Straily continues to be plagued by walks

Marlins right-hander has issued 17 free passes in 31 innings this season

Straily continues to be plagued by walks

ST. PETERSBURG -- Through his first 31 innings of 2017, Dan Straily has only allowed 20 hits. Unfortunately, he has found trouble by issuing 17 walks.

Straily was plagued by a combination of walks and home runs in a 5-1 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field on Thursday. The right-hander allowed four earned runs on just three hits over five innings, but he walked five for the second time this season. Two of the three hits he allowed were home runs off the bat of Rays shortstop Tim Beckham.

Straily's .179 batting average against ranks as the lowest among qualifying starters in the National League. His 17 walks, though, are tied for fifth in the NL. After Thursday night's outing, he has a 4.65 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

"You're competing with whatever you have for that evening or that day, whatever it is," Straily said. "You're out there just competing, and today, the stuff that I had to compete with, I didn't have as much command. But at the same time, there is no excuse for that. I have to find a way to get more outs, more efficient outs with what I have each day."

The pair of home runs from Beckham both came with a runner on base due to a Straily walk.

"It's very frustrating," Straily said. "I feel like I've been beating myself, and just handing out free bases and tonight, it really hurt me. I've been saying for the last year-plus that it's OK to give up homers, but you can't walk the guy in front of him, and that just can't happen."

"Other than keeping Mr. Beckham from hitting the ball in the seats, we would have been in a little bit different game," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "But yeah, the walks get him into a little bit of trouble."

In 191 1/3 innings last season with the Reds, Straily walked 73.

"Their guy was tough," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We weren't scoring, obviously, a lot of runs, or squaring up anything. [Beckham] was the only one that saw him good."

Straily took the loss on Thursday, his third of the season. His latest outing again proved that he hasn't had much of a margin for error this season.

"It all came down to two pitches. It really did. The whole game came down to two pitches," Straily said. "It just goes to show that you never know which pitch is going to affect the game."

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.