Arizona Diamondbacks: Robbie Ray keeps team in the game
By Mark Brown
Left-hander Robbie Ray kept his team in the game and the Arizona Diamondbacks came-from-behind to gain a victory.
The mantra for most pitchers is their desire to keep their team in the game. For left-hander Robbie Ray of the Arizona Diamondbacks, that’s a common refrain each time he takes to the mound.
So often than not, Ray fails to live up to this desire. That’s because his pitch count tends to be elevated and he is usually out innings before the game is decided. In his initial start of the season Thursday against the San Francisco Giants at home, Ray keep his pitch count under control and his ability to limit any damage was noted.
In one of his better efforts in controlling the game and finding the strike zone, Ray did indeed keep his team in this game. The end result was a 9-3, come-from-behind victory over the San Francisco Giants before 15,308 in Chase Field, but Ray was encouraged by his effort.
Explaining to Venom Strikes that he understands an opponent’s scouting report, Ray now is ready to firmly attack hitters.
"I guess I know the scouring report so I need to attack the zone. Obviously the more strikes you throw, the better."
Recognizing that hitters will wait longer and reach extended pitch counts, Ray fully concentrates on first-pitch strikes. That was not the case Thursday night and he hit the strike zone only eight times among the 22 hitters he faced. Still, Ray reached 99 pitches for his 5.1 innings of work and manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes that if this game was played in June or July, Ray would have passed the century mark in pitches.
"The 100 pitches for starters seems to be the magic number. However, 100 pitches will not dictate when to take a pitcher out but, at the same time, I will not migrate from around the 100-pitch count."
If Ray held the Giants at bay, the Diamondbacks responded with a powder keg. Back-to back home runs from David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt in the fourth and a three-run bomb off the bat of Jake Lamb in the sixth ignited the victory.
Winning this series
By taking three-of-four from the Giants, the Diamondbacks captured their first series of the season. This was accomplished in Chase Field and more than one month before that achievement from last season.
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The Diamondbacks’ first series win at home in 2016 was against the New York Yankees, May 16-18. For the season, the Diamondbacks took nine series at home.
As well, this was the Diamondbacks first four-game series win over the Giants in Chase Field since Sept. 15-18, 2008.
Stick to football
Arizona Cardinals’ running back David Johnson was a pre-game visitor to Chase Field on Thursday. Occasionally, athletes from other sports stop by and take swings in the cage.
Johnson displayed little baseball ability and hit just a few out of the infield. Afterward, he told Venom Strikes, despite struggling, the encounter was positive.
I was rushing it up there, but this was a great experience. I really gained an appreciation for what baseball players do because they have so few days off.
Johnson is one of several area athletes who have taken turns in the cage. For the past few seasons, Shane Doan, captain of the NHL Arizona Coyotes and a huge baseball fan, has taken hacks. As well, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals skated after a recent Coyotes practice.
The American League champion Cleveland Indians roll into the desert for the weekend. In the series opener on Friday night, look for right-hander Shelby Miller to make his initial start of the season He draws righty Josh Tomlin as his mound opponent,
For Saturday, Zack Grienke takes on former Diamondback Trevor Bauer. In the series and home stand finale, lefty Patrick Corbin opposes former Cy Young Award winner right-handed Corey Kluber Sunday afternoon.
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Then, the Diamondbacks hit the road for a 10-game trip to San Francisco, San Diego and Dodger Stadium. They return on Friday April 21 to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.