Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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

Jake Odorizzi, Rays roughed up by Royals

04/09/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  2. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener


    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    The University of South Florida Bulls take a moment on the field just prior to their game against Tulane in the American Athletic Conference Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Clearwater.
  3. NFL rewards Tampa Bay's track record, preparation with another Super Bowl


    Tampa Bay got lucky on Tuesday.

    We are getting a Super Bowl. We are getting a Super Bowl that we weren't supposed to get. We're getting a Super Bowl that we once were told we wouldn't get.

    Then came good luck.

     Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer (left) and son Edward Glazer celebrate the Bucs win and their upcoming trip to San Diego and the Super Bowl.  

[Bill Serne | Times]
  4. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Erasmo Ramirez #30 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Wilson Ramos feeling good and confident, eyeing late June return to Rays


    Sitting on the bench in the Rays dugout in his full catcher's gear, Wilson Ramos talked excitedly Tuesday about the progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and the potential to be back in the major leagues by this time next month.

    "I feel like a player right now,'' Ramos said.

    Wilson Ramos is aiming to be back with the Rays by this time next month.