TORONTO – Rougned Odor stands in front of his stall in the visitor’s locker room at Rogers Centre, one leg up on a chair. He’s thinking.
Earlier, the Texas Rangers second baseman got hit — twice — by pitches from Blue Jays ace David Price and in his next at-bat, the 21-year-old Venezuelan sent the first pitch he saw over the right field wall. Now, Odor is thinking: Has he ever seen that in a game before, when a player gets plunked twice in a row, and then follows it up with a home run on his next at-bat?
“I don’t know,” Odor says, smiling. He has a long, scraggly-looking, black goatee, and he’s soft spoken. Long sentences aren’t his thing. “I think it’s the first time I see this.”
Odor kick-started all the Rangers’ offence on Thursday, an afternoon tilt in a closed Rogers Centre that saw Texas come out with a 5-3 win in front of an amped up and then deflated crowd that had been waiting 22 years for the post-season to return to MLB’s lone Canadian franchise.
It’s pretty fitting that the guy who provided much of the offence for the visitors, who sucked the life out of the crowd here on a few occasions, is also known as “Stinky.” (It’s a play on his last name, Odor.)
He admits this is a nickname, but of his teammates, he says: “They call me more Roogie.”
Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis calls him Roogie, too.
“But I think a couple guys — the middle infield guys — give him a lot of flak,” Lewis says, smiling.
It was all praise, Thursday. Game 1 of the ALDS went like this for Odor: Price hit him for the first time in the third, to open the inning, Odor scored on a Delino DeShields single, and then Adrian Beltre cashed DeShields. It was 2-0, Texas.
The next time he was up, to open the fifth, Price hit Odor again. Price had hit only three players all regular season, and none since he joined the Blue Jays roster.
“It hurt a little bit,” Odor says. “He hit me pretty hard.”
Again, Odor took his place at first base, and again the Rangers cashed him to kick off a two-run inning, making it 4-1.
When he got up the third time, Odor figured Price was going to come at him with a cutter again, because the first time he tried the cutter, and Odor says it never cut, which is why it hit him. And on his third at-bat, he sent the first pitch he saw out of the park, to make it 5-3 Texas. “I hit it good,” Odor says.
Lewis wasn’t surprised to see Odor recover after getting hit, and come up with a big hit himself.
“Last year he came up and he’s done it at a super young age, and been able to not really worry about what’s gone on the previous appearance,” Lewis says. “He transitioned tonight, same type of game. He gets hit twice and he’s able to do it again.”
Lewis, 36, broke into the league in 2002. He’s pretty sure he’s never seen a day at the plate quite like that.
Jays veteran catcher Russell Martin isn’t sure if he’s ever seen a day quite like that, either. He doesn’t want to think about it. The 32-year-old stands in front of the his stall in the Blue Jays dressing room, dressed in a plaid green-and-blue button up and black pants, his backpack on, ready to get out of here.
“That’s a good day,” Martin says, of Odor. “Get on base three times.”
Martin didn’t know one of Odor’s nicknames was “Stinky” but he admits it’s pretty appropriate from the Blue Jays’ perspective after the night Odor had at the plate.
“Oh yeah,” Martin says. “For sure.”