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Looking at When Odorizzi Should Pitch in the Playoffs

Jake Odorizzi has been one of the Twins best starting pitchers this season, and will definitely have a huge role in these upcoming playoffs. Rocco Baldelli has said he has a rotation basically set, but is not releasing it yet so I took a look at when Jake should be pitching to maximize his potential for success. Here is the good and the bad for him pitching game one, two, or three.
Image courtesy of Jayne Kamin, USA Today
Game One

The good: Jake Odorizzi has simply been the Twins best starting pitcher since the beginning of August. If you want the hot hand going in to pitch game one without considering other statistics like his stats in New York, then Jake is probably your guy. Here is each starter since August.

Jake Odorizzi (50.1 IP)
3.04 ERA
2.16 FIP
4.06 K/BB
Jose Berrios (58.2 IP)
5.83 ERA
4.44 FIP
2.95 K/BB
Randy Dobnak (19.1 IP)
1.86 ERA
2.80 FIP
3.20 K/BB
Martin Perez (54.1 IP)
6.63 ERA
5.61 FIP
1.81 K/BB

Odorizzi has also accumulated 2.1 WAR since the start of August and that is good for sixth in baseball during that time period. He has definitely been the Twins best starter of late and maybe that will get him the game one start.

The bad: Over his career (2012-2019), Jake Odorizzi has not been good in Yankee Stadium. In 46.2 innings in New York, Odorizzi has a 5.40 ERA, 5.82 FIP, and a 2.3 HR/9. The worst HR/9 from anyone in baseball this season is 1.9 from Matthew Boyd so a 0.4 jump from Odorizzi in New York is definitely not good. Plus you may not have noticed but the Yankees hit the second most home runs of all time this season so the matchup with Odorizzi isn’t exactly appealing for the Twins.

Game Two

The good: There isn’t much reasoning to starting him in game two, but at least this would mean you get your top two pitchers in the first two games despite the stadium statistics. To counter the statistics on the road or at home against the Yankees, he actually reversed the curve this season. When he faced the Yankees at home this year he went four innings, giving up nine hits and 10 earned runs and when he pitched in New York he went six shutout innings. Maybe he exorcised some New York City demons this year, and deserves a start there.

The bad: If the Twins plan on letting him get a start in one of the first two games, it should be in game one so he can at least pitch again in game five if need be. For me personally, if he isn’t going to be the game one pitcher and the Twins want to go with Jose Berrios, then push Odorizzi to game three at home. It may all depend on the results of game one, but I doubt that is how Baldelli will set up his rotation. Let Dobnak take game two.

Game Three

The good: Odorizzi has been slightly better at home this season with a 3.42 ERA compared to a 3.62 road ERA. Also, when he has faced the Yankees away from New York he has 52.2 IP, a 4.10 ERA, 4.23 FIP, and 1.4 HR/9 in his career which is a full home run lower than when he is in New York (stupid right field porch). Jake Odorizzi is a fly ball pitcher who allowed the sixth most fly balls (44.3%) in baseball this season so Target Field suits him better than the little league stadium in New York.

The bad: If you wait until game three to pitch Odorizzi, then you will definitely only get him for one game in the series and you risk being down 2-0 in the series because you waited on pitching one of your better pitchers. Personally I would take that risk and wait for game three where you can maximize his potential for a good game. Hoping for Berrios or Dobnak to pitch well enough to take a game in New York shouldn’t be too much to ask.

What do you think? What should the rotation look like? Leave a comment below and discuss.

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34 Comments

I think the Twins should have him start game 1 and take him out at the first sign of trouble. He's been the Twins most consistent starter this year so having him get a chance at 2 games (game 1 and potentially game 4 or 5) would be good.

 

You mentioned he hasn't had great career success at Yankee stadium, but he gave the Twins 6 innings of shutout baseball there this year. Keep that trend going, Jake.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and MN_ExPat like this

I agree on game one also. We need two starts from our best starter. I think just about anyone will give up an extra home run per game while pitching in New York

Yes, he has been the hottest of the established pitchers and it is not fair to give Dobnak the ball in game one. 

Game one Odorizzi

Two Dobnak

Three Berrios to clinch

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Old Twins Cap
Oct 02 2019 09:13 PM

The Yanks are going to foul him off to death.

 

Odorizzi will throw 100 pitches in less than five innings.

 

That high fastball is going in the 1B stands, the 3B stands, behind the plate, down the lines.

 

Twins will have to hit to win this series.

    • lukeduke1980 and bighat like this

I would give the nod to Odorizzi. Whichever does not start game 1 should start game 3.If they just give us 5 innings fine. There is a reason we are carrying at least 9 relievers. May throw the 6th. If he does well have him throw the 7th if not then bring in Duffey for 2 and Rogers for one.Dobnak and 3 or 4 other relievers for game 2.Since Berrios is the only likely one to go more than 5 innings it would probably be a good idea to let the relievers go more than 1 inning if they throw well. Most of them have built up to that anyway

    • DocBauer likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Oct 02 2019 10:00 PM

As I've said from the beginning:

 

I do not choose my game two starter until game one is finished.

