Minnesota Twins: How might Jake Odorizzi fare on Opening Day?

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 17: Jake Odorizzi
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 17: Jake Odorizzi /

The Minnesota Twins will send Jake Odorizzi to the mound in their Opening Day matchup with the Baltimore Orioles. A team Odorizzi is very familiar with.

The Minnesota Twins have tapped on the shoulder of one of their new and shiny pitchers to open their season on Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles. As a former American League East pitcher, Jake Odorizzi has spent a considerable amount of time around the opposition in the Twins Opening Day matchup. Let’s take a look at how Odorizzi has fared in the past.

One of the potential concerns for Odorizzi in this Opening Day matchup is the potency of the Orioles lineup. As a fly ball pitcher, there is always danger sending a pitcher like Odorizzi into a park like the one in Baltimore against an accomplished home run hitting lineup. In 2017, the right-hander posted a 47.3 % fly ball rate and what the Twins are hoping comes down in 2018 was a HR/9 rate of 1.88.

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The Twins have a great outfield to backup flyball pitchers in the trio of Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, and Max Kepler. What the Twins defense can’t help Odorizzi with is if the ball leaves the confines of the playing field. Going up against the likes of Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Trey Mancini, and Chris Davis balls can leave the park in a hurry.

Last season the Orioles were able to rough Odorizzi up a bit early on in the season. They put up four runs in 5.1 innings and three runs in 5.0 innings against the Twins Opening Day starter. Four home runs helped put those runs across the plate. In a positive trend for Odorizzi, in his final two starts against the Orioles in 2017 he allowed no earned runs. The Twins will certainly be hoping that trend continues for Odorizzi into Thursdays matchup.

Over the years Machado has had Odorizzi’s number to the tune of a .279/.304/.581 slash line and 4 home runs. Even though Davis is likely on the back end of his career and has a meager .212 batting average when facing Odorizzi. Davis has crushed three home runs against the Twins starter. A third Orioles starter to watch is Jones who owns a .326/.341/.488 and 3 home runs in his career facing Odorizzi.

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The Twins new starter that they acquired for a steal of a deal has a good chance at success on Thursday’s Opening Day game. He just has to continue to trend in the right direction as he did to close out 2017. If Odorizzi can’t keep the Orioles fly balls into fly ball outs, it could be a long day for Twins fans.