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Odorizzi hopes to pitch at home in October

Righty strikes out 9 in final home start of regular season
September 18, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jake Odorizzi hopes he hasn’t thrown his last pitch in front of the Twins’ home crowd at Target Field. He is hoping for at least one more chance to show his stuff to the fans, and knows another possible start at home would come in the postseason. Odorizzi

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jake Odorizzi hopes he hasn’t thrown his last pitch in front of the Twins’ home crowd at Target Field.

He is hoping for at least one more chance to show his stuff to the fans, and knows another possible start at home would come in the postseason.

Odorizzi was steady for five innings before running into trouble in the sixth on Wednesday, and the Twins had trouble against Chicago’s procession of relievers in a 3-1 loss.

Box score

“Yeah I thought about it,” Odorizzi said of the possibility that Wednesday could have been his last start at Target Field. “I know how the schedule is going to fall for me. I make one more start on the road and whatever happens there. Playoff schedule, if we make it there, can be a toss up.

“There was an opportunity that was left on the table [Wednesday] to really kind of cap off a really productive season. Hopefully I get that opportunity again.”

Odorizzi (14-7) allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk. He threw 94 pitches in 5 2/3 innings, while striking out nine batters. The All-Star right-hander, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, has finished six innings just twice in his past 15 starts.

Jorge Polanco scored in the sixth inning for Minnesota’s lone run, driven in by Eddie Rosario for the Twins’ 877th tally of the season. The total ties the team record, previously set in 1996, for the most runs in a single season since the club moved to Minnesota.

The Twins' lead in the American League Central dipped to four games over the Indians, who won in extra innings against Detroit.

“I thought Jake looked really sharp,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I thought Jake threw the ball great. He missed a ton of bats. He went out there and dominated. I believe that. We didn’t win the game.

“It doesn’t sound like maybe the right word to use when you lose the game, but he was great. He threw the ball phenomenally. He keeps throwing the ball like that -- and he has lately -- we’re good to go.”

The White Sox started Iván Nova in a planned bullpen game. Nova, using the start in lieu of his usual bullpen session, and seven relievers held the Twins to three hits.

“It’s variety,” Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario said. “They’re doing the best they can do. Like use only lefties [against Luis Arraez] today. It’s another game.”

Odorizzi would likely slot near the top of a potential playoff rotation for Minnesota, along with José Berríos. Odorizzi has had success in the season’s final weeks, albeit in shorter outings. Since giving up nine runs in a four-inning start against the Yankees on July 24, Odorizzi has a 3.06 ERA (17 earned runs in 50 innings pitched) in nine starts.

The right-hander, who made his first All-Star Game this season, allowed a run in the second before retiring eight in a row. Odorizzi struck out seven of the first 13 batters he faced.

He stranded two runners in the fifth before Chicago struck again in the sixth. Yoán Moncada doubled in a run for the White Sox after Odorizzi walked Eloy Jiménez. Cody Stashak relieved Odorizzi and struck out Zack Collins to end the inning.

Stashak has become a valuable piece to Minnesota’s bullpen, posting a 2.08 ERA in nine games since being recalled on Aug. 24.

“We just need to maybe sharpen things up as we move forward, take care of the little things,” Odorizzi said. "That includes me, too. I need to execute pitches better in big situations like that, and the game could be different if it's a 1-1 game instead of a 2-1 game. I'm right in there, too. Hopefully this isn't the last time I get to throw at Target Field in a home uniform. Hopefully I get another opportunity to redeem myself."