Ray uneven vs. Rox; what's next for lefty?

August 27th, 2020

With each passing loss, the D-backs are making it harder and harder for general manager Mike Hazen to justify being a buyer before Monday’s Trade Deadline.

Wednesday night’s 8-7 loss to the Rockies was the eighth in row for the last-place D-backs, who fell to six games under .500.

“I think we’re going to have to take a more measured approach to how we’re looking at things and see how the next few days play out,” Hazen said prior to Wednesday’s game. “We have certainly put ourselves in an adverse position relative to both the standings and the Trade Deadline, in my opinion. We’re going to have a lot of conversations around a lot of different things, but I’m not sure how aggressive we’re going to be on the ‘buy’ side.”

With Hazen seemingly hitting the pause button when it comes to buying, the question becomes how active they will be when it comes to selling.

One candidate to be moved is , who had another uneven outing Wednesday. While the D-backs left-hander allowed just two runs on two hits and struck out eight, he walked six and took 99 pitches to get through four innings.

Ray has scrapped the mechanical changes he made during the offseason, as well as the ones he has tried out over his first five starts of the year, as he struggles to find consistent command.

One thing that he found helped Wednesday was throttling back just a few miles per hour with his fastball to better control it.

If he’s aware of the trade talk out there that involves him, Ray is doing his best to tune it out.

“I'm focused on going out and giving my team the chance to win,” he said. “I think that's the biggest thing. Obviously, the noise is out there, but you do your best to cancel it out.”

Ten days ago, the D-backs were riding a six-game winning streak, the offense was clicking and Hazen was talking about acquiring some bullpen help and, perhaps, bolstering the offense.

The offensive struggles have perplexed Hazen and his staff, because the lineup has proven hitters in it like David Peralta, Ketel Marte, Starling Marte and Eduardo Escobar, to name a few.

“I look at our lineup and I try to think of ways we could go out and make significant differences to it, and I think that’s not necessarily reasonable,” Hazen said. “Again, adding a platoon side to the bottom part of your order is not going to transform your offense. What’s going to transform your offense is getting your eight or nine guys in there on a daily basis to click together.”

There’s a temptation for Hazen to write off the offensive struggles because of the fact that they’ve only played 32 of what is usually a 162-game season, but this isn’t the first time the D-backs have had prolonged offensive issues.

“You know, May 2018, September 2018, there were stretches last year when we went through it for extended periods,” Hazen said. “I think that’s one of the separator things that we, as an organization, need to figure out.”

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And time is running short when it comes to turning things around on the field and making trade decisions off it.

There are just 28 games left in the season -- still time to chase a playoff spot, but not enough time to waste.

And off the field, the clock is ticking as well, with the Trade Deadline coming up on Monday.

“We are 25th or worse in every major offensive category,” Hazen said. “So when you take that in aggregate and lay it over run scoring, it’s not something I just feel like we can just -- I don’t like using the word hope. And hoping that it’s just going to rectify itself. We’re trying to differentiate the reaction that’s appropriate over 60 games [and] that I don’t have an answer to.

“I’m trying to determine what the reaction should be, laying over historical vs. short-term results, etc., etc. In and around those areas are sort of the topics that we’re spending time discussing.”