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Preview #80: 6/27 @ Marlins

And after the return of Shelby Miller... The return of Robbie Ray

Arizona Diamondbacks v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Jon Jay - RF Starlin Castro - 2B
Nick Ahmed - SS Brian Anderson - RF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Cameron Maybin - LF
John Ryan Murphy - C Lewis Brinson - CF
David Peralta - LF Derek Dietrich - 1B
Ketel Marte - 2B Miguel Rojas - SS
Chris Owings - CF Yadiel Rivera - 3B
Deven Marrero - 3B Bryan Holaday - C
Robbie Ray - LHP Wei-Yin Chen - LHP

Ray’s return comes two days short of two months since his last outing, which was an abbreviated four-out outing in Washington on April 29. The D-backs were 19-8 at the time, having gone 4-2 in Ray’s six starts. They have played exactly .500 ball in his absence (going 26-26), so Ray’s return will provide a welcome boost. I am unsure quite how deep he can be expected to go. He only had two rehab starts, throwing 46 and 66 pitches respectively. Obviously, it’s not at all the same situation at Shelby Miller, who was dealing with a lay-off more like fourteen months than two. But I presume the team decided that 85 or so pitches of Robbie Ray (especially vs. Miami) was preferable to 100-odd from Matt Koch.

The move of Alex Avila to the disabled list will mean some shuffling around of roles behind the plate going forward. It probably won’t make too much difference for Ray, whose six pre-injury starts were evenly split between John Ryan Murphy and Avila. Obviously, Zack Greinke will continue to work with Jeff Mathis. But how will the other four starters have their workloads split up? Both Mathis and Murphy are right-handed, so there’s no longer the platoon possibility that Avila offered. Murphy is clearly the better bat, especially against right-handed pitching (Mathis’s OPS was below Avila’s there), and this is the clearest chance yet for him to seize the everyday starter’s job.

Got a bunch of special features to write up after each of the next three games. This one is #80, so I’ll be updating the playoff odds piece as soon as those figures all become available. Then we reach the half-way point of the season, so it’ll be time to check in at the SnakePit Casino for Place Your Bets [having inexplicably zoned out and forgotten to do the one-third check-in after 54 games! Mind you, that was mid-May, when no-one was exactly feeling very interested...] And then Friday, back at Chase against the Giants, will be the 40th home game, so we need to do an update on the humidor stats we’ve been tracking. Stay tuned for all those, through Saturday...