The Rays confirmed late Saturday that 23-year-old right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who was acquired from the Royals this winter in the James Shields trade, will make his debut for Tampa Bay in Monday afternoon’s series opener against the Blue Jays.
This from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Odorizzi is filling for staff ace David Price, who hit the disabled list a few days ago with a strained left triceps muscle. Price is still out indefinitely, so Jake’s stay in the major leagues could last a while.
Odorizzi was the 32nd overall pick in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft out of a southern Illinois high school. He was sporting a 3.83 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 47/15 K/BB ratio through 44 2/3 innings this season at Triple-A Durham.
“Jake, by a series of different reasons, got the nod. We felt good about all of them,” Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters on Saturday. “I hear he had been doing a great job (in Durham). Here’s a guy who went about his business really well (in the spring), has a nice makeup, has a nice way about him. So we felt confident starting him on Monday.”
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.