Astros: ‘What if’ Jake Odorizzi faced the order for a third time?

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Astros have obviously been limiting Jake Odorizzi’s innings in recent starts with high pitch counts, which has led the right-hander to expressing his own frustrations to the media. After a five-inning outing on Tuesday, Odorizzi used an expletive in regard to how he felt with being pulled at 66 pitches.

This was Odorizzi’s shortest outing regarding pitch count, excluding his game-ending injury on April 24. The Astros have all the cause in the world to not trust the right-hander deep into contests, but while signed to eat inning, Odorizzi finally had a pitch-effective outing.

The Astros have limited Jake Odorizzi in innings, but never pitch count, so what happened on Tuesday?

With Odorizzi being the fifth starter in the rotation at the moment, the right-hander has a 2.90 ERA and 28 strikeouts to his 10 walks since Aug. 10. His recent success has gone unnoticed, but while showing frustration with manager Dusty Baker’s decision, Odorizzi doesn’t look to be supporting his case.

While exiting after the fifth inning with only two earned runs, Odorizzi was only an inning away from a quality start. But with 66 pitches thrown, it would’ve been the best time to test the right-hander against the order for a third time.

The score was tied, which is probably why the Astros’ staff wasn’t looking to test the waters especially against a lingering threat in the AL West. Regarding the third time through the order, Odorizzi has struggled mightily in his career:

Season                      Opponent

2016…………………. .225/.288/.425

2017…………………. .262/.336/.570

2018…………………. .333/.434/.725

2019…………………. .296/.362/.522

2020…………………. N/A

2021………………….. .395/.435/.930

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There is a sharp incline from Odorizzi giving into more hits the third time through the order, but with only 66 pitches throw in the game, would you let the right-hander make that jump?

Under different circumstances, it would have behooved the Astros to leave Odorizzi on the hill, but the game was too close to risk, even if Baker went to the wrong hands to follow.

Odorizzi will most likely not be one of the four starting pitchers we see in October, but with more reliability through three and four innings, the right-hander could be an effective piggyback in the postseason.

The former All-Star speaking out about his frustrations is understandable with his pitch count, but his career and season performances were hinting risk on Tuesday. General manager James Click commented on Odorizzi’s press conference from Tuesday night, saying they “want guys who want the ball,” but Odorizzi and the staff have reportedly found “peace.”

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