Pitching in Chase Field has been enough of a horror show for Diamondbacks starter’ Robbie Ray, After all, the left-hand-hander has one victory at home and that could raise concern over his consistency.
If there has been one variable which dictated Ray’s contribution, or lack thereof, it’s his inability to string wins together. That would include any amount of victories. What’s particularly maddening remains his physical attributes. With a fast ball in the mid-90s and breaking pitches which can be effective, Ray’s concerns, at least in terms of wins and production, has been his inconsistency to locate pitches and run pitch count high.
Overall, Ray has put together a curious season that’s been dominated by losses but encouraged by a reliable ERA. During his latest bout with misfortune, Ray lasted six, creditable innings and nothing to show. In registering only his fifth, no-decisions in 22 starts, Ray fell behind early to the Colorado Rockies Tuesday night, but his teammates bailed him out and tied the game by the time of his exit. In the end, pinch hitter Phil Gosselin delivered a one-out, bases-loaded single in the 11th inning, and the Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies, 4-3 before 21,526 in Chase Field.
While Gosselin’s game winner continues to put the native of West Chester, Pa in the conversation for significant playing time in 2016, theishour belonged to Ray. He discounted the dichotomy of few wins and a strong ERA, but indicated this is his rookie season in the majors. At the same time, his education continues to evolve.
“For the most part, I think I’ve pitched well this season and pitched out of jams,” he said after lowering his ERA to 3.50. “No, I’m not concerned about the wins. It’s baseball and if I continue to pitch well, the wins will come.”
Over his last two starts, Ray indicated his rhythm and control was better than most of his starts this season. As well, the fact he has only five wins in 22 starts and that one at home, is not discouraging.
“Wins and losses can be deceiving,” manager Chip Hale said after the game. “Robbie has pitched well over the last few starts and (Tuesday night), hit his spots.”
Ray left after six innings and allowed seven hits and two earned runs. His ERA of 3.50 is second lowest among Arizona starters and only Patrick Corbin (3.28) is lower. Plus, Ray maintains another important statistic. He has allowed 114 hits in 123.1 innings and any time a pitcher allows fewer hits than innings pitched that is considered encouraging.
If Ray is keeping a close monitor and finishing strong, Gosselin echoes the same sentiment. Coming over from the Braves in a mid-season trade, Gosselin spend several weeks on the disabled list before given a chance by Hale. With the season winding down, Gosselin has hit .292 (26-for-89) and 12 RBIs in 39 games.
“I wanted to see something over the plate and get a good swing,” Gosseln said of his walk-off hit. “With the bases loaded like that and the infield in, there are many holes, and I tried to fine one.”
His game-winner in the 11th was his first walk-off in his major league career and the Diamondbacks fifth of the season. A versatile infielder, Gosselin could be in the mix for a solid position off the bench next season or considered for a starting spot. That depends on the off-season moves by general manager Dave Stewart and other Arizona decision-makers.
“(Gosselin) can hit up here, he showed us that,” Hale said. “He is a very professional hitter and has a very good short swing. Also, he a very intelligent hitter. He can be a very valuable player for us.”
Down 2-0 in the first and 3-1 in the third, the Diamondbacks battled back. With single runs in the first and third, Jack Lamb’s sacrifice fly in the fourth knotted the contest. Though the Diamondbacks had only three base runner between the fifth and the 11th, the wildness of Rockies’ reliever Brooks Brown set the table.
In the 11th, Brown, with an ERA of 5.06, walked the bases loaded with no outs and at one point, missed the strike zone in eight of nine pitches. Manager Walt Weiss then called on lefty Christian Friedrich. He induced Welington Castillo to ground to third and Nolan Arenado’s throw to the plate beat A. J. Pollock. Gosselin, hitting for Lamb, then drilled the game-winner in the hole between first and second.
WITHOUT THE CLOSER
Closer Brad Ziegler was not available for Tuesday’s night game. Ziegler was home in Kansas City to join his wife Kristen, who gave birth to their daughter Lauryn on Sunday.
Manager Chip Hale said before Tuesday’s game that Ziegler could be back Wednesday or Thursday. Ziegler has saved 27 straight games and that’s the longest current streak in the majors. Ziegler is also one save from tying J. J. Putz for the most consecutive saves in franchise history. Putz set the mark from July 27, 2001 to April 11, 2012.
OUT OF THE REMAINDER
Shortstop Nick Ahmed is finished for the season. With six games remaining before Tuesday night, manager Chip Hale said he will go with Chris Owings the rest of the way.
Ahmed went down with a back injury last week during a game at Dodger Stadium. With his season now over, Ahmed finished with a .226 batting average in 134 games, 17 doubles, six triples, nine home runs and drove in 34 runs.
“We’ve seen the last of Nick this season,” said manager Chip Hale before Tuesday’s home game with the Rockies. “It’s best that he rest and not aggravate the injury.”