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Odorizzi Shows Promise In Season Debut

The Rays dropped the opening game of their 3 game series against the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 ending their modest 3 game winning streak and dropping their record to 23-21. Once again it was the Rays bullpen cost that took them out of a contest as Josh Lueke [1] walked 4-batters in giving up 3-runs in the 7th inning despite only allowing 1-hit.

[2]Jake Odorizzi [3] made his Rays debut and after giving up 3 runs in a bumpy 1st inning he settled down delivering 4 scoreless innings before exiting after 5 innings with the score tied 3-3. Of his 92 pitches on the afternoon 58 of them were strikes and he threw a first pitch strike to 13 of the 21 batter he faced.  Coming into his start one of the negatives on his scouting report is the lack of a put away pitch which was evident as the Jays hitters were able to foul off 23 pitches. He used his 4-seam fastball (44-pitches/29 strikes/2 whiffs), slider (25 /17 /1 ),  changeup (11/5/1), curveball (9/5/4 ), and 2-seam fastball (3 /2 /0).

In his five innings of work he allowed 3R/ER on 5 hits while striking out 6 and walking 1. He was replaced by Jake McGee [4] who worked a solid inning of scoreless relief striking out 2.

Josh Lueke [1] got the call to work the 7th inning and had been a very effective reliever for the Rays since getting his call from Triple-A Durham. He had appeared in 4 games covering 3.2 innings of work without allowing an earned run striking out 3 and walking 1. Lueke was looking to earn Joe Maddon [5]‘s confidence and build equity to remain in the big leagues long term. Neither goal would be met.

The inning began with a walk to Emilio Bonifacio [6] who entered the game hitting .196 and had drawn only 3 walks in 108 plate appearances. After Henry Blanco [7] sacrificed Bonifacio to 2nd Lueke walked Munenori Kawasaki [8]. Melky Cabrera [9] lined out for the second out of the inning and was 1-out away from getting out of the inning.  Jose Bautista [10] drew a walk to load the bases for Edwin Encarnacion [11] who doubled to clear the bases giving the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead. Joe Maddon [5] then ordered the intentional walk to Adam Lind [12] before removing Lueke from the game.  Overall, Lueke (0-1, 6.23) allowed 3R/ER on just 1 hit while walking 4 batters.

Kyle Farnsworth [13] followed Lueke to the mound and continued his struggles giving up a triple to Munenori Kawasaki [8] to plate Emil Bonafacio who had singled.  Jamey Wright [14] replaced Farnsworth to record the final out of the inning.

R.A. Dickey [15] (4-5, 4.50) earned the victory to improve the Jays record to 18-26 but the Rays made it interesting in the 9th inning off Toronto closer Casey Janssen [16].

The Rays scored a run in the top of the 2nd on a Sam Fuld [17] ground out that scored Evan Longria who had singled to extend his hitting streak to 14 straight games. They added 2 runs in the top of the 3rd on a 2-run double by Evan Longoria [18] plated both Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist [19] but R.A. Dickey [15] shut them down and turned the ball over to Casey Janssen [16] in the 9th with a 7-3 lead.

Luke Scott [20] led off with a bunt single and advanced to second on a Sam Fuld [17] ground out and came around to score on a Yunel Escobar [21] home run which cut the Jays lead. Following Escobar’s home run Desmond Jennings [22] singled and Matt Joyce walked to bring Ben Zobrist [19] to the plate and Evan Longoria [18] to the on-deck circle but Zobrist struck out on 3 pitches to end the Rays threat.