Ray's stint with D-backs brief but impactful

Rookie takes on 26th roster spot seamlessly, capping club's two-win day

Ray's stint with D-backs brief but impactful

DENVER -- Rookie Robbie Ray made his season debut on Wednesday, making a splash on a wet day in Denver and giving the D-backs a strong start on the tail end of a successful doubleheader.

Ray pitched six innings and let up one run on five hits, issuing no walks while striking out five, in a 5-1 win over the Rockies that wrapped up a few hours after Arizona completed a 13-7 Game 1 victory.

"I feel like I did my job," Ray said before heading back to Triple-A Reno, having filled the 26th spot on Arizona's 25-man roster -- a slot reserved for the second half of doubleheaders. "I went out there and threw like I would any day. It doesn't change the way I pitch. I'm the same guy every day, pitching in the big leagues or pitching in Triple-A."

Top Prospects: Ray, ARI

Ray may have pitched his best game yet in one of the hardest places to limit scoring -- Colorado's mile-high Coors Field. Ray -- the D-backs' No. 8 prospect, according to MLB.com -- pitched in nine games and made six starts for the Tigers last year, posting a 1-4 record and an 8.16 ERA.

"My fastball command was big today, and I was able to keep it below the knees, most importantly," Ray said. "I struggled a little with the slider, but I was able to get away with it because of my fastball command. I didn't leave the ball up, and they didn't have a chance to really hurt me."

Manager Chip Hale liked the way Ray matched up with the Rockies, forcing some of their big bats out of the lineup and taking advantage of their aggressive approach at the plate.

"They have a lot of good left-handed hitters, and power stuff is probably the best matchup against that," Hale said of Ray's heat. "The doubleheader helped also. It's tough to play everybody two games."

Ray has been fine-tuning his mechanics, and lately he's seeing improved results every time he climbs the hill.

"I just worked on certain things like lengthening out, really working on extension, working the inside part of the plate on right-handers and going in on lefties, too," Ray explained. "The extension is the main thing for me with all my pitches -- reaching out, finishing the pitch."

For two teams that have played a lot of games against division rivals at this early point in the season, it probably helped Ray to be something of an unfamiliar face on the mound.

"Right from the get-go, we threw a lot of fastballs," catcher Tuffy Gosewisch said. "He has a good one -- 95, 96 [mph] to start the game. When you're a left-hander and you throw 96, if you can locate it, you're going to get some outs. That's what he did tonight."

The D-backs couldn't have asked for more out of Ray, and his quick return to Triple-A came with the promise of a return ticket to be cashed in soon.

"He's the 26th guy, so we'll send him back tonight," Hale said. "He'll go back to Reno and stay on his five days, but when we need somebody, he's the guy."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.