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Preview: 4/24 @ Phillies

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#RayDay Can Robbie become the first left-handed starter to beat Philadelphia this year?

Arizona Diamondbacks v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
David Peralta - LF Cesar Hernandez - 2B
Ketel Marte - 2B Carlos Santana - 1B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Scott Kingery - RF
A.J. Pollock - CF Rhys Hoskins - LF
Daniel Descalso - 3B Aaron Altherr - CF
Nick Ahmed - SS Maikel Franco - 3B
Alex Avila - C Pedro Florimon - SS
Jarrod Dyson - RF Jorge Alfaro - C
Robbie Ray - LHP Vince Velasquez - RHP

Looking at his ERA. Robbie Ray so far has been rather more like Robbie Ray v.2016 than the one we wanted, Robbie Ray v.2017. But let’s break it down a bit further, and examine some rate stats so far - or “Ray-te” stats, if you wish...

Robbie Ray, 2016-18

Year ERA FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W OPS
Year ERA FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W OPS
2016 4.90 3.76 1.468 9.6 1.2 3.7 11.3 3.07 .770
2017 2.89 3.72 1.154 6.4 1.3 3.9 12.1 3.07 .646
2018 4.98 5.30 1.523 7.9 2.1 5.8 13.3 2.29 .802

While Ray’s ERA is very close to the 2016 figure, the peripherals show a different picture. Worryingly, Ray’s FIP - his fielding independent ERA - is more than a run and a half higher than it was in either previous campaign. While his K-rate is at a career high, this is more than countered by walk and home-run rates for Robbie that are both 50% or more up on what Ray had in 2016-17. Perhaps getting out of Chase Field for his next couple of starts, in Philadelphia and Washington, might be for the best. Because (small sample size allowed) it doesn’t seem as those the humidor has done Robbie any favors, with four home-runs allowed at his home park, in just 11 innings of work.

The walks are a bit worrying, too. Exactly half his outings last year (14 of 28) involved three or more walks: so far, Ray is 4-4 in that category. This is a bit reminiscent of a streak Ray had around the All-Star break, when he walked 24 over six starts, while still posting a K:BB ratio of better than 2:1. He settled down then, and we can only hope he’ll settle down today. That’s especially the case, as the Phillies have been remarkably patient against left-handed pitchers thus far, collectively walking more times (32) than they have struck out (31). It’s one of the reasons they have the best record against left-handed starters in the majors, being a perfect 5-0 thus far.