The Undercards: Bullpen Collapses Behind Jake Odorizzi as Bulls Lose ILCS Opener

By Robbie Knopf

In the Rays game on Tuesday, David Price gave the Rays everything he had and it just wasn’t enough. Jake Odorizzi actually pitched better than Price, only to watch his team crumble after he departed. Which position would you rather be in?

Triple-A International League Championship Series: Pawtucket Red Sox 2, Durham Bulls 1

The Rays and the Bulls losing to the Red Sox in one day? That’s cruel an unusual punishment, and the circumstances of the games made that even more the case. Jake Odorizzi got the start for Durham and was masterful, going 7 innings allowing no runs on 4 hits, striking out 7 while walking 1. He rode his newfound fastball command to a 7-3 groundout to flyout ratio. as well. Odorizzi outdueled Red Sox top pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo, who allowed 1 run on 4 hits in 6 innings, and departedwith a 1-0 lead after Jesus Flores‘ sac fly in the second inning. But disaster struck for the Bulls after Odorizzi departed. The Red Sox strung together a single, a hit-by-pitch, and a bunt to advance the runners off of Jeff Beliveau in the 8th before Brock Holt came through with a go-ahead 2-run single. Holt’s hit proved to be decisive as the Red Sox won 2-1.

The Bulls can blame Beliveau and the bullpen all they want, but the blame for this loss is squarely upon their offense. Several Bulls had big games at the plate, with Tim Beckham going 2 for 4 with a walk, Cole Figueroa going 2 for 5, and Brandon Guyer going 1 for 3 with two hit-by-pitches and a stolen base, but the Bulls went just 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, stranding 13 in the game. It’s next to impossible to win like that. The Bulls got the huge start they needed and will hope for the same from J.D. Martin tomorrow, but it won’t matter if they don’t start coming through with runners in scoring position. This same affliction of faltering in the clutch has spread from the Rays to the Bulls now, and hopefully both can get past it before it’s too late.