Odorizzi, Astros follow up after early hook

Veteran righty on Tuesday’s frustration: 'Not an issue moving forward'

September 8th, 2021

HOUSTON -- Astros pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who was critical of the club for taking him out of Tuesday’s win over the Mariners after five innings and only 66 pitches, met with general manager James Click, manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Brent Strom on Wednesday morning to explain his frustration.

Odorizzi said he texted Click before coming to the ballpark and told him he wanted to meet. The veteran right-hander wanted to explain why he was so frustrated with coming out of Tuesday’s game when he felt he had more to give the team as it pushes towards a division title. Odorizzi gave up two runs on five hits in a game the Astros won, 5-4, in 10 innings.

“It’s good to have those conversations,” Odorizzi said. “It’s important as a team we have those and we move on from them. It’s not an issue moving forward. I told them it’s not changing my aspects, my views of anything. It’s a non-issue for me. I’m perfectly fine today. We got to talk about it. That’s what adults do. We handled it like men, and I said what I needed to say. We all listened, we talked about it, we thought about some stuff. It’s all good. I hold no ill will with anything moving forward. It was handled properly, and we all had our conversation.”

Odorizzi’s discontent has been building up to Tuesday, which was the fourth time in his last six starts he was removed after five innings, including the last three. Since giving up six earned runs in three innings on Aug. 4 in Los Angeles, Odorizzi hasn’t pitched more than 5 2/3 innings. He’s given up 10 earned runs in 31 innings in those six starts (2.90 ERA).

“It’s a situational thing,” Odorizzi said. “It’s game by game. It’s what the score dictates, what the bullpen dictates. There’s so many thoughts that go into it. A lower pitch count was a big thing. I know how hard our guys in the bullpen work and to be able to give them some extra time off is important, especially in the playoffs. I thought I was in a position to do that.”

Baker pulled Odorizzi Tuesday one batter after he gave up a two-run double to Mariners leadoff hitter J.P. Crawford, who was facing Odorizzi for the third time. Odorizzi has a .609 opponents’ OPS the first time through the order, a .717 OPS the second time through and a 1.365 OPS the third time through.

After Tuesday’s game, Baker said Odorizzi’s struggles the third time through were foremost in his decision, but the club didn’t have the luxury of letting him try to work it out in a crucial game against the Mariners.

“We talked about it like men,” Baker said Wednesday. “I want all these guys to go as deep as they can in the games. As a manager, you’re full of tough decisions. I have to do what I think is best for the team, now and in the moment. I can’t blame him for wanting to go more. I want him to go more. I want everybody to go deep into the games. That takes pressure off my bullpen.”

Odorizzi, who’s likely not going to make Houston’s postseason rotation at this point, is aware of his less-than-favorable numbers when he faces a lineup for the third time in the same game. He said the only way to improve that is to get more opportunities. He has a .725 opponents’ OPS in the fifth inning of games and 1.457 OPS in the sixth inning.

“I’m not saying I want an extra leash, or I want this and that,” he said. “ I think each game should be dictated for each, and we move forward. I’m not trying to tell somebody how to do their job. We talked about it. We’re all in agreement. … We move on. Whatever they think is the best, is the best.”