Club fans 10 or more hitters for the ninth straight game
By Daniel Shiferaw
Special to MLB.com |
WASHINGTON -- Torey Lovullo would have much rather achieved a historical feat in a win, but that won't stop the D-backs' manager from appreciating his club's accomplishments.
In Wednesday night's 2-1 loss to the Nationals, Arizona became the first team in Major League history to strike out 10 or more hitters in nine consecutive games. The new mark was set in the sixth inning when starter Robbie Ray logged his 10th punchout of the night.
"I think we should be very proud of that as a staff," Lovullo said. "It's not anything you set out to do in Spring Training as far as setting records ... it's recognition of a special accomplishment these guys are out there doing their job."
The impressive stretch gives the D-backs pitching staff a total of 273 strikeouts on the season, which ranks second in the National League behind the Dodgers, who have 274.
Arizona was able to etch its name into the history books thanks to Ray, who suffered a tough-luck loss in a mostly dominant outing. The 25-year-old left hander allowed a pair of runs over six innings, and accounted for all 10 strikeouts -- including the first five hitters he faced -- while walking just one.
"I felt everything was working for me today," he said. "And really I could throw whatever I wanted in any count, and it was gonna do what I wanted it to.
"That was everything clicking on all cylinders. Fastball command was there. Slider was there. Curveball was good. There some good changeups, too."
Unfortunately for the D-backs, the K's didn't add up to a W on Wednesday night. The Nats' pitching staff limited the Arizona offense to just one run (including going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position), magnifying Ray's few mistakes and denying him a chance at a payoff for his quality outing.
"It was a really unfortunate game for him," Lovullo said. "He threw the ball extremely well. I saw the stuff he had in the first couple of innings, and it was fairly dominant. He made pitches when he had to. We just didn't execute behind him in a couple key situations."
Despite Wednesday's loss, the strikeout streak is emblematic of the strong start Arizona's pitching staff (the rotation, in particular) has gotten out to in 2017. Entering Wednesday, the team ranked in the top 10 in the Majors in ERA, strikeouts, quality starts and innings pitched by a starter.
Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the D-backs on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.