After beating the team he grew up rooting for, Jake Odorizzi now gets to finally face the club that drafted him.
The former Milwaukee Brewers first-round pick seeks his first three-start win streak Monday night at home for the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a three-game set.Odorizzi (6-8, 3.97 ERA), who grew up about 33 miles from St. Louis in Highland, Ill., pitched on the road against the Cardinals for the first time Tuesday and allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings to earn a 7-2 win.The right-hander said he had about 500 supporters in the crowd and he received a huge ovation when he left the game."It was pretty loud when I came out," he said. "There were a lot of people standing up. I figured I had to tip my hat to them."The emotion seems to be different this time for Odorizzi, who was drafted in 2008 but never pitched for the Brewers. Milwaukee (59-47) traded him to Kansas City before the 2011 season as part of the deal to obtain Zack Greinke."I've kind of run out of stuff to say about that type of topic," Odorizzi told MLB's official website. "Treat it like another game, that's about all I can say, is go out and just try to continue what I've been doing and not change anything."Odorizzi ranks fourth in baseball with a 10.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has a 2.96 ERA in his last 14 outings after posting a 6.83 mark through his first six.Tampa Bay (51-54) had the second-longest win streak in franchise history snapped at nine Sunday with a 3-2 home loss to Boston. Rays pitchers posted a 1.33 ERA and the club outscored opponents 48-15 during the streak."Listen, like I said, this has been a great run we've been on," manager Joe Maddon said. "Now we've got to start another one-game winning streak tomorrow and try to win another series. We've got two really good teams coming in in Milwaukee and the Angels."The NL Central-leading Brewers fell 2-0 on Sunday to the New York Mets to cap a 5-2 homestand. They'll face a few starters they've never seen -- Odorizzi and Alex Cobb -- in this set along with David Price before this six-game trip ends at second-place St. Louis."Well we know we got great pitchers we're facing the next three days and it doesn't get any easier in St. Louis so we've got to find a way to scratch out runs and our pitching really has to be good on the road," manager Ron Roenicke said.Second baseman Scooter Gennett could return to the lineup. Gennett, batting .304, missed four games due to tightness in his right quad before pinch-hitting Sunday.Aramis Ramirez also did not start Sunday and could be the designated hitter Monday.Brewers starter Kyle Lohse (11-4, 3.07) seeks to win his third straight outing after allowing one run in each of his last two, including Wednesday's 5-1 victory over Cincinnati in which he pitched 6 2/3 innings.The right-hander hasn't faced Tampa Bay since 2011. James Loney has the most experience against him, going 5 for 18.The Rays are 4-2 all-time against the Brewers.
Kyle Lohse has thrown his slider 31 percent of the time this season and has allowed an OPS of .982 in plate appearances ending with the pitch on the inner half of the plate, 293 points above the league average among qualifying pitchers. The Rays have an OPS of .751 in plate appearances ending with a slider on the inner half of the plate, 95 points above the league average.