It’s been all or nothing for Jake Odorizzi so far this young season, but he was on the right side of that equation on Monday. The Royals righthander bounced back from a couple rough outings to post seven shutout innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Odorizzi tossed five shutout innings against Corpus Christi in his season debut on April 6, but the wheels came off in his next two starts. Odorizzi didn’t make it out of the first inning in his April 12 start, walking three and giving up four runs. Five days later, he managed to last five innings against San Antonio but allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks. Odorizzi got himself in trouble at times last season after he was promoted to Double-A when was guilty of trying to be too precise with his command, and through his first 10 2/3 innings of this year, he’d issued five walks and thrown three wild pitches to go with a 6.75 ERA.
The 22-year-old was back on form against Springfield on Monday though. Odorizzi limited the Cardinals to four hits while striking out 11, a record for the Northwest Arkansas franchise which began playing in 2008. The 11 whiffs were also Odorizzi’s highest mark in a Double-A start, easily beating his previous best of seven set twice last year, when he made 12 Texas League outings. Odorizzi retired nine straight at one point from the fourth through the sixth, while another encouraging note was that he didn’t issue his first (and only) walk of the night until the seventh inning. He was taken out after throwing 96 pitches, and his ERA improved to 4.08 after 17 2/3 innings.