For the second time this week, the Arizona Diamondbacks received a crucial part of their starting rotation back and in good health. The better news? This return went considerably better than the first.
Shelby Miller struggled in his return from Tommy John on Monday. He allowed five earned runs and couldn’t escape the fourth. There were some positive signs, though, that will hopefully manifest into more success in his next start. With Robbie Ray, the positive signs were not so difficult to find. In fact, they were quite obvious.
Robbie Ray tossed six innings of shutout ball on Wednesday, throwing 83 pitches in the process. He struck out six and only walked a pair, while allowing two additional hits. No opposing baserunners reached scoring position until the fourth. He didn’t get the win, but turned it over to the bullpen having done his job.
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Ray’s velocity was right where we’d expect it to be. He was averaging just over 92 on his fastball, while mixing in the slider and curve effectively. Ideally, you’d like to see 83 pitches carry you a touch farther into the game, but the Diamondbacks’ 7-8-9 combo was on point. Yoshihisa Hirano and Archie Bradley didn’t surrender a run, while Brad Boxberger did give up a solo shot. From a managerial standpoint, though, a six-inning start like that makes your life a whole lot easier.
It’s difficult to compare the starts between Miller and Ray from this week. People inevitably will, though. Miller is coming off the far more serious injury and laborious rehab. Ray, while an oblique injury is nothing to sneeze at, should see his arm in good shape. And it certainly was on Wednesday night. Ray was so dominant last year, and while he didn’t start the year off like that before the injury, getting him back is a tremendous boost.
With Miller and Ray returning, the Arizona rotation now looks to be in prime condition. Taijuan Walker‘s Tommy John is obviously a hindrance, but Miller, Ray, Zack Greinke, Zack Godley, and Patrick Corbin has the upside of one of the better rotations in the National League. Clay Buchholz, when he returns, will be good depth and, assumably, get some spot start duty out of the ‘pen.
It’ll be interesting to see how Torey Lovullo manages it all. The important thing is that Robbie Ray was fantastic on Wednesday night. His return, along with Miller’s velocity, and the recent improvements of members of the rotation, should have this rotation in really good shape moving forward.