 

If the Twins lose game one, I put Odorizzi on the mound for game two because I don't want to go to Minnesota down 0-2 and he gives me the best chance of not doing that.

 

If I'm up 1-0, Odo pitches game three because running bullpen games back-to-back is probably a bad idea.

    • SQUIRREL, Steve Lein, Blake and 12 others like this

 

As I've said from the beginning:

 

I do not choose my game two starter until game one is finished.

 

If the Twins lose game one, I put Odorizzi on the mound for game two because I don't want to go to Minnesota down 0-2 and he gives me the best chance of not doing that.

 

If I'm up 1-0, Odo pitches game three because running bullpen games back-to-back is probably a bad idea.

 

Agree with this take. I'm on board with this.

 

As I've said from the beginning:

 

I do not choose my game two starter until game one is finished.

 

If the Twins lose game one, I put Odorizzi on the mound for game two because I don't want to go to Minnesota down 0-2 and he gives me the best chance of not doing that.

 

If I'm up 1-0, Odo pitches game three because running bullpen games back-to-back is probably a bad idea.

Makes a lot of sense.But something way in the back of my mind is telling me the best pitching performance of the first three games will come from Dobnak...together with a couple/three relievers for innings 6-9.So no matter the results of game 1, I would trot Dobnak out to the mound for game 2.

    • wavedog, Dantes929, woolywoolhouse and 5 others like this
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Thebigalguy
Oct 03 2019 07:15 AM

Tough call. I'd start Berrios Game 1 on a very, very short leash. Recently, we have no idea what we get with him on the mound, but at his best he's the best we have. Our strength is our relief pitchers this year since the All Star game. Game 2: Dobnak. Go with the hot hand. Let's take advantage of that. Odorizzi: Game 3. Finish off the Yankees at home with Jake. If we don't sweep, we use our best, the relief pitchers, in the last two games unless Berrios shows us what he's made of. It's catch as catch can against the Yankees. The taste of that game we led 8-2 and lost 14-12 hasn't disappeared yet. As far as I'm concerned, everybody on the pitching staff is on a very short leash.

    • Kelly Vance, DocBauer, JoshDungan1 and 1 other like this

Which of our 'aces' is more likely to lose it quickly? We know when Berrios starts to go bad, it goes downhill quickly. Yet, the team I think feels he is THE ace still and will get game one. Dobnak is the wild card here. We don't know how he will perform under the great pressure of post season against the Yankee monster.

 

I see Berrios, Dobnak and Odorizzi in that order. But I also agree fully that they are all on short leashes. I don't have strong feelings on any of this actually. And I'm betting the Yankees are struggling with their rotation in the same way. Lots of question marks.

    • MN_ExPat likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Oct 03 2019 07:43 AM

 

Makes a lot of sense.But something way in the back of my mind is telling me the best pitching performance of the first three games will come from Dobnak...together with a couple/three relievers for innings 6-9.So no matter the results of game 1, I would trot Dobnak out to the mound for game 2.

I get it, I wonder the same thing myself... but that's a gut feeling not based in reality. Any quick hook you give Dobnak, you can give Odorizzi. 

 

And who is the better pitcher? That's pretty clear. It's Odorizzi. The only thing that convinces us Dobnak will be good is his quick hook, not actual talent.

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ToddlerHarmon
Oct 03 2019 07:43 AM
Maybe turn the question inside out. Who do you want to pitch twice in Yankee Stadium if necessary? Berrios. So he starts game two and five. Odo thus starts one and 4, with a short leash in one, knowing that Berrios can save the bullpen in 2.
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Brock Beauchamp
Oct 03 2019 07:47 AM

Maybe turn the question inside out. Who do you want to pitch twice in Yankee Stadium if necessary? Berrios. So he starts game two and five. Odo thus starts one and 4, with a short leash in one, knowing that Berrios can save the bullpen in 2.

On regular rest, I want Odorizzi. Berrios is more sink or swim while Odorizzi is more of a steady performer, especially in the second half.

It’s interesting to me how Twins fans look upon those two pitchers so differently when Odorizzi has been a slightly better pitcher in 2019.
    • Twins33 and MN_ExPat like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Oct 03 2019 09:04 AM

 

As I've said from the beginning:

 

I do not choose my game two starter until game one is finished.

 

If the Twins lose game one, I put Odorizzi on the mound for game two because I don't want to go to Minnesota down 0-2 and he gives me the best chance of not doing that.

 

If I'm up 1-0, Odo pitches game three because running bullpen games back-to-back is probably a bad idea.

 

I like you're reasoning, but I really think the best chance for us to win has him pitching in game 3...

 

I do think Berrios starts. I go with Dobnak for game 2 and plan on that being a pen game if needed. Mainly because a HR heavy lineup with a fly ball heavy staff in a short porch means slug fest... Nothing against Odo, but every one of our pitchers will give up some runs, and I think he gives up more a Yankee stadium than TF... I open with him at home. Dobnak is a ground ball guy... that's a guy you want pitching in band box. 

