Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Odorizzi aims to limit pitch count early

Jake Odorizzi starts tonight for the Rays after a Thursday outing in Boston in which he threw 37 pitches during a five-run first inning.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jake Odorizzi starts tonight for the Rays after a Thursday outing in Boston in which he threw 37 pitches during a five-run first inning.

ST. PETERSBURG — Like fellow RHP Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi entered this homestand seeking his first victory of 2016. What he's not seeking is any significant alteration in his mechanics.

Odorizzi, who allowed five runs off six hits in a 37-pitch first inning in Thursday's surreal 12-8 win at Boston, said he feels good about the quality of his pitches. It's the quantity he needs to lessen, ideally starting tonight.

"I think if I can get through the first couple of innings with a lower pitch count, I think that's really just gonna catapult me throughout the rest of the season and get things going on the right track," said Odorizzi, who allowed four second-inning runs at Baltimore in a 5-3 loss April 10.

"But other than that, I've been pleased with the way everything's coming out. Not the results two of the times, but how everything feels, I'm not gonna change anything from there."

PEARCE A 'RIGHT' FIT? For now, Kevin Cash sounds as if he remains betrothed to the Steve Pearce-Logan Morrison platoon system at first base. But that's not to suggest the second-year Rays manager is eternally wedded to the idea.

With Morrison's left-handed bat mired in a horrific slump (4-for-50) to start his Rays career, Cash started Pearce — a righty — against Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman on Monday. Pearce finished 1-for-3, improving his average to .263.

Cash indicated Pearce's offense and versatility (he already has played first, second and third this season) likely will prompt him to periodically finesse the Lakeland native in against right-handers. He even mentioned that had been the idea at the season's outset.

"Not making an excuse, but the off days kind of put a wrinkle in things, and then we had the rainout (April 9 in Baltimore)," Cash said. "Pearce is a big part of our lineup, Logan Morrison is a big part of our lineup … it's on me to kind of balance that a little bit."

TAKING THE FIFTH, AND FAST: RF Steven Souza Jr. and DH Corey Dickerson, both of whom belted their fifth home runs in Sunday's 8-1 win against the Yankees, needed only 18 games to do so. It's the fastest any Rays player has hit five homers since 2009, when Evan Longoria got his fifth in Game 9 and Carlos Peña tied him in Game 10. Souza also was the first Ray to five homers last season, though he needed 31 games.

RETURN OF RICKARD: Former Rays farmhand Joey Rickard, taken by the Orioles in the 2015 Rule 5 draft, was 0-for-4 in his Tropicana Field debut Monday. Rickard, who went 3-for-5 on Wednesday and Thursday against the Blue Jays, became only the third Orioles rookie in the past 20 seasons with at least three hits in two straight games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

ODDS AND ENDS: Monday's victory was the Rays' first when scoring two or fewer runs since a 2-1 win at Oakland on Aug. 21, 2015. … Since the start of last season, 63.3 percent (19 of 30) of C Curt Casali's hits have gone for extra bases. Casali's two-out RBI double in the fifth inning scored Souza from first. … Souza is batting .321 (9-for-28) over his past six games following an 0-for-11 funk … Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will make his "Twitter Tuesday" debut today at 2:15, fielding questions from fans at @RaysBaseball.

Rays' Odorizzi aims to limit pitch count early 04/25/16 [Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2016 11:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

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

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.