Ray is scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Rockies, which would prevent him from pitching Opening Day on normal rest, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic Arizona reports.
Although these plans could change, manager Torey Lovullo said that at this point in time, Ray will head to the mound for Sunday's Cactus League outing. Ray had a rough time in Tuesday's game against the Angels, as he gave up two runs on two hits and five walks across 2.1 innings. To this point, Ray has appeared in five games (13.1 innings) this spring, over which he's surrendered 10 runs. More definitive information regarding how Arizona will proceed with its Opening Day starter situation should be available in the near future.
Ray is certainly a worthy candidate for the Opening Day nod after making his first All-Star team and posting a 2.89 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over 162 frames last season, but the expected assignment is due in large part to Zack Greinke (groin) remaining slightly behind schedule in his preparation for the start of the season. With Greinke having been limited to just two Cactus League outing to date, he's not expected to be ready to handle a starter's workload until the Diamondbacks' third game of the season, thus making Ray the most logical candidate to start the opener. Ray has already conceded four home runs in 11 frames this spring, but his issues with the long ball aren't expected to loom quite as large at Chase Field in 2018 with a humidor having been installed at the park over the offseason and expected to dramatically reduce power output.
Ray was lights out through three innings and threw 24 of his 33 pitches for strikes, with his lone mistake coming on his final pitch of the afternoon, when Paulo Orlando connected on a solo home run. The outing represents a dramatic step forward for Ray after he failed to escape the first inning and was charged with five earned runs in his second start of the spring March 3 against the Dodgers. Per Craig Grialou of ArizonaSports.com, Ray credited his between-starts bullpen session for getting the timing of his pitches back on track Friday, and he's hopeful to carry that form into the regular season.
Ray's home park in Arizona will install a humidor for this season which could result in a significant drop in home runs, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
After much speculation, it was announced late Tuesday that the humidor will indeed come to Chase Field in 2018. As Piecoro notes, a ball stored in a humidor absorbs water, decreasing its "coefficient of restitution," or bounciness. Physics professor Alan Nathan suggested the humidor should result in 50-to-80 fewer homers hit at Chase Field each year, at the very least. This is welcome news for Ray, who has struggled with the long ball during his time with the Diamondbacks. Expect his price to tick up, but for good reason.
Ray broke out in his age-25 season, posting a 2.89 ERA and finishing fourth among qualified starters in strikeout percentage (32.8). He still walks too many batters and can be susceptible to the long ball, but even with those warts, Ray has a strong case as a fantasy SP1 heading into 2018.
|10/9/2017 vs Los Angeles|
|vs Los Angeles||31.2||3||0||2.27||0||12||53|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2010||ASX-Vermont Lake Monster||0||0||0.00||1||0||0||0||0||1.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|2014||AAA-Toledo Mud Hens||7||6||4.22||20||19||0||0||0||100.1||106||51||47||6||3||44||75|