Potomac's Ray struggles early in loss, but team maintains drive

WOODBRIDGE, Va. -- Potomac Nationals left-hander Robbie Ray had his shortest outing of the season Wednesday in a 9-1 loss to Wilmington. Ray managed to get only two of the first eight batters out as the Blue Rocks scored seven runs in the first inning.

Ironically, before the game manager Brian Rupp said one rocky inning had been the southpaw's undoing recently. Unfortunately, that inning was the first frame on Wednesday afternoon at Pfitzner Stadium.

"He has been pretty good," Rupp said. "He has a bad inning here or there which kind of makes the numbers not look as good. For the most part he hangs in there and battles, gives us a chance to win, usually. Most nights he is pitching five or six innings. If he can limit that one inning he will even do better."

Rupp said it has been certainly a tough couple of weeks where the P-Nats have won just four of their last 15 games, but they remain only 3 1/2 games out of first place.

"We preached a lot about the team and playing for each other," Rupp said. "I think the guys are starting to buy into that and build off of that. We don't obviously execute it every time. We had a comeback the night before, coming back late in the game and having a chance. Hopefully, we can keep that trend going."

Outfielder Randolph Oduber has been out with a hamate bone injury in his hand suffered when he dove down the right field line into foul territory for a ball. He showed the scar and stitches in his hand where the injury occurred and said he is on the road to recovery but is unsure if he will be able to return this season with games running out.

Outfielder Steven Souza, Jr., ran in the outfield and appears closer to returning. Souza injured his knee after running hard into the wall going after a hit late in a game on their most recent road trip. He is still on the disabled list.

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