Has Robbie Ray turned a corner for the Seattle Mariners?
All season, fans have been waiting for Robbie Ray to turn in one of those dominating appearances that Blue Jays fans were privy to during his Cy Young award-winning season last year. In his most recent outing against the Red Sox, we saw his best outing yet for the Mariners.
Now, it wasn’t quite what you would expect from Robbie Ray, but after the end of the first inning, it seemed that way. Ray had a spotless first inning, striking out the side.
Robbie Ray put together his best start so far for the Mariners
Now, if you knew that Robbie Ray pitched seven scoreless innings against the Red Sox and paired that with the earlier statement about striking out the side, you would think he finished with a ton of strikeouts, right?
Well, you would be sorely incorrect. If I knew that, I would’ve put the over/under for his final total at 10.5. If he were on enough to sit down the first 2 Red Sox hitter with strikeouts, I would expect eight more over the next six innings, no problem.
If you haven’t seen, why don’t you take a guess at what he ended with? I’ll help you out. Guess low. Like, real low.
Robbie Ray wouldn’t strike out another hitter until he retired JD Martinez to end the 6th inning. Unofficially, and without looking up anything to back it up, I’m going to go ahead and call that the longest stretch Robbie Ray has ever gone in his life without striking out a hitter. He faced 17 hitters and didn’t strikeout a single one. Here’s how he did over that stretch.
- 2 2B, 5 Fly out, 9 Ground outs, 1 HBP
So, what was different? Well, on the season, Robbie Ray has thrown his 4-seamer 51%, his slider 40%, his sinker 6%, and his Curve+change at 3%. Against the Sox, Ray threw his sinker 48%, the 4-seamer 29%, and his slider 18%. He embraced the sinker, adding a 3rd reliable pitch into his arsenal, getting away from being just a two-pitch pitcher. In fact, he has only thrown 71 sinkers on the year, and he threw 45 of them in just this game alone.
With all of that said, I think that Ray has turned a corner for the Mariners. As he gets more comfortable with both the team and his repertoire (and maybe the warmer weather), he’s turning back into the frontline starter that we were all hoping for. I can’t see the strikeouts staying down, as it’s always been a massive part of his game.
It should also be noted that he was finding the strikezone at an exceptional rate, walking just one batter the entire game. If Ray can pound the zone, strike some guys out, and most importantly keep the ball on the ground, then the Mariners might actually be a bit dangerous as the season goes on. For Ray, this could be the game that we look back at as a turning point in his season for the Mariners.