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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview: Robbie Ray Gets Start On Mother's Day

Robbie Ray gets the start looking to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a series win on Mother's Day.

On a day for honoring moms and raising awareness for breast cancer, the Arizona Diamondbacks look to get back in the win column with left-hander Robbie Ray on the mound. 

The Diamondbacks dropped a 4-3 decision Saturday night at Chase Field. Here is an interesting stat: when Arizona scores 4 or more runs in a game, their record is 17-4. When field manager Torey Lovullo's ball club scores 3 runs or fewer in a game, they are just 4-13 this season. 

A win over the Pirates today would secure the team's fifth series victory at Chase Field in 2017. After Saturday's loss, the Diamondbacks enter Sunday with the second-best record at home in the NL at 15-7 (.682) behind the rival Los Angeles Dodgers who are 13-6 (.684) at Chase Field in 2017. After Saturday's loss, the Diamondbacks enter Sunday with the second-best record at home in the NL at 15-7 (.682) behind the rival Los Angeles Dodgers who are 13-6 (.684). 

In other news, the Diamondbacks welcomed back bench coach Ron Gardenhire to the team Sunday. Gardenhire underwent surgery April 18 to remove his prostate. The former Minnesota Twins skipper was diagnosed with prostate cancer in spring training. Acting bench coach Jerry Narron is in the dugout for Sunday's game. 

Game Essentials

What: Pirates at Diamondbacks

When: 1:10 p.m. 

Where: Chase Field

Pitching Matchup: LHP Robbie Ray (2-3, 4.14 ERA) vs. RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.23 ERA)

TV/Radio: FSAZ/FSAZ+ (Spanish) / 98.7 FM Arizona's Sports Station / KHOV 105.1 FM (Spanish)

Weather: First pitch temperature of 91 degrees

Umpires: HP: Jerry Meals 1B: Tom Woodring 2B: Ed Hickox 3B: Chris Conroy 

Robbie Ray is winless in his last three starts. Ray is second in the National League in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (12.41) and tied for fourth in strikeouts (57). But, Ray continues to struggle with high pitch counts and base on balls. Ray is second in the NL in walks (29) In his last start against the Detroit Tigers May 9 at Chase Field, Ray walked 5 and allowed 5 ER. 

Ray will need to command his fastball better and use his wipeout slider to generate swings and misses. Ray did not command his fastball well against Detroit and the Tigers stayed patient until he made a mistake. Ray is limiting lefties to a .152 average in 2017 after southpaws hit .251 last season. The key matchup will be Josh Harrison. The Pirates second third baseman is hitting over .400 against lefties. 

Ivan Nova was the NL pitcher of the month for April and for good reason. Nova simply does not walk batters but he also does not strike out very many hitters (29 K/3 BB) in 48.1 IP this season. Since August 1, 2016, Nova owns a 0.48 BB/9, the lowest rate among all major league pitchers during that span. In 18 starts with Pittsburg, Nova owns a 2.71 ERA. Nova's 1.04 WHIP is the third-lowest among all National League starters. 

Nova is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in one career against Arizona. In four career starts against the Buccos, Ray is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA. Ray is 5-for-13 (.385) at the plate this season. 

Lineups

Pirates:

Fraizer 7

Harrison 5

McCutchen 8

Polanco 9

Bell 3

Cervelli 2

Mercer 6

Ngoepe 4

Nova 1

Diamondbacks:

Pollock 8

Peralta 9

Goldschmidt 3

Lamb 5

Owings 4

Herrmann 2

Ahmed 6

Blanco 7

Ray 1


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