Tampa Bay Rays Game 46: Bad Luck for Jake Odorizzi, Bats
By Robbie Knopf
Once again, fortune was not on the side of Jake Odorizzi even as he delivered another spectacular outing. He wound up going 7 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 7 while walking 2. All of his pitches were working, with his four-seam fastball command on, his two-seamer forcing a pair of whiffs, his split-change as dominant as usual after the first inning, his cutter having one of its better games, and even his curveball giving him three first-pitch strikes. The Jake Odorizzi that pitched in this game looks primed to earn Cy Young votes.
However, he had bad luck right at the start of the game in the first inning. It was unfortunate that Tim Beckham‘s error came at a time when Odorizzi was still trying to find himself at the plate and eventually led to an extra run. It was also bad luck that Odorizzi had a rough first frame after allowing just two runs in the first inning in his previous nine starts. Then, to tie it all together, the fact that Odorizzi had such a first inning, including Beckham’s misplay, in a game in which the Tampa Bay Rays could muster just one run was especially annoying.
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However, it was the offense who was victimized by Lady Luck time and again. On the game, the Mariners hit seven line drives, four of which went for hits, a .571 batting average. The Rays, on the other hand, hit 13 line drives but managed just five hits for their efforts, a .385 batting average. The Rays were hitting the ball nearly double as hard yet managed just one additional hit for their efforts. Yes, they went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, but this time, they did their job by hitting the ball hard and simply could not get the results that usually accompany such contact. Just for fun, they both began the game in the bottom of the first and ended it in the bottom of the ninth with line drive outs.
In the second inning, Nick Franklin got behind in the count 0-2 after whiffing on a pair of changeups, but battled back to get the count to 2-2. We all knew that more changeups were coming, and the question was going to be whether Franklin could make an adjustment and take the pitch into right field. After taking one changeup outside and fouling off another, Franklin did hit a liner to right field on the change, but right at Seth Smith.
Franklin would actually hit two other line drives, one each in the fourth and eighth innings, and all three of his liners were caught. Instead of being the hero of this game or at least a solid contributor, he finished 0 for 3 with a walk. Evan Longoria also hit a bullet to the right field track in the fifth inning that was caught before lining out to end the game. In addition, the bad luck was limited only to line drives as Brandon Guyer hit a perfect swinging bunt in the seventh and saw Fernando Rodney lose track of his grounder in the ninth only to be out at first both times.
Add everything up, and the Tampa Bay Rays lost this game 4-1 to the Seattle Mariners. Their lone run came on a Logan Forsythe line drive that was such a rocket that not even Lady Luck herself could direct it to a fielder. Jake Elmore also had notable return to the majors, going 2 for 2 with 2 doubles and a walk. He may have been the one lucky Ray, drilling a double just fair down the line and turning a grounder into his other double.
Steve Geltz and Brandon Gomes did allow a run each in relief, but if the Rays had gotten a couple of more hits to drop, they wouldn’t have entered the game anyway. In any event, the loss takes the Rays to 44-42 and they will hope to get back in the win column against the M’s tonight at 7:10 PM. Alex Colome will take the hill against J.A. Happ.
Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Addressing the Middle Infield Situation