Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Odorizzi tasked with taming potent Jays lineup

A pair of promising right-handers will be matched up against each other on Tuesday night, when Aaron Sanchez gets the start for Toronto and Jake Odorizzi takes the mound for Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field.
Odorizzi will have the difficult task of trying to tame a lineup that is expected to be the best in baseball again this season. Toronto led the Major Leagues in runs last season, with 891, and intends to do more of the same in 2016 with a core that has remained mostly intact.
"We all know what they're capable of doing," Odorizzi said. "Everybody knows about it. Everybody's aware. Just looking to go out there and have success any way possible. Whoever is catching tomorrow, we'll get a good game plan. And I'll have seen them twice before I pitch."
Sanchez will make his first start of the season for Toronto after being named to the rotation during the final week of Spring Training. Sanchez finished on top following a difficult competition that also included Gavin Floyd, Jesse Chavez and Drew Hutchison.
"Things weren't right last year," Sanchez said. "Nothing seemed to click. But this year, all of the work that I put in, it feels like I'm out there effortlessly with my mechanics, and I feel like that was a big part of my issues last year. I wasn't in the right spot to execute the pitches, and this year it's much more stable to be in the right positions without even thinking about it."
Three things to know about this game:
• Odorizzi is 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays. He did not yield a home run in the first four starts but allowed two in each of the last two outings.
• The Blue Jays will have Russell Martin back behind the plate. He had the day off on Monday because knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was on the mound, and Dickey has a personal catcher in Josh Thole. First baseman Justin Smoak also likely will make his first start of the season after Chris Colabello started the first two games.
• In their last 25 visits to Tropicana Field, the Blue Jays have won only three series. The Rays are 21-3-1 over that span.

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