We use to call one of our championship-era pitchers Charlie Freakin Morton. Freakin was a term of endearment.
If anyone ever called tonight’s starter Jake freakin Odorizzi, most likely the word freakin would not be used endearingly.
Maybe, at least, until tonight.
It was Jake Odorizzi’s second straight lockdown starting appearance and for the last two games, he has looked more like Jake the Ace Odorizzi than the scrub who gave up three runs in just 0.2 innings pitched just three games ago.
But although he had a shutout through 6+ innings, even Jake the Ace needed some run support.
But as usual, in 2022, the Astros were better at stranding runners than scoring them. In the first inning Jose Altuve, just back from IL, led off with a walk, followed by a Michael Brantley single. But after Alex Bregman advanced each runner one base, the Astros left the runners stranded to end the inning.
The game was yet another Astros-game pitcher’s duel, as both the Mariner’s Marco Gonzalez and Odorizzi got through three and a half innings without allowing a run; Odorizzi eventually going five innings facing the minimum number of hitters.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Astros finally broke through when Yordan Alvarez, the man who is a runner in scoring position at every at bat, lifted his seventh homer to right field to put the Astros up 1 - 0.
Following Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel doubled with no outs but was stranded in place.
Odorizzi continued his shutout through the sixth inning, and in the Astros half Jeremy Pena extended the Astros lead to 3 -0 with his fifth homer, scoring Kyle Tucker, who led off with a single.
Odorizzi finished his start in the seventh after allowing a two-out walk. He posted 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and one walk with three Ks. Ryne Stanek finished the inning stranding two runners.
Odorizzi has allowed only one run in his last 12.2 innings. In this month of May with almost no days off, deep and effective starts by the biggest question mark in the rotation is more than a welcome sight.
Credit the man for not giving up on himself after so many had come so close to giving up on him.
Rafael Montero got the save after allowing two baserunners in the ninth. He got out of the jam by getting Eugenio Suarez to ground into a double play on a 3-1 count to end the game.
As in most Astros wins this year, most of the credit goes to the pitching and defense, which tonight managed a four pitcher shutout thanks to three double plays and a caught stealing. The Astros managed only 8 hits, but luckily tonight two were homers. The Astros were only 1 -9 with runners in scoring position.
Still, a win is a win, and the Astros are back over .500 for the season with a 12-11 record and are now tied with the Mariners for second place in the AL West.
Cristian Javier takes the mound tonight in his second start of the season. Game time 7:10 CT.