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Preview, #70: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Philadelphia Phillies

Robbie Ray's last five starts have been as dominant as anything the team has seen in a very long time.

Today's Lineups

Gregor Blanco - CF Odubel Herrera - CF
Chris Herrmann - C Howie Kendrick - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Aaron Altherr - LF
Jake Lamb - 3B Tommy Joseph - 1B
Chris Owings - RF Maikel Franco - 3B
Brandon Drury - 2B Michael Saunders - RF
Jeremy Hazelbaker - LF Andrew Knapp - C
Nick Ahmed - SS Freddy Galvis - SS
Robbie Ray - LHP Ben Lively - RHP

Got to feel hopeful about Arizona's chances of completing a five-game roadtrip sweep this afternoon, with Robbie Ray on the mound. Over his last five starts, Ray is 5-0 with an ERA of 0.24, and a K:BB ratio over 37 innings of 48:9. It's the most dominant five-game streak by a Diamondbacks pitcher, in terms of ERA, since Brandon Webb's scoreless run in 2007, and even there, he wasn't striking out anything like as many batters. You really need to go back to 2002, when we had the Randy Johnson/Curt Schilling tandem in operation. Here's a comparison of what Ray has done with peak Schilling and Johnson that season.

Name Start End W L CG IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Ray 2017-05-20 2017-06-11 5 0 1 37.0 14 1 1 9 48 1 0.24
Johnson 2002-09-04 2002-09-26 5 0 3 41.0 24 5 3 7 49 3 0.66
Johnson 2002-07-26 2002-08-15 5 0 2 41.0 21 5 4 10 59 2 0.88
Schilling 2002-04-23 2002-05-13 5 0 0 37.0 25 12 12 4 57 6 2.92

In terms of ERA, Ray's is the best, though the September streak of Johnson's comes close. The Big Unit's run in July and August also had a sub-one ERA, but look at those strikeouts. In his five outings, Johnson fanned 8, 15, 11, 14 and 11 batters, part of a franchise-record streak of six consecutive games with 11 or more K's. 10 D-backs have fanned 11+ in more than two consecutive games. Johnson is 9 of them, the other being Schilling. But Ray would join them if he is able to strike out more than 10 Phillies batters this afternoon, having K'd 11 and 12 in his outings against the Padres and Brewers.

A win today would also give Arizona their seventh consecutive victory. That's something they haven't managed to do since August 2011, when they won nine in a row. In advance of a very big series in Coors Field against the Rockies, it would be nice to go into Colorado with some serious momentum.