Houston Astros right-hander Jake Odorizzi hopes to begin July the same way in which he finished June.
Odorizzi looks to record his fourth straight scoreless outing on Saturday when he faces the host Cleveland Indians. The 31-year-old allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out 15 batters during his previous three appearances (14 innings).
Odorizzi (2-3, 4.08 ERA), however, managed just one win during that stretch. He was removed after working five innings and tossing 77 pitches during the Astros’ 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
“I just go out there, pitch and do my job, and when I get told I’m done, that’s kind of where my leeway ends,” Odorizzi said, per the Houston Chronicle. “I’m just going to try to keep going out there and doing what I’m doing. I feel a lot more comfortable and confident with everything right now.”
The Astros appear to be more comfortable as well after erupting for 13 runs to win the first two contests of the current four-game series. Jose Altuve belted his second grand slam of the season Thursday in Houston’s 7-2 victory, and the Astros scored the first six runs of the game Friday en route to a 6-3 win.
Kyle Tucker sat out the Friday contest due to back spasms, and Astros manager Dusty Baker wasn’t sure if the right fielder would be ready to play Saturday.
“You know how back spasms are. They kind of let you go when they feel like letting you go,” Baker said Friday. “Hopefully we’ll find out (Saturday), but he’s not looking good tonight.”
While the Astros appear to be getting back on track, the Indians have lost four in a row for the third time this season. Cleveland left the bases loaded in the first, fourth and eighth innings Friday and stranded 15 runners overall.
“We stranded a ton of runners, and that’s not what we’re shooting for,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “But they played, and that’s a hard way to play, but they kept fighting. If they (the players) keep fighting, then we (the coaches) will keep fighting along with them.”
Cesar Hernandez belted a three-run homer in the sixth inning, but that hit was just one of two for Cleveland in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Oscar Mercado and Franmil Reyes each had three hits in the loss.
Odorizzi will be tasked with keeping the Indians in check. He owns a 3-4 record with a 4.34 ERA in 13 career appearances (all starts) against Cleveland.
Odorizzi has limited Jose Ramirez to five hits in 23 at-bats, albeit with three solo homers. Ramirez sat out Friday’s game due to elbow soreness, an injury sustained after he dove for a ball in the series opener.
Cleveland rookie right-hander Eli Morgan (1-2, 9.37 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season on Saturday, the first appearance against Houston in his brief career.
Morgan, 25, lowered his ERA for the fourth straight start on Monday despite yielding four runs on six hits in five innings of a 13-5 win over the Tigers.
Morgan has struggled to keep the ball in the park, surrendering two homers in his last outing and six in just 16 1/3 innings this season.
–Field Level Media