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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #45: Rubby-free day

This should have been Rubby De La Rosa's next start. But, instead, we'll have to make do with Robbie Ray instead.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Robbie Ray
LHP, 2-2, 4.46
Mike Leake
RHP, 2-3, 4.66
Jean Segura - 2B Matt Carpenter - 3B
Brandon Drury - RF Aledmys Diaz - SS
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Matt Holliday - LF
Jake Lamb - 3B Stephen Piscotty - RF
Rickie Weeks - LF Yadier Molina - C
Welington Castillo - C Randal Grichuk - CF
Chris Owings - CF Matt Adams - 1B
Nick Ahmed - SS Jedd Gyorko - 2B
Robbie Ray - LHP Mike Leake - RHP

It's always a difficult balance to strike. You've got a pitcher who is arguably having the best spell of his career, and a team which is fighting to stay relevant in its division, and climb back up to .500. But the schedule, which just saw you have one day off in more than five weeks, has now seen fit to "bless" the Diamondbacks with off-days on both Thursday and Monday. If we left the schedule where it was, this would mean Zack Greinke going an entire week between outings. Throw in a couple of minor health issues for De La Rosa - what Chip Hale described as "groin issue, some blister stuff" - two separate ailments, I trust - and here we are. Hale elaborated:

"He's got some nagging groin issues, some blister stuff, nothing that would keep him out if we had no days off. It's an opportunity to give him a break. He's obviously pitching very well, but we feel like it's best. I don't think any of them felt very comfortable with getting six or seven days off, that's why we did his. There's not one of our starters right now who's not pitching the way we thought they could pitch. Making this decision was hard, but it's easier just because of the nagging injuries."

And so, it becomes a Ray day. Robbie did give us his longest start of the season last time out, against the Yankees at Chase Field, throwing seven innings of two-run ball. He's still fanning a lot of batters - 20 in 17 innings this month, but what has helped him a lot in May is better control: his walk-rate there has been 2.65 per nine innings, less than half his rate in April (5.33). Could do with him pitching deeper into games; those 17 frames have required an average of 19.2 pitches, and at 4.04, Ray's pitches per plate-appearance rank him fifth among the 66 qualified pitchers in the National League.

Oh, and this afternoon's game is not on Fox Sports Arizona, it's nationally televised on Fox Sports One, hence the weird Saturday start of 1:05pm, Arizona time. So we'll probably suck. Don't say you weren't warned.