MLB Game Preview - Diamondbacks v Pirates

 
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3
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Arizona0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 370
Pittsburgh0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 040
0
  W: R. Ray (5-3)   L: I. Nova (5-4)
4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, May 30, 2017
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 14,996

Road warrior Ray leads D-backs against Pirates

According to STATS
According to STATS

Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. The Pirates and Diamondbacks split four games at Arizona earlier this month. However, since the beginning of 2015, Pittsburgh owns a 12-4 advantage in the series. In addition, the Pirates have won their last five home games versus Arizona, going 15-7 at home against the Diamondbacks since 2010.
  2. While the Diamondbacks are averaging just 3.21 runs in day games, the third fewest in the majors, they're averaging 5.61 runs per game at night, a rate exceeded by only Washington (6.11). Arizona also leads MLB with 57 home runs at night.
  3. The Pirates dropped two of three games to the Mets this weekend, suffering their first series loss at home since going 1-2 versus the Cubs between April 24 and April 26. Pittsburgh is 13-11 at home this season despite getting outscored by 30 runs (89-119).
  4. Brandon Drury entered Sunday's game with a .155 road batting average, but then went 3-for-3, producing his first three-hit game away from home in over a year (May 7, 2016). Drury's season batting average on the road (.189) is now exactly 200 points lower than his mark at home (.389).
  5. In his first start last Wednesday since August 2015, Randall Delgado allowed three hits, one walk and two runs (one earned) over 4.0 innings. Delgado's ERA is a sparkling 0.98 over eight appearances and 18.1 innings since April 28.
  6. Trevor Williams, who has split his time between the rotation and bullpen this season, has surrendered a .316 batting average through his first 30 pitches, before improving to a .172 average between his 31st and 75th pitches (5-for-7, .714, on pitches 76+).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 5/29/2017 thru 5/31/2017

PITTSBURGH -- Robbie Ray's friendly confines so far are nowhere close to home.

The Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander is 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA, and his 74 strikeouts are tied for sixth in the National League. However, he has been two different pitchers, depending on the locale -- Phoenix, or anyplace else.

Pitching at home, Ray is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA. In 26 1/3 innings, he has 31 strikeouts and 16 walks. On the road, he is 3-1 with an 0.81 ERA, 43 strikeouts and 13 walks in 33 1/3 innings.

Given that, Ray should find it encouraging to be starting at PNC Park on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even so, he said geography is irrelevant.

"I don't know anything about it," he said. "All I can say is I'm going out there every five days trying to do the same thing."

Ray is 0-2 over his career against the Pirates with an 8.00 ERA in four starts, including 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts at PNC Park.

Of the home-away disparity, Ray's manager, Torey Lovullo, said, "Sometimes you have to chalk it up to it just being baseball."

Ray is coming off two outstanding starts, on the road, of course. He pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings in San Diego on May 20, yielding two hits, and followed that with seven scoreless innings, again giving up two hits, in Milwaukee on Thursday. Winning both games, Ray struck out 15 and walked three.

He attributes his recent work to more consistent mechanics, a quicker delivery and less time spent between pitches.

"I'm starting to feel good about where I am mechanically, feel good about my pitches," he said. "I'm feeling confident. Everything's starting to flow together a lot better. My tempo's been better.

"I'm getting the ball back, I'm getting on the mound, I'm not thinking a whole lot between pitches. I'm just, 'Here we go, here's what I'm throwing, this is what it's gonna be.' Maybe a little less time between pitches to think, sometimes you can get in your own way."

Lovullo added, "Credit to him, where he needed to change his tempo a little bit. It's translated into two very good outings. That's the process every player, not just pitchers, go through during the course of the season. Finding things that click and work and making adjustments."

Challenging Ray not only will be the Pirates' hitters but his mound opponent, right-hander Ivan Nova, perhaps Pittsburgh's most consistent starter.

Nova is 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA, but his value goes beyond that. He has pitched at least six innings in each of his 10 starts, and he has gone at least seven innings five times, including a complete-game shutout. Such extended work eases the workload on his relievers, crucial in today's bullpen-intensive game. He has thrown 70 innings, tied for third in the NL.

In his most recent start, Nova pitched 8 1/3 innings in a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, but he was upset he could not go the distance.

"I'm still a firm believer that a guy that can go out and give you seven innings is a great guy to have on the staff," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're very happy that we've got Nova here, the work that he's done. He was very hard on himself the other day that he wasn't able to finish. However, you can't just continue to pitch all day, either."

Nova is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two career starts against the Diamondbacks.

Updated May 29, 2017

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