“He’s probably doing better than it looked like on the mound,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He has to go get analyzed by the doctors tomorrow, and so we’ll have more word tomorrow. He’s on crutches and he was in a boot, [but] he’s in good spirits so … we hope for the best.”
After throwing a cutter to Kiké Hernández, Odorizzi went face down to the right of the mound. Hernández sent the pitch directly to first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who recorded the out at first. It appeared that Odorizzi attempted to run to cover first, but immediately hit the ground as he left the mound. Head trainer Jeremiah Randall and the Astros’ training staff came out and Odorizzi exited on a stretcher, not putting any weight on his left leg.
Odorizzi recently found his form after struggling through his first three starts of the season. In Monday’s opener, the right-hander retired the first nine batters he faced on 32 pitches. Odorizzi ran into trouble in the fourth, giving up two singles and walking a batter before Hernández scored on an Alex Verdugo flyout.
“I mean, that was big,” Baker said. “He came into camp in great spirits, in great shape, and he was throwing the ball great. You know he’s a strong guy; this is a temporary setback. We still got a long way to go and hopefully, we’ll get him back and he’ll return the way he left.”
With the players shaken up after Odorizzi’s exit, Houston tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the 6th inning. Michael Brantley opened with a ground-rule double before back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Gurriel, who hit a sac fly to score Brantley.
“It’s a downer, but you realize it’s part of the game,” Baker said. “They had it on video and I looked at it once, and I didn’t want to look at it anymore because it looked ugly. … This team picks each other up, and that’s what we did tonight.”
To add insult to injury, a sudden downpour resulted in the tarp coming out after the third out of the top half of the 6th.
One hour and 38 minutes later, the Astros turned to a taxed bullpen to take over for Odorizzi. With Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryne Stanek unavailable after the last series against the Nationals, Phil Maton came out for the 6th. The righty struggled with his command, hitting Xander Bogaerts with a pitch and later giving up a game-tying home run to Trevor Story in the 7th.
Right-hander Héctor Neris got the ball in the 8th and gave up three runs on a J.D. Martinez go-ahead double and Xander Bogaerts homer. Entering Monday, Neris had given up just one earned run across 16 innings.
“Just a couple mistakes down the heart of the plate,” Baker said. “[Neris has] been great, he’s been great for us, and everybody is going to have a rough night. And it was a rough night for him, but you know the way he’s been pitching, he’ll bounce back from this big time.”
With the Astros recently using a six-man rotation during a stretch of 33 games in 34 days, Cristian Javier would be a natural fit to fill Odorizzi’s spot for the time being. After giving up just two earned runs in his first six appearances (two starts), Javier struggled in his last outing against the Nationals on Saturday, giving up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. Right-hander Seth Martinez, who is on the Astros’ taxi squad, is also an option tomorrow, per Baker.