Jake Odorizzi aspires to throw any one of his four pitches in any count. To do that, he must be able throw any of the four in the strike zone.
On Friday, Odorizzi reaped the results of doing both.
The Royals prospect earned his first Carolina League win by striking out 10 over seven innings as the Wilmington Blue Rocks blanked the Winston-Salem Dash, 4-0.
Odorizzi (1-0), MLB.com's No. 37 prospect, reached double digits in strikeouts for the second consecutive outing and yielded only three hits.
"Refining my pitches, I'm trying to get everything going for a strike," Odorizzi said of his repertoire, which includes a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. "Tonight was just a culmination of everything and, hopefully, some good things are to come."
While the performance represented the best of Odorizzi's first four starts in the Royals system, it didn't quite match his best as a Minor Leaguer. Pitching for Class A Wisconsin last August, the right-hander tossed eight hitless innings, hitting one batter and walking another while striking out 10.
But Odorizzi, a 2008 first-round pick who was packaged with three other Brewers for Zack Grienke last December, said he felt as strong on the mound Friday as he did late last summer.
"Last year's eight-inning game was comparable," Odorizzi said. "Everything worked, every pitch was being thrown for a strike -- getting ground balls, it was just a good game all around."
After giving up a second-inning double to Ian Gac, the Illinois native retired the next 15 batters. That streak ended in the seventh, when Jose Martinez singled and advanced to third on Andy Wilkins' double. Odorizzi stranded both runners by striking out his final batter, Kyle Shelton.
Odorizzi attributed his success to "getting ahead."
"I hit my spots early in the count and that opened up a lot of things to do later on in the account," he said.
Blue Rocks manager Brian Rupp said he was particularly impressed with Odorizzi's slider and changeup.
"He's been getting better with each start and today was by far his best," the skipper told reporters. "He kind of had the whole package today and used it well."
John Whittleman and Jose Bonilla homered in support of Odorizzi, while Nick Francis doubled to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.