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D-backs’ Robbie Ray fails to make it out of 1st inning in loss to Mets

Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 11, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The brutal reality of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ playoff chase is that it’s way too easy for them to fall out of the National League Wild Card race.

Competing with four other teams for one spot, the D-backs can ill afford to fall off in the last month of the regular season. A loss Tuesday would mean dropping to fifth in the wild card standings and at least three games back of the Chicago Cubs for the second spot.

That made the current three-game losing streak they were on prior to Tuesday’s game feel substantial, as did Robbie Ray failing to make it out of the first inning in his start against the New York Mets, a 9-0 D-backs loss.

The left-hander only went 0.2 innings, giving up five hits on five earned runs. He also hit a batter.

Ray left in the middle of his last start on Friday due to a blister on his left middle finger and that appeared to still be an issue for him in New York, specifically with his slider.

“I had a kind of a layer of skin protecting it and just kind of ripped off in the middle of my pregame bullpen,” Ray told reporters. “Feeling-wise, it wasn’t tender or anything but I just lost feeling of my off-speed pitches, I wasn’t able to get the right amount of pressure I was expecting to.”

Ray said he would be ready for his next start.

Ray missed the zone with his first slider thrown of the day, and the second to Mets leadoff hitter Amed Rosario was hit to left for a double.

After striking out Pete Alonso, Ray’s third slider hit Jeff McNeil.

Wilson Ramos grounded out to score Alonso and then J.D. Davis singled to bring home McNeil on a, you guessed it, slider.

Todd Frazier stepped up next, and while it wasn’t the slider he hit a two-run homer on, it was a breaking ball from Ray that was hit 406 feet to center for a 4-0 D-backs deficit.

If it wasn’t quite clear that Ray didn’t have his best stuff yet, Brandon Nimino made it back-to-back jacks and then Juan Lagares doubled.

Torey Lovullo had seen enough at that point, pulling Ray for Matt Andriese.

The 0.2 innings for Ray is the shortest start of his career.

Ray has an impressive track record for avoiding these types of blowups. The only start this season he hasn’t thrown at least four innings in was against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 14 when he left in the third inning due to back spasms.

The last time, in fact, Ray pitched under four innings in a start purely because he didn’t have his best stuff going was all the way back in 2016 on Sept. 24. That was 54 outings ago.

Arizona’s bullpen couldn’t limit the damage while the offense wasn’t there to bail Ray out, either.

In the top of the second, Carson Kelly had the bases loaded with nobody out but struck out and then pinch hitter Kevin Cron grounded into a double play that ended the inning.

In long relief, Taylor Clarke gave up two more runs via solo homers and Yoshihisa Hirano allowed one of the two-run variety in the bottom of the sixth.

The D-backs have now scored only eight runs in their last five games.


Arizona lefty Alex Young faces Marcus Stroman in the series finale at 10:10 a.m. You can listen live on ESPN 620 AM.

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