ST. PETERSBURG — It's pretty safe to say that Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi takes the mound tonight having pitched better than his numbers.
Especially the number under W — 0 — as he doesn't have a win despite allowing two runs or fewer in five of his seven starts and posting a 3.10 ERA that ranks in the American League's top 20.
Through a combination of circumstances, Odorizzi is winless through seven starts, one shy of RHP Jason Hammel's 2007 team mark to begin a season, and he has received five straight no-decisions (after his one loss), matching a record he already shared with RHP Dave Eiland.
Citing how pitcher wins have been devalued due to advanced statistics, Odorizzi said he isn't concerned about his record, finding it much more relevant that the Rays have won four of his starts.
"I think that's the nature of the game now, and as long as we win, that's all I care about," Odorizzi said. "I could not win a game all year, and if we win three-fourths of my (32-33) starts, that's a pretty good little sign."
In addition to team wins, Odorizzi said he considers innings pitched the next best way to take measure of a starter. "If you have a lot of innings, you are doing something right," he said, with 402/3 thus far.
ON THE MARK: With a .308 average, five homers and 11 RBIs, INF Steve Pearce has been one of the Rays' best additions, playing thus far more like his 2014 season in Baltimore (.293-21-49) than last year (.218-15-40). "That was the hope, I think, when we signed him," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We felt that he was totally capable of repeating. And it looks like with this start, he's providing that."
MISCELLANY: 2B Logan Forsythe expects to be back in the lineup tonight. He has been sidelined since leaving Monday's game against the Mariners after behind hit on the back of his left shoulder by a Felix Hernandez pitch. … In his first game action since March 17 core muscle repair surgery, Rays RHP Brad Boxberger threw 22 pitches Thursday in an extended spring game in Port Charlotte, getting two outs (on strikeouts) and allowing two hits and one walk. If he feels good today, he could start a rehab assignment Monday, eyeing an end-of-May return. … The Rays will participate in MLB's inaugural Play Ball Weekend with events to engage young fans and encourage youth participation. That includes a Saturday morning event featuring Forsythe and the Rays athletic training staff, led by Ron Porterfield, for PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) campaign.