Ray agreed to a one-year, $6.05 million deal with the Diamondbacks, avoiding arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Ray has been the topic of trade rumors this offseason, given the fact that Arizona is in a clear rebuild, but Nightengale says the team hopes to keep Ray. That obviously could be posturing, considering Ray will be a free agent after the 2020 season, and the Diamondbacks don't figure to be contending by then. He is a strong bounce-back candidate in 2019.
Ray allowed two runs on five hits and four walks across four innings Sunday in a no-decision against the Padres. He struck out eight. Ray allowed a constant stream of baserunners in this one, with the first run against him coming on a solo home run in the second inning. He settled down just a bit until he came back out for the fifth, but he allowed hits to the first three batters and was chased from the game after another run came around. After a dreadful start to the season, Ray finished on a much better note by allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his final eight starts to bring his ERA to 3.93. He also posted another strong 12.0 K/9 and is eligible for arbitration this winter.
Ray took a no-decision Monday in the Diamondbacks' 7-4 loss to the Dodgers, working five innings and giving up two runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out seven in the outing. Ray hasn't taken a loss in any of his last 13 starts, but his tendency to rack up high pitch counts has regularly prevented him from factoring into the decision. That was again the case Monday, as he required 100 pitches to record 15 outs before getting pulled from the contest with a one-run lead, which was eventually blown by the bullpen. On a more positive note, Ray has turned in a 3.15 ERA to accompany a 10.6 K/9 in the second half, so he's at least doing a better job in run prevention after logging a 5.03 ERA prior to the All-Star break. He'll likely take the hill one final time Sunday in San Diego to wrap up what's been an up-and-down campaign for the lefty.
Ray (6-2) got the win Wednesday, firing six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts against one hit and four walks versus the Cubs. Ray struggled some with command with the four walks, but he was otherwise sharp in shutting down a potent Cubs lineup. The lefty seems to be finally rounding into form, allowing two or fewer hits in four straight outings, and carrying a 1.59 ERA and 12.2 K/9 over 34 innings in his last six starts. His ERA now sits at a season-low 3.92 heading into Tuesday's tilt with the Dodgers.
Ray settled for a no-decision Friday night against the Astros, allowing two earned runs on two hits and three walks over 5.1 innings. He struck out six and also hit a batter. After allowing four baserunners and two runs in the first frame, Ray settled down and didn't allow a hit for the rest of his outing. He needed 93 pitches to get through 5.1 innings, and he ended his streak of two straight quality starts after he couldn't get out of the sixth. Ray has put together a string of six consecutive starts where he's gone at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less, and he'll look to keep things rolling in his next scheduled start against the Cubs on Wednesday.