Through the first five innings of his major league debut, Jake Odorizzi looked solid. Working efficiently, he shut down the Indians the first two times through the lineup, only allowing three baserunners. Starting in the sixth, though, the Indians caught up to him on their way to a 15-4 win.
The sixth inning started with Odorizzi at 72 pitches. He retired Shin-Soo Choo, the only batter to get a hit off of him to that point, but then Jason Kipnis (Odorizzi’s first career strikeout victim in the first) tripled. Asdrubal Cabrera singled up the middle to bring in Kipnis, then Carlos Santana hit the first of two homers on the day. Dave Eiland came out to settle him down, but after a Michael Brantley single, the Royals pulled him from the game.
His final line was 5.1 innings with six hits, one walk and three hits allowed. He struck out three. Of his 87 pitches, 55 were strikes. Eight of the outs he recorded were fly balls while four were on the ground.
It’s good to get the start out of the way, though. He held his own.
The rest of the pitching staff, for the most part, didn’t.
The Indians scored five times in the seventh and seven more in the ninth. In the seventh, Everett Teaford, Tommy Hottovy and Vin Mazzaro combined to walk four batters and allowed four hits. Adam Moore (who had homered in his first at bat as a Royal earlier) had a throwing error that allowed Choo to score on a stolen base attempt. Another run scored on a Jeff Francoeur throwing error.
Jeremy Jeffress allowed most of the runs in the ninth. Brantley doubled to lead off the inning and Casey Kotchman grounded out to move him to third. Then Jeffress walked Jack Hannahan, gave up a hit to Ezequiel Carrera, walked Lou Marson, then walked Choo with the bases loaded. A ground out scored Carrera, then a single scorEd Marson. Louis Coleman came in to relieve Jeffress and gave up the second of Santana’s two homers.
With the loss, the Royals are officially eliminated from winning the division (they’d have had to go undefeated the rest of the year and have the White Sox lose every game just to get a tiebreaker with Chicago). It was also their 82nd loss of the season, ensuring that they can’t reach .500 this year.
They still have a chance to finish the year with the most wins since Dayton Moore became general manager. In 2008, the Royals won 75 games. By going 6-4 in the final stretch of the year, they could surpass that. In a season where the opening day center fielder and franchise catcher missed half the year due to injury and the key offseason acquisition was designated for assignment, I suppose that has to count for progress.
But thank goodness that Jake Odorizzi is finally here. Expect good things to come.