Delays on top of delays, tarps on top of tarps, and above all else, a rainstorm that flooded in the infield of Camden Yards. The Houston Astros opened their three-game affair with a few reserves still in the lineup against a rebuilding Baltimore Orioles’ team, so if you want to point out a weak opponent, you have every right to.
The offense unloaded 10 runs on 13 hits, with every starter reaching base by a hit at least once in Monday’s game. This wasn’t the headline of the game though. Jake Odorizzi, who has had a shaky start to his Astros career, tossed five no-hit innings before being pulled for Cristian Javier.
With Jake Odorizzi pitching well, why was he pulled with a no-hitter in the works?
Odorizzi opened Monday’s matchup with 13 consecutive outs before issuing his only walk of the game following this new season high. The right-hander tossed five no-hit innings on 86 pitches (55 strikes) with nine strikeouts.
While dominating Baltimore, you might’ve wondered why did Odorizzi leave so early? Well, a rising pitch count wasn’t helping his case to stay in the game. With 86 pitches across the halfway mark of the game, it made sense that he wasn’t going the distance. Weather conditions along with recent struggles nearing the fifth and the sixth inning might’ve cut Odorizzi short on Monday, so there could’ve been a full factors even though the bottom of the order was up.
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Odorizzi was nearing 20 pitches an inning, so expecting a drop in production didn’t seem evident, especially for a pitcher that works counts. Javier took the bump for the sixth and seventh innings, but after a long delay, it didn’t seem plausible to bring the right-hander back. He did keep the no-hitter alive, as he fanned two over two perfect innings.
Brandon Bielak was summoned following the rain delay, as he fanned one hitter and plunked another, Angel Hernandez proved why he sucks at his job. He missed a clean strike-three call that ended up being a two-run home run on a following pitch. Bielak had another opportunity to get the out, but you can’t expect perfection from an arm that was rushed to the show twice.
Odorizzi received a lot of backlash for a troubling start to his Astros’ tenure. From a late signing to an injury, the right-hander couldn’t find a groove. But in his last three games, he has totaled 14 innings with three runs on five hits. Odorizzi has also fanned 18 in the process.
While being the first game of umpires cracking down on the use of foreign substance, we did see relievers be checked as they left the mound and starters getting the same treatment every few innings. To make it better, Hernandez was calling balls and strikes, which led to some chatter behind the dish and even more evidence for him to be fired.
Kyle Tucker should be returning sometime this week, as a corresponding 40-man roster move will also be needed. The Astros are back on the field on Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. with Zack Greinke off the rubber against right-hander Jorge Lopez.