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Arizona Diamondbacks – poor fifth inning dooms Ray

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Robbie Ray (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Robbie Ray (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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For Robbie Ray, a left-hander for the Arizona Diamondbacks, trying to find the final out of the fifth inning was difficult

For most of the season, Chip Hale, manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, tells listeners getting the third out of any inning is the most difficult. Rallies could have teams on edge at any time, but the reality of getting the final out seems a consequence Diamondbacks’ pitchers cannot master this season.

For clear evidence, point no further than the Washington Nationals’ fifth inning Tuesday night. That’s when Robbie Ray, the starter for the Arizona Diamondbacks, was locked in 2-2 deadlock during that fateful frame. Here, the left-hander from Brentwood, Tenn. failed to get that third out, the Nationals scored four runs and that rally carried Washington to a 10-4 victory over the Diamondbacks before 19,919 in Chase Field.

After getting the initial two hitters out in the fifth, Ray surrendered a single to Daniel Murphy and walked clean-up hitter Anthony Rendon. Despite getting ahead of catcher Wilson Ramos at 1-2, Ray was torched by the next pitch. That’s when Ramos belted his 16th bomb of the year, and Ray quickly fell behind by three runs. Chris Heisey then followed on the next pitch, delivered his fifth of the season into the left-field bleachers, and Ray then left trailing by four runs.

“I had the first two in that inning and then the single and walk,” Ray said. “The pitch to Ramos was down and he reached for it. I thought it was a good pitch, and it’s frustrating. It all starts with the starters, and we’ll figure it out. I’ll go home now, spend time with my family, and then back here tomorrow.”

Over recent starts, Ray displayed the kind of future the Arizona Diamondbacks see from this left-hander. With an exploding fast ball and deceptive breaking curve and change, Ray shows the kind of potential the organization hopes will turn quickly into results.

Perhaps in the future, but not on this night.

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“(Ray) was hurt on a fast ball to Ramos, and he did not locate,” said Hale. “Location up here is so important. You can’t make a mistake to those (Washington) hitters.”

In this one, Yasmany Tomas broke an early 1-1 tie with his 18th home run with one out in the second. The Nationals came back to tie on run-producing single from Wilmer Difo in the fourth. Then, Ray could not get out of that momentous fifth inning.

“The guys are battling their heart out,” Hale added. “Right now, the relievers are not putting up zeros. When you do that, it’s hard to limit the damage.”

With the 10 runs allowed and 15 hits gathered by the Nationals Tuesday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching staff has allowed 38 runs and 51 hits over its’ last three games. In these contests, the opposition is averaging 17 hits and 12.6 runs. Clearly, this is not a formula for success.

Next: La Russa will not move core players

Before leaving town

The Nationals and Diamondbacks conclude the series with a Wednesday matinee at 12:40 p.m. Righty Zack Godley (3-1, 5.63 ERA) takes on former Diamondback Max Scherzer (11-6, 2.95). Then, the Milwaukee Brewers move in for a three-game, weekend set, and that concludes the current home stand.

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