ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs’ Robbie Ray not ready to call himself ace after Greinke trade

Aug 7, 2019, 7:06 PM | Updated: Aug 8, 2019, 9:11 am

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray (38) throws against the Baltimore Orioles during t...

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray (38) throws against the Baltimore Orioles during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, July 22, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

All signs were pointing to the Arizona Diamondbacks trading starter Robbie Ray at the MLB trade deadline.

However, that didn’t happen.

Instead, the team traded its ace Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros for four prospects.

Now Ray is seemingly the D-backs’ ace in their rotation moving forward.

He is 10-7 with a 4.03 ERA and has 178 strikeouts in 24 starts this season.

Ray joined 98.7 FM’s Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta to discuss his thoughts leading up to the deadline and how the team will perform moving forward.

“Everyone was kinda expecting some kind of move to happen,” Ray said. “But the deadline passed and I was still here. I hadn’t heard anything past four o’clock so at that point I just kinda changed my mindset and said ‘alright here we go, let’s make a push.'”

When asked if he’s the ace of the D-backs staff now, Ray didn’t want to directly label himself as one.

“I try not to look too deep into that, put any kind of labels on anything,” he said. “I’m trying to go out there every five days and do my job the best that I can and if people want to say that I’m the ace, that’s fine, I’ll take that. But I’m not going to self proclaim myself as it.”

The D-backs won two out of three from the Washington Nationals this past weekend and are looking to win the series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

Ray believes the team can get on a roll with their recent success.

“I definitely think so after the past two series, including this one,” Ray said.

“We had a couple of games where the bats were a little dead or the starting pitching wasn’t as great, but the 18-run game against the Nationals and then last night just pouring it on the Phillies there at the end. I think we do have the ability to go on a roll right now.”

Arizona is 26-28 at home this year, which has been an issue all season long for the team.

The offense, in particular, has struggled at Chase Field. The D-backs are averaging 4.76 runs per game at home compared to 5.62 on the road.

The new artificial turf and addition of the humidor have been brought up as possible reasons for the offensive woes at Chase Field this season.

However, it has to do more with a lack of executing, Ray said.

“We had a game against the Nationals where we put up 18 runs, so we’re capable of it,” he said. “I’m not going to say anything is one cause of it. It just seems like it kinda gets blown out of proportion a little bit, because it seems like we do lose more games at home.

“I don’t know if it has anything to do with the turf or the humidor or whatever you want to blame it on. I think it’s just a lack of going out there and executing when we need to.”

Ray’s 3.9 walks per nine innings are the seventh-most in all of baseball.

But in his last two games, he hasn’t allowed a walk, something he hadn’t done all year.

“I think it’s just pounding the zone early and getting ahead of guys,” Ray said on why he’s been walking fewer batters lately.

“When I’m aggressive in the zone, it makes my swing-and-miss pitches a lot better. When I get ahead of guys, hitters are less comfortable in pitchers counts, so if I can get 0-2, 1-2 on a guy, he’s more likely to chase a pitch that I want him to.”

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