventing himself in front of our eyes. There is an argument to make that he’s getting lucky and batters will adjust, but as of now he’s getting results and it’s awesome to watch.

This one was so much a tale of two players taking the game into their own hands that I just didn’t even add any other options. Tim Beckham and Matt Andriese had themselves a day to remember. Didn’t I just say guys that go 6 scoreless don’t lose very often? Welp, Andriese went an inning further and still lost to the Bexxx. I considered opening up the option of half game balls for this one, but have you ever tried to cut a baseball in half? It’s not easy. Maybe one of the balls Bexxx ripped the cover off of would be easier to try on.

Pretty sure this was the most lopsided vote we’ve had yet. His best performance of the year by multiple metrics, Jake Odorizzi took over this poll like he took over the game. Quality starts take so much pressure off the bullpen and with Odorizzi back it seems like those quality starts are coming more and more often. When you have Archer, Odorizzi, Cobb and Andriese consistently going 6+ innings, that fixes a lot of problems. The good bullpen arms stay fresh, and the lower leverage arms aren’t needed as often. Good starters can make an average bullpen look even better.

The Results

Odorizzi came back from injury with a vengeance and added 2 game balls to his collection, while Logan Morrison, Alex Cobb and Tim Beckham each add one to their totals as well. Here is the updated list.

  1. Austin Pruitt - 3
  2. Alex Cobb - 2
  3. Logan Morrison - 2
  4. Jake Odorizzi - 2
  5. Steven Souza Jr. - 2
  6. Matt Andriese - 1
  7. Chris Archer - 1
  8. Tim Beckham - 1
  9. Alex Colome - 1
  10. Mallex Smith - 1

So Austin Pruitt still leads all Rays through week 5 with 3 game balls. He’s been a polarizing player. The Rays tend to win and lose when Austin Pruitt wins and loses. Will that trend continue? If so, will that continue to result in him raking in game balls? And when will Evan Longoria and Corey Dickerson get on the board?

Thanks again to everyone that voted. If you want to get involved, hop on twitter, follow @draysbay and look for polls after every Rays win.