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Game #7 Preview: Rays @ Blue Jays

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The home opener goes today from the Rogers Centre with the Tampa Bay Rays getting to be the recipients of 50,000 drunk fans' hate. The team from the south is 3-3 so far this season, but they just got to play three games against the Marlins so even a .500 record is slightly misleading. A ridiculous number of players, especially starting pitchers, are on the disabled list for the Rays so the team has even more holes than they would at full strength. In a division with at least three teams who should challenge for the crown, it's beginning to look like this might be a really rough year for the Kevin Cash led Tampa Bay squad.

The pitching matchup in this game that is full of pomp and circumstance features R.A. Dickey, no stranger to these things, against Jake Odorizzi who is only in his second full season in the major leagues. The 25-year-old from Illinois has made one start so far this season going 6.2 innings against the Baltimore Orioles allowing just two hits and no runs with seven strikeouts. Due to the injuries to the Rays rotation, Odorizzi has essentially inherited the second starter spot and could even supplant Chris Archer as the team's ace by the end of the season.

If you'll recall from last year, fellow Rays pitcher Alex Cobb helped Odorizzi develop a nasty splitter to add to his predictable fastball and slider combo. Things kind of got wild after that as the pitch became used more often than his slider ever was:

Odorizzi

The trend has continued into this season as you can see, with Odorizzi throwing 41 fastballs, 29 splitters, 18 cutters, and 5 curveballs against the Orioles five days ago. The slider has pretty much morphed into a hard cutter although lefty hitters still only see the fastball and splitter. You can see how the movement of his pitches are looking this year, noting how much more break his splitter has than his old changeup:

O's Odorizzi

Regardless of his more predictable pitch mix, Odorizzi has dominated lefties much more than righties in an admittedly small sample. This brings up the question of whether John Gibbons should test "The Danks Theory" tonight and throw out as many righties as possible, or at least bat his switch-hitters right-handed, to neutralize the nasty splitter.

Hopefull Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes SS
  2. Russell Martin C
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion DH
  5. Josh Donaldson 3B
  6. Dalton Pompey CF
  7. Kevin Pillar LF
  8. Justin Smoak 1B
  9. Devon Travis 2B

Bullpen Usage

All of the high-leverage relievers got work yesterday, although it wasn't too strenuous and John Gibbons should have his full bullpen to choose from tonight.

Pitcher Usage
Miguel Castro

One Day Ago: 1.0 IP, 19 pitches
Four Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 15 pitches
Five Days Ago: 0.2 IP, 4 pitches

Brett Cecil

One Day Ago: 1.0 IP, 13 pitches
Four Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 14 pitches
Five Days Ago: 0.1 IP, 16 pitches

Marco Estrada Three Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 19 pitches
Liam Hendriks Two Days Ago: 2.0 IP, 28 pitches
Three Days Ago: 1.0 IP ,14 pitches
Colt Hynes Two Days Ago: 0.2 IP, 11 pitches
Three Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 13 pitches
Aaron Loup One Day Ago: 1.2 IP, 20 pitches
Five Days Ago: 0.0 IP, 8 pitches
Roberto Osuna One Day Ago: 1.0 IP, 11 pitches
Four Days Ago: 1.1 IP, 26 pitches
Five Days Ago: 0.2 IP, 11 pitches
Todd Redmond Two Days Ago: 2.0 IP, 53 pitches

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Yesterday: Jeff Beliveau (0.1 IP, 11 pitches), Kirby Yates (0.1 IP, 8 pitches), Ernesto Frieri (1.1 IP, 13 pitches)
  • Two Days Ago: Kevin Jepsen (1.0 IP, 15 pitches), Brad Boxberger (1.0 IP ,19 pitches)

Find The Link

Find the link between a member of the Rays starting rotation and Jon Benjamin.

Enjoy the Home Opener and get there early if you're attending! (Don't be a drunk idiot too)