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Preview #116: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs

Good news on Robbie Ray

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

CHICAGO CUBS ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Albert Almora - CF David Peralta - LF
Kris Bryant - 3B Adam Rosales - 3B
Anthony Rizzo - 1B A.J. Pollock - CF
Ben Zobrist - RF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Ian Happ - 2B J.D. Martinez - RF
Kyle Schwarber - LF Ketel Marte - SS
Javier Baez - SS Brandon Drury - 2B
Alex Avila - C Jeff Mathis - C
Jon Lester - LHP Patrick Corbin - LHP

First, let’s have some good news. Robbie Ray went through a simulated game today, throwing 45-50 pitches and felt fine. "He looked exactly like Robbie Ray," according to manager Torey Lovullo. It seems that there will be a rehab game - presumably in the middle of next week - and I suspect, all being well, he should then be able to join the team. That would put his first start back for the Diamondbacks, probably against the Mets in New York, missing just shy of four weeks’ play. Via Brian Kreps️ (@BK067):

If I told you Patrick Corbin’s last appearance was a quality start, in which he racked up a season high 10 strikeouts, you’d probably have been quite pleased. Unfortunately, that only tells half the story, as Corbin allowed six runs over his six innings, on seven hits and two walks. He wasn’t helped by either his defense (three unearned runs) or good fortune (BABIP of .400 on the day), but both have been the way of it in 2017. Of the D-backs with 50+ innings, Corbin’s season BABIP is .355, which is 46 points above the next highest (Randall Delgado). The 11 unearned runs so far is tops on the entire club too, and Corbin also led the Diamondbacks there in 2016 (20).

It makes me wonder if there is any link. Is allowing unearned runs a “skill” for a pitcher, that shows consistency across the seasons? I guess to find that out, I’d have to look at a lot more pitchers. Could work out a UERA, by calculating unearned runs allowed per nine innings, and then see if we have any correlation between the pitchers with a high UERA one year and the next. In Corbin’s case, it’s something which has cropped up only since Tommy John surgery. Before it, he threw 315.1 innings and allowed just four unearned runs. Since the procedure: 369.1 innings, but 31 unearned runs. Maybe something to look at on a future off-day.