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Odorizzi Injures Ankle, Benintendi, Nunez Help Boston Sweep

Wayne Masut | Senior Staff Photographer

The Rays have had 21 different players spend time on the DL this season. On Wednesday, they welcomed one back to the mound.

Offensive inefficiencies were exploited last weekend against the Brewers. The Rays scored only two runs in the three-game home series. Having been shut-out at the hands of Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel last night, Rays manager Kevin Cash turned to Jake Odorizzi, fresh off the DL.

Miscues, both offensively and defensively for Tampa Bay, awarded Boston an early lead. From there it was a familiar foe that haunted the Rays, before ultimately falling 8-2 at the hands of the Red Sox.

Odorizzi Returns From the DL – Ankle May Send Him Back

The last time Odorizzi started a game for the Rays was on July 23, against the Texas Rangers. After going just four innings, he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain. After just one rehab start (Friday) for High-A Charlotte, Odorizzi returns to the Rays on Wednesday night.

Throughout this season, and his career, Odorizzi has struggled to work deep into games. Five of his outings this season resulted in fewer than five innings – the minimum requirement to earn a victory. He leads all MLB pitchers in no-decisions since his debut in 2014.

Health and pitch-count have prohibited Odorizzi from pitching deep into games. He entered tonight’s game with a career-high 18.5 pitches/inning. It’s tough to go six innings when you’re throwing 18+ per.

More of the same tonight. Odorizzi’s 90th pitch of the night resulted in a line-drive that left the bat of Red Sox third-baseman Eduardo Nunez and struck the right ankle of the Rays right-hander. Odorizzi went straight to the ground and lay still for several moments before requiring help to leave the game.

Porcello’s Immaculate Fifth Inning

This year has been much different than the Cy Young season of 2016 for Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello. He entered tonight’s game with 14 losses this year. That’s 10 more than his total from all of last year.

Enter Tropicana Field.

Porcello threw an eight inning complete game here on July 8, striking out seven while allowing just one run on six hits. While he has been anything but this season, his fifth inning was immaculate.

 

 

Red Sox Five-Run Inning

Clinging to a one-run lead entering the fifth, Nunez started the frame with the liner off of Odorizzi. Andrew Benintendi then singled down the third-base line moving Nunez into scoring position. Right fielder Mookie Betts gave Boston their second run with a single to centerfield, reaching second on Mallex Smith‘s unsuccessful attempt to cut-down Benintendi at third.

After an intentional walk to Hanley Ramirez, a wild pitch by Dan Jennings and a passed ball by Wilson Ramos allowed Benintendi and Betts to score. Sandy Leon later made it 6-0 with a two-run single off Jennings.

One Man Versus Nine

In the two-game set with Tampa Bay, Red Sox’s infielder Eduardo Nunez collected five hits. The Rays entire team managed just six. Brad Miller (2-for-4, HR) led the Rays tonight.

Two Solo Homers Provide Only Offense

The only offensive bright-spots cam off the bats of Adeiny Hechavarria and Brad Miller. Having already allowed 26 home runs on the season, Porcello gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he hung a breaking ball over the plate to the Rays’ shortstop.

For just the second time this season (first with TB) Hechavarria put a ball into the outfield seats. Miller than followed by launching one into the right field seats.

The 28 homers-allowed bring Porcello into a tie (ANA – Ricky Nolasco) for second-most in the American League. Only Seattle’s Ariel Miranda (29) has allowed more.

Quotables:

Cash on the effectiveness of Odorizzi…

“The pitch count is something that we gotta really, we gotta temper those pitches”

Odorizzi talks about the right ankle injury…

“Got some nerves in there, more so than bone, … dodged a bullet from what it could have been.”

Due Up:

The first-place Cleveland Indians are in town for a four-game series starting on Thursday night. Relief pitcher Andrew Miller and outfielder Michael Brantley are currently on the DL. However, per Ken Rosenthal, Cleveland acquired outfielder Jay Bruce from the Mets this evening via trade.

Blake Snell (0-6; 4.98) looks for his first win of the season as he takes on Danny Salazar (4-5; 4.32). In three starts since returning from the DL, Salazar has posted a 1.35 ERA while striking out 28 batters in just 20 innings.

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