ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Sedona Red Recap: D-backs’ Ray gets roughed up early in loss to Nats

Jul 23, 2017, 6:14 PM | Updated: 8:01 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the first i...

Arizona Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray struggled early in the series finale against the Nationals, allowing Washington to run away with the game before his D-backs could swing a bat.

The Nats’ 6-2 win Sunday at Chase Field gave them the three-game series win. At 33-27, Washington currently has the best road record in the National League.

Ray’s first inning was a disaster.

He gave up a leadoff home run to Brian Goodwin followed by singles to Wilmer Difo and Bryce Harper. Difo scored on an RBI sac fly by Ryan Zimmerman, and Harper scored on a RBI single by Anthony Rendon. Ray also walked David Murphy, who was driven in by a Jose Lobaton single, to put the D-backs down 4-0 after one.

Ray settled in after that, but his pitch count was at 39 after the first frame. He gave up a pair of singles to Zimmerman and Murphy in the third inning, with Zimmerman scoring on a fielder’s choice.

Ray went five innings and allowed five runs, four of which were earned, on six hits. He struck out four and walked two batters.

Washington’s starter Stephen Strasburg had an even shorter outing than Ray, but it wasn’t due to performance. Strasburg was seemingly rolling along in the second inning. He walked Gregor Blanco and Robbie Ray with two outs, but he then struck out Daniel Descalso with a nasty curveball to end the inning.

The Nationals brought in Matt Grace to start the third inning despite Strasburg having a lead with a low pitch count. He was spotted with trainers in the tunnel who were looking at his pitching elbow and told reporters he had “achiness” in his forearm, per the Associated Press.

Strasburg went 2.0 innings, allowing one hit and no runs. He struck out two and walked three.

The D-backs continued to fight against the Nationals’ relievers, with Ketel Marte and David Peralta both recording RBI singles in the fifth inning to bring the score within three runs, but that’s the closest the D-backs would get.

THE GOOD

In the seventh inning, left fielder J.D. Martinez returned from his left hand contusion injury suffered Thursday to play for the first time at home since being acquired from the Tigers. He walked in a pinch-hit appearance for pitcher T.J. McFarland but was left stranded when Chris Herrmann struck out to end the inning.

After having the first inning go completely off the rails, Ray settled down and only allowed two hits and one more earned run to score before his day ended. Unfortunately, his pitch count was done in by his 39-pitch first inning.

D-backs hitters showed patience when things weren’t going their way, with seven walks against Nationals’ pitching.

THE BAD

The D-backs bats were cold once again, especially with runners in scoring position. D-backs were 2-for-11 with RISP and left 11 runners on base.

The D-backs fielding error Sunday was only their third error in their last 14 games.

Paul Goldschmidt went 0 for 2 with two strikeouts and two walks. Goldy’s last multi-hit game was July 16 against the Braves and he’s only had two multi-hit games in July.

STAT OF THE GAME

21-21: Arizona is 37-18 when they don’t commit an error and 21-21 when they do.

HE SAID IT

“Obviously it’s pitch execution,” manager Torey Lovullo said of Ray’s struggles in the first inning. “There’s a number of opportunities there were created by balls out over the plate. The solo home run was a very well hit ball that was out over the plate – I don’t think it was exactly where he wanted to throw it – it gave them their first run and from that point on it just continued to spiral in a very negative way for him …”

NOTED

– The D-backs have reinstated Taijuan Walker from the Paternity List. Anthony Banda was optioned to Triple-A Reno. Walker will pitch on Tuesday against the Braves.

– Bryce Harper obtained hits in all three games against Arizona, stretching his career-high hit streak to 16 games.

– The series crowd in attendance at Chase Field for these three games against the Nationals was 109,754, which is the most for a three game series this season.

– Game time temperature outside was 99 degrees while it was 77 degrees inside. The roof and panels were closed.

UP NEXT

The D-backs take on the Atlanta Braves in a three-game set at Chase Field. In game one, Arizona’s ace Zack Greinke will oppose right-hander R.A. Dickey for the Braves.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

To say that Greinke has been good at home is an understatement. In 11 games at Chase Field, he is 9-0 with a 2.41 ERA, .192 opponent average, .230 opponent OPS, 89 strikeouts, and 13 walks.

In his seven career starts against Atlanta, Greinke is 2-1 with a 3.07 ERA.

In his 15th major league season, R.A. Dickey has a 6-6 record in 19 games started for the Braves with a 4.14 ERA and 78 strikeouts. In his four career starts against Arizona, Dickey is 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA and 19 strikeouts.

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Sedona Red Recap: D-backs’ Ray gets roughed up early in loss to Nats