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Six-man rotation kicks in as Astros, Cristian Javier face Rangers

Sportsnaut
Apr 26, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (2) scores past Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim (28) during the sixth inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

From an individual perspective, Houston Astros veteran right-hander Jake Odorizzi was in desperate need of something positive and the performance he delivered on Tuesday certainly qualified.

Odorizzi worked six strong innings in the Astros’ 5-1 road victory over the Texas Rangers, a win that enabled Houston to square this four-game series with the third game set for Wednesday.

From a macro perspective, the Astros needed Odorizzi to give them some length. Houston is in the midst of playing 17 consecutive days and is scheduled to play 33 games in 34 days.

Astros manager Dusty Baker will utilize a six-man rotation to alleviate some stress on his starters, with right-handed reliever Cristian Javier set to make his first start of the season on Wednesday.

After allowing six runs (three earned) on two hits and four walks while recording only two outs in his last start against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, Odorizzi surrendered one hit and retired the final 12 batters he faced against Texas.

Odorizzi not only helped himself with his performance, he boosted the entire pitching staff.

“We needed it, our bullpen needed it,” Baker said. “We needed the win. The last outing was a little rough so it was good to see him smiling after the game and feel good about himself.”

Javier (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his 20th career start. He is 9-3 with a 3.35 ERA over 51 career appearances (19 starts).

He has made three scoreless relief appearances this season, allowing five hits and one walk with 12 strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings. Javier logged 3 2/3 innings in his previous outing in the ramp-up for this start, allowing three hits and one walk with four strikeouts against the Angels on April 20.

Javier is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA over eight career appearances (four starts) against the Rangers, including a 1-0 record and 2.79 ERA over six appearances (two starts) last season, with 23 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.

Right-hander Glenn Otto (1-0, 1.80 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the Rangers. He made his season debut against the Oakland Athletics on Friday, allowing one run on two hits and one walk with five strikeouts over five innings in an 8-1 victory, the first of his career.

Otto replaced Jon Gray in the rotation after Gray landed on the 10-day injured list for the second time.

A Houston native and Rice University product, Otto is 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA over two career starts against the Astros, with both coming at home.

Otto made his major league debut against Houston and twirled five shutout innings on Aug. 27, 2021, but did not factor into the decision. In his second outing against the Astros, he surrendered seven runs on seven hits and four walks over 3 1/3 innings on Sept. 16, 2021.

Unlike Odorizzi, the Rangers did not get the rebound performance they were seeking from left-hander Taylor Hearn, who entered Tuesday having allowed eight runs on 11 hits and five walks over 6 2/3 innings in his last two starts.

The Astros tagged Hearn for four runs on five hits and one walk over five innings, leaving more questions over how to get his issues ironed out.

“Overall it was just average,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “Better than last time but not quite what we were looking for, obviously.”

–Field Level Media