As noted by Dusty Baker before Saturday’s game, the goal for Jake Odorizzi was for the veteran starter to pitch at least six to seven innings with the optimism of possibly more. For a team that hasn’t seen its own starter advance past the fifth inning with any regularity this season, a six to seven-inning start by Odorizzi would’ve been an optimal development.
Alas, Odorizzi wasn’t meant to last long in this one as a forearm strain sidelined the right-hander only one batter into the game. The recently reinstated Kent Emanuel, who just finished an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, was then tasked with coming in and hopefully keep the Astros in the game.
Well, the rookie did much more than to keep Houston in the game. He took over the darn game and made some history.
Kent Emanuel’s historic @MLB debut:— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 24, 2021
8.2 IP in relief
5 Ks and 0 BBs
Longest relief appearance in an MLB debut since 1974
Tied the @Astros franchise record for longest relief appearance pic.twitter.com/0gsXJxIQun
Emanuel wasn’t alone in the impressive performance department as the Astros’ lineup combined for 16 runs on 18 hits and five walks. The only starter in the lineup to not pick up a hit in Saturday’s affair was the hero of Friday night, Robel Garcia. Starting with a leadoff home run — the first of his career — from Carlos Correa, the offense didn’t let up all day long.
Alex Bregman in the third and Kyle Tucker in the eighth joined the home run barrage against an Angels staff who was reeling in this game. Yordan Alvarez also hit the first triple of his major league career in the day of multiple firsts for the Astros.
Of course, the game wasn’t without its issues, as Odorizzi’s departure in the first inning puts a damper on the result. Baker did note following the game that the right-hander “is not worried” about his right forearm tightness.
Dusty Baker says Jake Odorizzi is “not worried.” pic.twitter.com/tY3dLJH21l— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) April 24, 2021
For Odorizzi and the Astros, let’s hope there isn’t anything too serious going on there. Although he hasn’t had a strong start to the season, any prolonged absence from Odorizzi only exacerbates a pitching depth problem for Houston.