Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Odorizzi takes the mound in excellent form, having given up a combined two runs over his last two starts against Baltimore and Toronto (12 IP). Overall, Odorizzi owns a 3.12 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 2016, which is fully supported by a 3.08 FIP and 3.78 SIERA. Odorizzi has also improved upon both his control (2.44 BB/9 last year vs. 1.82 BB/9 this season) and ability to keep the ball in play (0.96 HR/9 & 9.0% HR/FB% last year vs. 0.78 HR/9 & 6.5% HR/FB% this season).
The 26-year-old is also supported by a solid Tampa Bay bullpen that owns a 3.62 ERA and 1.16 WHIP this season, including a 3.18 ERA and 1.19 WHIP on the road and a 3.19 ERA and 1.06 WHIP at night.
And, Odorizzi should have little difficult containing an anemic Los Angeles lineup that is averaging 3.7 runs per game (.246 AVG; .311 OBP), including 3.4 runs per game at home (.223 AVG; .292 OBP) and 3.5 runs at night (.246 AVG; .305 OBP).
Los Angeles soft-tosser Jered Weaver continues to battle declining velocity after posting a career-low fastball rate in 2015. Since 2002, there have only been five non-knuckleball pitchers to have pitched over 150 innings in a season with a lower average fastball velocity than Weaver posted in 2015!
Weaver takes the mound with a 5.40 ERA and 1.62 WHIP this season, including a 6.00 ERA and 1.61 WHIP over his last three outings. The 33-year-old also finds little hope in his underlying metrics: 5.09 FIP; 5.87 xFIP and 5.70 SIERA.
Weaver’s walk and strikeout rates have also declined from last season (5.09 K/9 & 1.87 BB/9 last year vs. 4.45 K/9 & 2.86 BB/9 this season). The aging hurler’s ground ball rate has also plummeted (24.0%). From a technical standpoint, Los Angeles is 1-5 in Weaver’s last six starts versus the Rays, including 0-5 at home.
Tampa Bay has also dominated this series, going 19-8 in its last 27 meetings in Los Angeles. Finally, Los Angeles is 0-4 in its last four games versus American League East opposition and 0-6 in its last six games with umpire Dan Bellino behind the plate.