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What’s on Tap: Previewing Monday’s action

Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 22: Jake Odorizzi #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on July 22, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images)

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Rays starter Jake Odorizzi had a rough first half. He went into the All-Star break with a 4.47 ERA, failing to make it through the sixth inning in his final four starts of the first half. The break must’ve been just what the doctor ordered, as he’s posted a 0.68 ERA in four second-half starts, including three consecutive scoreless appearances for a scoreless innings streak of 20 2/3.

Odorizzi, 26, broke onto the scene in 2014, posting a 4.13 ERA and averaging better than a strikeout per inning over 31 starts, finishing eighth in American League Rookie of the Year Award balloting. He followed that up by improving to a 3.35 ERA last year, cementing himself as a rotation mainstay behind Chris Archer.

Needless to say, Odorizzi’s struggles this year have been a bit perplexing. He’s seen a big increase in the rate of batted balls hit hard, going from 27 percent last year to 32.5 percent this year. He has already matched last year’s total of home runs allowed with 18 and as a percentage of fly balls, he’s up a couple of ticks. But his strikeout rate is up, his walk rate is essentially the same, and he hasn’t lost velocity or changed his pitch usage much at all.

Odorizzi will have a tough matchup on Monday night, as the Blue Jays host the Rays in a 7:07 PM EDT start. He’ll oppose knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

The rest of Monday’s action...

San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez), 7:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Rob Whalen) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Zach Davies), 7:20 PM EDT

Houston Astros (Collin McHugh) @ Minnesota Twins (Tyler Duffey), 8:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Cody Reed) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha), 8:15 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels) @ Colorado Rockies (Tyler Anderson), 8:40 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Kevin Gausman) @ Oakland Athletics (Kendall Graveman), 10:05 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers (Michael Fulmer) @ Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma), 10:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Zach Eflin) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Julio Urias), 10:10 PM EDT

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