Entering Tuesday, Jake Odorizzi had a huge target on his back, as Houston Astros‘ fans and reporters had exploited his declining production. After a rough start in Los Angeles, the right-hander was due for a bounce back appearance.
A changing of guard occurred behind home plate, as Martin Maldonado was given the start over the usual, Jason Castro. Odorizzi and Castro had been a tandem for quite nearly the whole season, while their connection stems back to their time in Minnesota together. But with every struggling aspect, manager Dusty Baker tests out a new possible lineup.
With Martin Maldonado behind the dish, Jake Odorizzi found himself for the Houston Astros.
Throughout Odorizzi’s first season in Houston, injuries and a late start plagued his progression, but with a shaky series of appearances, it was evident he struggled the second and the third times through the order.
The right-hander had a season-changing month of June, posting a 2.45 ERA over five appearances (four starts). Then came July, where Odorizzi’s ERA dipped as low as 3.61, before climbing back north of 4.00. His post All-Star break statistics have been nothing but lackluster, and with Castro behind the dish, the Astros’ personnel eyed a possible change to shake things up.
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Maldonado, who has been an emotional leader within the clubhouse, is one of the most soft spoken players off the field. But on the field, the catcher has controlled a lot of the game, while calming down pitchers in any instance necessary.
While taking game one of two from the Colorado Rockies, the team from Denver has been abysmal on the road this season with a 13-41 record after Tuesday night. The lineup isn’t one of the most talented either, but it was dismantled by Odorizzi.
The right-hander tossed five shutout innings, granting only three hits and two walks to his three strikeouts. Odorizzi was signed to eat innings, and although one inning away from a quality start, it will be interesting if the staff will ease him into deeper outings.
The Astros are back on the field on Tuesday at 1:10 p.m. with Framber Valdez looking to counter right-hander Antonio Senzatela.