Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Jake Odorizzi, Rays roughed up by Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A baseball season, especially in its early stages, is best viewed with perspective.

And after Wednesday's 7-3 loss to the Royals dropped the Rays to 5-5 as they got to their first off day, several insisted the mediocre start was actually a positive sign.

"I like where we're at," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "The won-loss record and the batting average of some guys may not say that, but I think overall we're in a pretty good spot."

Though the starting pitching has been a bit uneven, with Jake Odorizzi posting an ugly line Wednesday in allowing seven runs and 10 hits in five innings and the injury to Matt Moore troubling, the heftier concern is an offense defined by marked inconsistency.

Runs have come in bunches, as they're scoring, on average, in only two of nine innings. Thus they've had uneven results: 30 runs in the five wins, hitting .291 with runners in scoring position; and seven in the losses, with a .133 mark. Wednesday was the sixth time they went to the ninth with one or no runs. The team average overall is .237.

Manager Joe Maddon insists they're better upon closer examination than it has looked.

"When you hit the ball hard it eventually comes back to you," he said. "We've been a little unlucky with placement. But I don't want our guys to change anything. I don't want them to think anything's wrong, because it's not. … A lot of our outs have been hard outs. We're working good at-bats for the most part. We're staying in our strike zones, not chasing. All the indicators are good. We've had some bad moments in regard to scoring runs."

Odorizzi's performance was reviewed similarly. He posted three zeroes in his return to Kauffman Stadium, where he made his big-league debut for the Royals in September 2012, then gave up two in the fourth and five in the rough fifth, capped by a two-out, three-run homer by Alex Gordon.

Maddon said the stat line was deceiving. "I'm serious," he said. "Break the game down, play back the tape and look at what happened — he pitched really well. Actually he was a little bit unfortunate."

Odorizzi, whose role is increased with Moore's injury, had a similar view, noting that several hits came on ground balls that, while not sharp, were well-placed in getting through the infield. And Gordon's home run was a "pop-up" that was carried by a wind Maddon referred to as "forces of nature."

"It's more frustrating with the results, but process-wise I did what I needed to do," Odorizzi said. "Pitches were made and I got ground balls. Couldn't ask for anything more than that. Things didn't go our way (Wednesday), and I got beat."

In other words, 5-5 isn't half bad.

"Sometimes people will look at a moment like this, and that's why I think it's really important to analyze exactly what's going on," Maddon said. "We're not playing badly. We're having good at-bats, making hard contact. Our pitchers are making some good pitches. (Wednesday) the ground balls went through the infield. That happens, that's part of the game. You've just got to stay with it."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
Steven Souza trade: Instant reaction to the Rays latest deal

Steven Souza trade: Instant reaction to the Rays latest deal

The Rays traded right fielder Steven Souza, Jr., their 2017 team MVP, to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in a three-team deal for Arizona's No. 2 prospect, lefty Anthony Banda, Yankees infield prospect Nick Solak and two players to be named...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays trade team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in three-team deal that nets prospects

Rays trade team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in three-team deal that nets prospects

The Rays continued the tear down of their current team to build for the future, trading 2017 team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in a three team deal with the Diamondbacks and Yankees that brought them advanced level prospects.In the deal, the Rays got 2B Nick...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Steven Souza Jr. on Rays’ roster moves: ‘This is not a shocker’

Steven Souza Jr. on Rays’ roster moves: ‘This is not a shocker’

PORT CHARLOTTE — RF Steven Souza Jr. returned to camp Tuesday after missing four days while he went home to Seattle to attend to a family matter.When asked if everything was okay, Souza said, "Right now. We'll just leave it at that."S...
Updated: 2 hours ago
After whirlwind few days, C.J. Cron joins Rays

After whirlwind few days, C.J. Cron joins Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE – C.J. Cron knew he was spending Tuesday night in a Punta Gorda hotel. Beyond that, he knew little of his future with the Rays."I haven't talked to anybody about anything really," Cron said.The right-handed hitting first baseman ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Who is new Rays 1B/DH C.J. Cron? 10 things to know

Who is new Rays 1B/DH C.J. Cron? 10 things to know

Acquired Saturday night from the Angels (for a player to be named – a minor-leaguer, and not a top prospect), 1B/DH C.J. Cron is expected to join the Rays today in Port Charlotte.Here are 10 things to know about him:1. Full name: Christopher Jo...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

PORT CHARLOTTE — Tropicana Field is getting new turf — again.Shaw Sports will replace the surface installed last spring in a mutual decision with the Rays that it did not look as good — from the stands or on TV — as expected.T...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Longtime fan Dick Vitale sounds off on Rays’ latest roster moves

Longtime fan Dick Vitale sounds off on Rays’ latest roster moves

Longtime and extremely popular ESPN college basketball announcer Dick Vitale is arguably the Rays' most prominent fan.The Lakewood Ranch resident has season tickets adjacent to the visitors' dugout at Tropicana Field and is often seen at Rays games.A...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

The name of the Rays’ new blog, "The Ray Tank’’, inadvertently took on new meaning for fans following the departures of Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson this past weekend.Rick Stroud has the latest from Port Charlotte in his latest podcast, as Kevin...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Rays fans upset about the team's recent moves found the perfect target for their ridicule Monday when the team announced the name of its new blog.The Ray Tank.Announcing... The Ray Tank!Our new blog will have behind-the-scenes stories, photos, and mo...
Updated: 5 hours ago
As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

PORT CHARLOTTE — The list of those no longer with the team was going to be noteworthy no matter what Monday as the holdovers, newcomers and wannabes gathered for the first full-squad workout in Camp Dis-A-Ray.Then even before Rays manager Kevin...
Published: 02/19/18