The Tampa Bay Rays sent 23-year-old Jake Odorizzi to the mound for the first time on Monday afternoon, and his performance was rocky but promising. The right-hander had a rough start, allowing three runs in the first two innings, but recovered nicely and pitched three scoreless frames before his day was done. He collected six strikeouts and walked only one, and came away with a no-decision against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Odorizzi was brought up from the Triple-A to take the place of the injured David Price in the Rays’ rotation. In eight starts at Durham, he was 4-0 with an earned run average of 3.83, with 47 strikeouts in 44.2 innings pitched.
The Rays acquired Odorizzi this past offseason as part of the deal that brought uber-prospect Wil Myers to town from the Kansas City Royals and sent James Shields and Wade Davis to K.C. Last season, Odorizzi made two starts for the Royals in September, with the second one be a bit of a clunker in which he lasted just two innings and threw 65 pitches.
Odorizzi might not be up with the Rays for very long, but it is a good look into the future of the team. The Rays always seem to have a young arms to turn to when they need one, and they still have more talent down on the farm. This is the reason that they have been in the race for the American League East title for the last several years, and the reason they will be in it for several more.