Ray frustrated despite D-backs' big win

Left-hander tagged for three runs in 4 1/3 innings against Padres

August 18th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Robbie Ray didn't come away with a win Friday night even though the D-backs beat the Padres, 9-4, at Petco Park.

And the left-hander knew there was one person to blame for that.

"It was all on me," Ray said.

When Ray struggles, it's not because of a lack of stuff. He's got a mid-90s fastball, a sharp backfoot slider to go with it and a slower breaking pitch, too.

What he hasn't always had lately is something that he had for much of his dominant 2017 season: consistent command.

Ray allowed just two hits over 4 1/3 innings, but he walked five and the Padres worked deep counts against him, pushing his pitch count to 107.

"I was trying to give him every opportunity to get through that fifth inning," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

After the game, Ray's frustration was evident.

While he may have barked occasionally at home plate umpire James Hoye during the game, Ray pointed the finger for the struggles at himself.

"It was all self-inflicted," Ray said. "I walked too many guys and that was the only way they scored. It's frustrating. I thought the pitches were close, but honestly, [Hoye] had them right. I went back and looked at them. They were just off on some pitches. In crucial situations like that, I'm trying to get a call, but it's tough. They got two hits tonight, walked five. It was all on me."

Ray was a huge part of the D-backs' success last season, going 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA. If the D-backs are to make the postseason for a second consecutive season, they'll need him to be that once again. Their win Friday maintained their one-game lead over the second-place Rockies in the National League West.

Early in the season, Ray's velocity was down a few ticks and he didn't feel his stuff was as good. After a stint on the disabled list with an oblique strain, he felt like his stuff was better, but his command wasn't as sharp.

"When I came off the DL last year, I hardly walked anybody," Ray said. "It wasn't the case this year. I've had a little command issue. I just need to get back to what I do best, and that's pound the zone. I've got too good of stuff to be pitching around the zone. I've just got to attack guys and then my offspeed stuff gets better."

For now, he'll get back to work in his between-starts bullpen session and see if he can figure out any mechanical issues he might have that would cause a lack of command.

"All I can do is I can go into my next bullpen session, watch video, see what I'm doing and compare it to when I'm at my best," Ray said. "And just try to mimic that. I don't really have too many answers, but that's probably my best bet."


Tacking on: While the D-backs led from the first inning, the game was still very much in doubt after the Padres scored a run in the fifth to pull to 5-3. In the sixth, though, Steven Souza Jr. delivered a two-out, two-strike double to the gap in right-center that scored three runs and gave the D-backs some breathing room.

"We had some big moments throughout the course of the game, but I thought none bigger than Steven Souza's three-run double," Lovullo said. "It came at a huge time of the game where the momentum was maybe neutral, but with one swing of the bat, he brought it right back to us."


D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed earned his second career ejection in the third inning when he disputed a called third strike by Hoye. The umpire let Ahmed have his say and third base coach Tony Perezchica and Lovullo tried to walk Ahmed back to the dugout, but he continued to complain and Hoye ejected him.

Playing with a short bench already due to carrying an extra arm in the bullpen and with out with an illness, Lovullo could not have been happy to lose Ahmed at that early juncture in the game.

However, Lovullo declined to comment on his feelings after the game, saying he first wanted to share them with Ahmed.

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"There were spurts in there where I thought he was making pitches and he was going to get on a roll, but he just could never really get it going." -- Lovullo, on Ray


The D-backs take on the Padres in the third game of this four-game set Saturday night at Petco Park, with first pitch set for 5:40 p.m. MST. (13-6, 4.20 ERA) will get the start for the D-backs, and the right-hander has been on a roll of late. Over his last three starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and has held opposing hitters to a .183 mark in those games. The Padres will counter with (7-10, 4.98).