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Game #139 Preview: Blue Jays @ Rays

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays have a chance for a series sweep in Tampa Bay tonight as Mark Buehrle faces off against Jake Odorizzi. We saw Jake back in early July, where I noted that he had developed a nasty splitter that had essentially replaced his slider as his most-used secondary pitch. In that contest he went 6.2 innings allowing two earned runs off six hits while striking out seven Blue Jays hitters. As we expected, Odorizzi almost exclusively threw a fastball and splitter combination during the start which is a massive change from what he threw just one year ago in 2013. Here's the movement map from the July 12th contest in Tampa:

Movement_php_medium

via www.brooksbaseball.net

As highlighted in a nice post over at Beyond the Boxscore last week, Odorizzi has begun to elevate his fastball arm-side and bury his splitter down in the zone:

Plot_profile_medium_medium

via cdn2.vox-cdn.com

Plot_profile_medium_medium

via cdn0.vox-cdn.com

This causes problems for hitters as they are either swinging underneath the fastball or getting in front of his splitter as well as swinging over the new and improved pitch. It's unfortunate that Odorizzi happens to play for a division-rival because stories where a young pitcher completely changes their offerings are always interesting to follow.

The righty's 4.03 ERA might make it seem as though he doesn't deserve all the plaudits he is receiving, but an outing on August 25th against the Orioles where he allowed eight earned runs over four innings has made his stats look slightly deceiving (he'd have a 3.65 ERA without that start). It doesn't help that his 10-11 record is thanks to some pretty poor run support from a pretty poor offence as well as the fact that wins and losses are useless.

Hopeful Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes SS
  2. Melky Cabrera LF
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion DH
  5. Adam Lind 1B
  6. Dioner Navarro C
  7. Danny Valencia 3B
  8. Ryan Goins 2B
  9. Dalton Pompey CF

Bullpen Usage

Aaron Sanchez is definitely unavailable tonight after the dry humping done to him during seemingly every inning of yesterday's game, while the Rays likely have the full bullpen ready to pitch today.

Blue Jays
  • Yesterday: Aaron Loup (1.0 IP, 21 pitches, Dustin McGowan (1.0 IP, 23 pitches), Aaron Sanchez (1.0 IP, 12 pitches)
  • Two Days Ago: Aaron Sanchez (1.0 IP, 13 pitches), Todd Redmond (1.0 IP, 14 pitches)
Rays
  • Yesterday: Kirby Yates (1.0 IP, 32 pitches), Jeff Beliveau (1.0 IP, 10 pitches), Grant Balfour (1.0 IP, 16 pitches)
  • Two Days Ago: Steven Geltz (1.0 IP, 16 pitches), Brandon Gomes (2.2 IP, 32 pitches), Cesar Ramos (2.0 IP, 44 pitches)

Find The Link

Find the link between Jake Odorizzi and the Blue Jay who shares his initials with this performer.

Baseball is fun again! Even if it is too little, too late.