Robbie Ray has the lowest ERA on the Arizona Diamondbacks among the four regular pieces of the rotation, but is the only one below .500. Even worse, Ray picked up his tenth loss Tuesday night. Why is that the case?
On Tuesday, Ray got behind early, giving up four runs in the first inning and six overall. While Ray got himself in trouble, the D-backs scored only one run in the game and Ray’s lack of run support has been a major theme of his season.
Ray averages the second-least run support out of all pitchers in Major League Baseball who have pitched at least 80 innings. His 2.63 average of run support is only trailing the 2.31 Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals gets, who ironically enough he faced Tuesday night.
In fact, Ray isn’t alone. Chase Anderson ranks 109th out of the 138 pitchers who qualify for the statistic, with an of 3.59 runs of support.
The oddity of the statistic is that the D-backs are one of the best offensive teams in the Majors. They are fourth in runs scored, second in hits, and fifth in batting average.
Jeremy Hellickson and Rubby De La Rosa get their fair share of run support. Hellickson is 43rd on that list and De La Rosa is sixth.
While it’s primarily just one issue, there are a couple of smaller things worth noting. Ray averages 4.07 pitches per plate appearance, which is the highest among those four starters and above the league average of 3.78. That’s attributed to how often he gets behind 3-0 in the count at 4.9%, highest among the four starters and also above the league average.
Ray is having his own struggles this month. He hasn’t been into the seventh inning in August and has given up more than eight baserunners in four of his last five starts. His last start in which he gave up less than three runs was on July 7 — the last time he earned a victory.
However, Tuesday was Ray’s only start when he gave up more than four runs and that should be enough on most nights for a team that averages around 4.5 runs per game. The repeated pattern of failed run support for their best starting pitcher of the season is not something that can continue if the D-backs want to make the playoffs.
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