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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #149: The Ray-ce is on...

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Games until the blessed end of the season: 14.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Jose De Leon
RHP, 2-0, 4.09
Robbie Ray
LHP, 8-13, 4.55
Howie Kendrick - LF Jean Segura - 2B
Justin Turner - 3B Chris Owings - SS
Corey Seager - SS Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Yasiel Puig - RF Jake Lamb - 3B
Rob Segedin - 1B Brandon Drury - LF
Enrique Hernandez - CF Mitch Haniger - CF
Charlie Culberson - 2B Socrates Brito - RF
Austin Barnes - C Tuffy Gosewisch - C
Jose De Leon - RHP Robbie Ray - LHP

Ray cracked the top 10 for strikeouts by a Diamondbacks' pitcher in a season as a result of his last outing, also breaking through the 200 K barrier for the year. He'll likely overtake Dan Haren's 2008 campaign which is currently ninth on the list, and needs five to do that. The bigger question is whether he'll finish the season above the #8. That's also Haren, in the following season, when he struck out 223. Ray has been striking out as close to seven per starts as dammit (6.97), which would put him in a tie there, if he maintains that average over his likely remaining three appearances this season.

If Ray does cross that line, he will have the most strikeouts since Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson combined for 650 strikeouts in 2002. [316 and 334 respectively]. No pitcher in the majors has matched that figure since, the closest being Clayton Kershaw's 301 last season. But, as ever, what's impressive about Ray is how quickly he has done it, needing only 160.1 innings. Every other pitcher in Arizona's top dozen needed at least 216 innings. The only starting pitcher with a superior K-rate is Randy - and not just any RJ, but peak Big Unit, as Ray's current figure of 11.34 per nine innings is significantly better than Randy's 10.62, when he fanned 290 in the 2004 campaign.

If we look at Ray's 29 starts this year, we can rank them and figure out what the median appearance is. It isn't particularly long, lasting 5.1 innings or 101 pitches. and he's charged with three runs, all earned on six hits. He walks a pair and strikes out seven, with an overall Game Score of 48 and will likely be tagged with a no-decision. Ray's record is mostly the lack of poor run support: in his thirteen losses, Arizona has never scored more than four, and has averaged only 1.8 runs per game there. In contrast, when Ray wins, the D-backs average 7.5 runs per game, and 6.0 in non-decisions. So whether he wins or loses today may be out of his hands.