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Which Jake Odorizzi will we see this time?

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The Astros starter has recently seen his stock rebound in the past month.

Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

It is no secret that Jake Odorizzi has, at times, been the weak link in the Astros’ starting rotation. Through his rather disastrous outing for which he was torched for seven runs — six earned — against the Dodgers on August 4, the right-hander’s first 15 games with his new club were far from ideal.

  • 63 23 innings pitched
  • 266 total batters faced
  • 4.95 ERA
  • 5.07 FIP
  • 4.70 xFIP
  • 21.4 percent K%
  • 7.9 percent B%

Considering the contract that the Astros gave Odorizzi and the subsequent tighter constraints against the tax threshold of $210 million, the argument about whether those dollars could’ve been used more efficiently elsewhere became more valid. Of course, Framber Valdez’s fast recovery from his finger injury, which allowed for Odorizzi’s signing in the first place, is something to remember for context. But the latter’s performance hasn’t warranted much in terms of confidence for a while.

Recently, however, we see some of that confidence restored. As I mentioned earlier, Odorizzi’s start on August 4 against the Dodgers was far from ideal. It was arguably the lowest point of the season for him. The right-hander has mentioned in the past that his mechanics were off, but it was getting to a point where a tight division race may force the club’s hand on how much you expose Odorizzi. Before it got to that point, however, the Astros did something interesting that will require more analysis in the future: A change in primary catchers from Jason Castro to Martin Maldonado, with the latter catching four of his last five starts. The results are somewhat promising, although we need more of a sample to further dissect.

  • 26 innings pitched
  • 111 total batters faced
  • 2.77 ERA
  • 4.13 FIP
  • 4.68 xFIP
  • 22.5 percent K%
  • 9.0 percent BB%

While I do lend some credence to the idea that a catcher change can help a pitcher perform better, I am more interested in seeing if recent pitch usage trends continue to hold. For example, Odorizzi’s slider usage has essentially dropped off a cliff with Maldonado, while his cutter has been utilized more frequently as of late. Again, more analysis is required to break this further down, but something to watch.

Odorizzi gets the nod tonight against the Mariners, who have seen him pitch three times since late July. Which version will the Astros receive tonight? To be determined.