Despite struggles, Ray still has No. 2 starter potential
By Joseph Jacquez
Zack Greinke is finally starting to look like an ace– he’s 7-1 with a 2.57 ERA over his last nine starts. This is good news for the Diamondbacks, who have not seen pitching like this all season prior to Greinke’s streak.
However, the rotation can’t be effective with just one man pitching well– even the great Greinke. The other four guys have to allow fewer runs, and that hasn’t been the case for Robbie Ray this year.
This is unfortunate because Ray has the potential to be a No. 2 starter. He throws great stuff, as a lefty with a high-90’s fastball. That combination can be deadly as Chris Sale has proven during his career, although it’s safe to say Ray won’t be Sale.
In his time with the Diamondbacks, he has had trouble repeating his delivery; he walks to many batters, and he has struggled to put away batters. Foul balls hurt him, and as a result he often throws to high pitch counts.
He taxes the bullpen, his fastball command hasn’t been consistent and it looks like he is trying to nitpick with the top and middle of the order instead of attacking while knowing where misses have to be.
But many forget that Ray is only 24, and his struggles are all apart of a process that will take time. He has a 4.37 earned run average in 13 starts this season. In 69.0 innings pitched, he has given up ten home runs, and is walking just over four batters per nine innings. The swing-and-miss stuff is there: he is striking out ten batters per nine, but his command is wild.
His numbers prove that it’s still a work in progress, and the Diamondbacks have to be patient because it might be starting to pay off. Ray put everything together in his outing this weekend against the Marlins leading his team to a series victory in what is easily his best effort as a Diamondback.
He allowed three hits, struck out six, and he walked just one. He threw a career-high 116 pitches and more importantly he did it while getting past the sixth inning for the first time in four starts. It’s clear Ray had to make a statement with Zack Godley pitching well, and Shelby Miller close to coming back, and he responded.
Ray said that he gets nervous on the mound, and that causes him to rush his mechanics, and on Sunday he was able to breathe, settle down, and repeat his simple delivery, and a single Marlins hitter didn’t reach second.
Chip Hale said that this was the best outing he ever saw from Ray. If he can take this start into his next starts, than the Diamondbacks are going to be much better off.