    • 70charger, Dman, DocBauer and 1 other like this

Maybe turn the question inside out. Who do you want to pitch twice in Yankee Stadium if necessary? Berrios. So he starts game two and five. Odo thus starts one and 4, with a short leash in one, knowing that Berrios can save the bullpen in 2.


I doubt we'll see this coaching staff start anyone on short rest.

I go Odorizzi, Dobnak, Berrios and then see what happens.Use Perez out of the pen in the first three, if needed.This also gives you the option of starting Odorizzi in Game 4 on short rest, if the Twins are down 2-1.I think we start with our most consistent pitcher and set that pitcher up to pitch again in the series if needed.

 

I get it, I wonder the same thing myself... but that's a gut feeling not based in reality. Any quick hook you give Dobnak, you can give Odorizzi. 

 

And who is the better pitcher? That's pretty clear. It's Odorizzi. The only thing that convinces us Dobnak will be good is his quick hook, not actual talent.

Who was the better pitcher in 2019 and who will be the better pitcher in the future may be two different answers.Will Dobnak be one of those guys who has been passed over his entire life, a person who has a bulldog mentality who continues to prove everyone wrong?I don't know the answer, but I will not rule out that he has a chance to be that pitcher.So to me, it isn't clear who the better pitcher will be going forward...beginning sometime this weekend.

I go Odorizzi, Dobnak, Berrios and then see what happens. Use Perez out of the pen in the first three, if needed. This also gives you the option of starting Odorizzi in Game 4 on short rest, if the Twins are down 2-1. I think we start with our most consistent pitcher and set that pitcher up to pitch again in the series if needed.


Odorizzi has never once started on short rest, in his entire career.
I really doubt this staff will try it for the first time now. Could be available for a couple innings out of the bullpen though.

 

Odorizzi has never once started on short rest, in his entire career.
I really doubt this staff will try it for the first time now. Could be available for a couple innings out of the bullpen though.

 

In a win or go home playoff game, anything is possible.Strasburg never had a relief appearance in his entire career until two nights ago.If he is the best option in a game you need to win, it becomes more tempting to go with him even if he only gives you a few innings.

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mendozaline
Oct 03 2019 10:12 AM

I think Dobnak is better suited to throw at Yankee Stadium than Odo. I'm predicting Dobnak goes 5.1 giving up 2 runs in whichever game he starts and we have a 3-2 or 4-2 lead when he exits. He just seems to get the job done lately. 

    • DocBauer and DannySD like this

Which of our 'aces' is more likely to lose it quickly?

I think there is a high chance of either Berrios or Odorizzi giving up early runs, but I also trust them to bear down and put that behind them. If their stuff is good, I hope the manager doesn't give either of them the early hook. But you can't afford to be down 6-0 in the third inning either. The hook does have to be quicker than in the regular season. The good news, if any, is that an early shower could mean a second chance sooner in the same series.

Typical pre game type of discussionbut who pitches what game is far less important than how who ever pitches what game is able to execute their pitches and, above all, be the aggressor on the mound as opposed to being afraid of balls flying over the fences. I can still see Ervin Santana taking the mound with a 2-0 lead in the first inning and having no idea where the strike zone was or, worse, being afraid to throw a strike. Just go get 'em.

I think I would lean to Odorizzi in Game 1, Dobnak in game 2 and then Berrios at Home.I don't know this as fact but I am guessing Odorizzi would handle the pressure of the first start better and he has pitched better down the stretch. Dobnak I want for Yankee stadium since he is more prone to throw grounders. Not sure what to do for Game #4 if necessary. Since the series is play 2 games then a day rest, play 2 games then a day rest I think our best relievers can go back-to-back games if we want to have game #4 be a reliever game.All hands on deck for game #5

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yarnivek1972
Oct 03 2019 01:28 PM

As I've said from the beginning:

I do not choose my game two starter until game one is finished.

If the Twins lose game one, I put Odorizzi on the mound for game two because I don't want to go to Minnesota down 0-2 and he gives me the best chance of not doing that.

If I'm up 1-0, Odo pitches game three because running bullpen games back-to-back is probably a bad idea.


If that is true, he should start game one. I don’t happen to believe it’s true. Most of the Yankee hitters have seen Odorizzi. A lot. No one has seen Dobnak. Scouts only can tell you so much. Until you actually stand in against the guy, you just don’t know what to expect.

I would go Odorizzi, Dobnak, Berrios. Simply because I think Berrios is the guy who will most “feed” off the home crowd.

I also don’t agree with “wait and see” before setting the next game starter. There’s a reason why literally no team does that. Ever. Sure, injuries and rainouts can cause a rotation to get shuffled during the season. But teams don’t do it needlessly.

I guess my question is could they piggyback Berrios/Odo in Game 1 a la Scherzer/Strasburg?It is my understanding that Stras will pitch again early in the LDS because they treated the Wild Card game as a side-session day.If that is possible, I might go Berrios for 2 trips through the lineup and if the game is going the Twins way back him up with Odo for 2 innings to bridge the middle innings.Then, he can come back and Start Game 3.Dobnak gets Game 2.if the game is not going the Twins way they can mop up Game 1 and start Odo Game 2. 

 


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