MIAMI — The Arizona Diamondbacks are thrilled that left-hander Robbie Ray is coming off the disabled list to start Wednesday in the third contest of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins.
The teams have split the first two contests with Arizona winning 5-3 on Tuesday Youth Jonathan Allen Jersey , due in large part to John Ryan Murphy’s three RBIs.
Meanwhile, Ray (2-0, 4.88 ERA) is off to a slow start compared to his breakout year of 2017, when he went 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA, making the All-Star Game for the first time. He also finished seventh in the Cy Young voting.
On Wednesday, he will make his first start since April 29, when he was sidelined by a strained right oblique.
“I feel ready for this,” Ray told mlb.com. “I feel like I’m in really good shape. My arm feels good. My oblique is fine. I want to pitch and give us a chance to win.”
Ray, who averaged 30 starts in each of the past two years, will be making only his seventh appearance of 2018. He won his first two starts and then had four no-decisions and lasted just 1 1/3 innings on the night of his injury.
He has only two quality starts this year and was going to make a rehab appearance Monday night at Triple-A Las Vegas when the Diamondbacks coaches called him to tell him to come to South Florida instead.
Two rehab starts, Ray said, were enough.
“My first (rehab) start was rough,” he said. “After not pitching for eight weeks, there was some rust to knock off. But that second start, I felt good. All my pitches were working in all four quadrants, up, down, in and out.”
Ray, who has averaged 93 mph this year on his fastball, made his major league debut in 2014 and has improved his strikeout rate per nine innings in every season (6.0, 8.4, 11.3, 12.1).
So far this season Youth Geron Christian Jersey , Ray has improved in that stat again, striking out 14.6 batters per nine, which would lead all major league starters if he had enough innings to qualify.
Part of the strikeout formula for Ray, which began last year, is using his curve more, adding one more plus pitch to go with his fastball and slider.
On Wednesday, however, the Diamondbacks will be careful with Ray, not wanting to push him for too many innings in his first game off the DL.
“We’re just going to see how each inning goes,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “We will make adjustments from there.”
Ray is 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA in three career starts versus Miami.
Meanwhile, the Marlins will counter with their own left-hander, Wei-Yin Chen (2-4, 6.70 ERA), who has been a major disappointment for Miami ever since signing a five-year, $80 million contract prior to the 2016 season.
Chen, who has mediocre velocity with an average of 90.5 mph on his fastball, is 9-10 in his time with the Marlins.
The Marlins are 5-6 this year when Chen starts. Chen has managed only two quality starts this year.
Chen, who turns 33 next month, is averaging 6.5 strikeouts per nine, which is the worst mark of his career. His 4.5 walks are also on track to be a career worst.
In other news, the Marlins on Wednesday will get back manager Don Mattingly, who served a one-game league suspension Tuesday. Miami’s Dan Straily was also suspended, as the pitcher and his manager were faulted for their roles in a beanball war that broke out against the San Francisco Giants on June 19.
The Marlins are also expecting the return of catcher and All-Star candidate J.T. Realmuto Youth Troy Apke Jersey , who missed the previous two starts after being hit with a foul ball while squatting behind the plate.
Realmuto, who is hitting .308 with 18 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, 32 RBIs and a .916 OPS, was struck on his left wrist.
“He’s got a lot more range of motion now,” Mattingly told The Miami Herald. “The X-rays were negative, but we want to get the swelling and the soreness out of there.”
Max Scherzer had gone more than two months without a defeat. Now the Washington Nationals ace has lost consecutive starts for the first time in nearly three years.
Marco Estrada took a shutout into the seventh inning, Devon Travis homered and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Scherzer and the Nationals 2-0 on Saturday.
Scherzer (10-3) gave up four hits, including the two-run homer by Travis, in six innings. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner struck out 10, increasing his major league-leading total to 152.
Scherzer has 10 double-digit strikeout games this season, four more than any other pitcher.
Beaten by a two-run home run from San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford in his previous outing, Scherzer saw this start turn on another two-run homer, with Travis jumping on a hanging slider in the fifth.
”This is Major League Baseball,” Scherzer said. ”One pitch can cost you a game. Now I’ve had it happen twice in back-to-back starts. You can get beat like that. I’ve got to keep executing every single pitch I throw.”
Scherzer last lost two straight starts in a three-game skid in August 2015.
The Blue Jays posted their first shutout since Aug. 10, 2017 against the Yankees, snapping a franchise-long 117-game span between shutouts.
Trea Turner hit a two-out double in the sixth, but Estrada struck out Bryce Harper looking. An exasperated Harper was caught looking again to end the eighth, stranding a runner at first. Harper went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .221.
”What I think I’d like for him to do is maybe not swing so much,” Martinez said. ”He’s been swinging a lot, and I really think now is the time to take less swings and just go play.”
Washington has been blanked three times in five games, including Scherzer’s 2-0 loss to San Francisco on June 10 and a 3-0 road loss to the Yankees on June 12.
”It’s surprising but it happens,” Martinez said. ”Sometimes you run into good pitchers.”
Estrada left after Michael A. Taylor’s two-out single put runners at first and second in the seventh. Danny Barnes came on and needed two pitches to retire Wilmer Difo on a groundout.
Barnes and Aaron Loup each got two outs and former Nationals closer Tyler Clippard finished the three-hitter for his third save in six opportunities.
Travis said it can be tough to get a good night’s rest when Scherzer is scheduled to pitch the following day.
”He’s a guy when you go to sleep at night, you know you’re facing Max Scherzer the next day and your heart starts to beat a little bit already,” Travis said. ”You know you’re up for a big challenge. He’s the best in the game.”
SEEN YOU BEFORE
Travis was drafted by Detroit, where Scherzer played from 2010 to 2014. During his first spring training with the Tigers, Travis faced Scherzer multiple times during intrasquad games.
Scherzer hadn’t given up a homer to a right-handed batter since Giancarlo Stanton connected for Miami on Aug. 7, 2017.
Toronto has won six straight at home after losing 10 of its previous 11 at Rogers Centre.
Nationals: 1B Matt Adams was out of the lineup one day after taking a pitch off his left hand while attempting to bunt. X-rays Friday were inconclusive because of swelling, so Adams will have another X-ray when the Nationals return home Monday. With Adams unavailable, Daniel Murphy started at first, his first defensive action since returning from knee surgery Tuesday.
Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (3-7, 3.63) faces Blue Jays RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-2, 3.66) in Sunday’s series finale. Roark has won just once in his past seven starts. Gaviglio allowed a season-worst five earned runs in Monday’s loss at Tampa Bay, his second straight losing decision.