Saturday, 5:30 a.m.
How competitive might the Tampa Bay Rays have been if they had had decent starting pitching all along?
Maybe, they would have looked something like this.
The Rays have won six of their last 11 games (after going 3-24 in their previous 27) with nine straight quality starts by their starting rotation. The latest was a second-straight shutout by Jake Odorizzi over the New York Yankees. Since the all-star break, the
Content beyond this point is for members only.
Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (its at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!
Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.
Rays are 6-7 with six one-run losses.
“We’ve played that way since the break,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I know
we don’t have the wins to support that, but we’re playing tighter ballgames, our pitching has been tremendous and the timely hits, hopefully they continue to come.”
Jake Odorizzi, who has spent most of the season getting no decisions, evened
his record at 5-5. He now has a 14 2/3 inning scoreless streak. Odorizzi has already had 12 no-decisions, becoming only the third pitcher since 1913 to go so often without a decision in his team's first 100 games.
“Odo was outstanding, really threw the ball well,” Cash said. “He’s been throwing the ball well since the break, but Odo’s last two starts were
tremendous. It’s good to see him get a win against the Yankees —probably his toughest loss of the year was a (2-1) ballgame that he lost earlier (May 29) against these guys here at home. Offensively, Logan gets the big home run in the first and we continued to add on.”
Logan Forsythe and Corey Dickerson each had solo home runs in the first inning. Brad Miller had a double and a triple.
But the difference for the Rays has been the starting pitching, the part of the game that was supposed to be strong all along.
“We’d talked about it for a while during the first half and it never came. Basically since the second half started, we all kind of changed our tune, I guess,” Odorizzi said. “Everything is going well for all the starters, just consistent outings back-to-back-to-back. It really takes stress off the bullpen. I think another thing, our defense is playing phenomenal. They’re really backing us up, and it’s a lot easier to pitch when you have great plays being made behind you. It really shortens the game.”