While the Arizona Diamondbacks reached the playoffs for the first time since 2011, they faced an uphill battle because of needing to burn Zack Greinke in the National League Wild Card Game. That was compounded by Greinke’s short outing, which pressed Robbie Ray into relief duty.
Had Ray not been needed against the Colorado Rockies, he was the likely starter against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the NL Division Series. Of course, had the Diamondbacks not used Ray and lost, a potential NLDS matchup was a moot point.
With the southpaw unavailable, Arizona turned to Taijuan Walker. He went one inning and allowed four runs in his postseason debut. Now Ray, on just two days rest, looks to even the series Saturday night.
“I feel great. My arm feels great and ready to go,” Ray said of his start. “I wouldn’t give this team anything about 100 percent of myself. I feel like that would be cheating me and cheating the team. So I feel 100 percent and I feel ready to go.”
Ray threw 34 pitches and allowed one run on two hits across 2.1 innings in the Wild Card Game. It was enough of a workload that starting in Game 2 of the NLDS was hardly a foregone conclusion. Though, Ray didn’t view the scenario as such.
“I want the ball every game, honestly,” he said. “I mean, if you didn’t, probably shouldn’t be here. But I was going to get myself as ready as possible for this game.”
The 26-year-old went 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA and 53 strikeouts over 31.2 innings pitched in five starts against the Dodgers this season. The last of which came in September, when Ray collected a career-high 14 strikeouts in 7.2 shutout innings.
“Obviously, the atmosphere here is different the fans are loud,” he said of Dodger Stadium. “It’s pitching against the best team in baseball, so you obviously want to bring your A-game, your best stuff.”