The Salt River Rafters outscored Peoria 12-9 in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday, rallying from an early 7-1 deficit. A five-run sixth inning and a four-run ninth broke open an 8-7 game for the win. The Rafters are now 5-2.
Good game for Anthony Rendon as designated hitter, going 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Rendon delivered a two-run double in the ninth.
Jason Martinson got to play third and went 0-for-4 with a sacrifice and one RBI on his taxi squad day, Matt Skole got the day off.
Ryan Perry started, but allowed five runs in two innings, surrendering a three-run shot early to catcher Mike Zunino. Paul Demny came on and allowed two runs on three hits in two innings. His ERA is still 3.18. Perry and Demny each had one wild pitch.
I also found out that Cole Kimball’s contact lenses did not arrive in time for his first outing, so he had to wear glasses, and that is the reason he gave up those three walks. He is all good now with the contacts and I heard he will never try to Tyler Clippard it again with the glasses.
Furthering my updates from instructional league pitchers, Potomac Nationals pitching coach Chris Michalak gave some insight on left-hander Robbie Ray’s season.
Ray went 4-12 with a 6.56 ERA with the P-Nats, in 21 starts over 105 2/3 innings. He had 86 strikeouts and 49 walks. Ray ended up losing his last five decisions. But on Sept. 1, he allowed just one run in five innings at Wilmington, and that showed the promise of what Ray can do, but he just needs to be more consistent.
Michalak said Ray had to pick up a lot early at such a young age and has worked hard to learn what it takes to get guys out every pitch, every inning.
“Some people don’t realize was 20 years old (Ray turned 21 on Oct. 1) pitching in the Carolina League,” Michalak said. “That is a tough league for a 20-year-old kid. Robbie competed his butt off all year long and made adjustments throughout the year.
“It is a tough time to try to make adjustments during the season and learn how on the fly. But he was up for the challenge and he was aggressive. He competed every time out. The numbers may not have shown it, but he made strides throughout the year.
Michalak said that is why instructional league was so good for Ray because they were able to focus in on some precise adjustments to his pitching mechanics to help him for next season.
“He was able to in instructional league really hone in on just a couple of mechanical adjustments and took off with it and it was really exciting to see,” Michalak said.
“He understands it is a process. He understands that sometimes adjustments we make at this level, we aren’t trying to get Robbie Ray to win a Carolina League game, we are trying to get Robbie Ray to pitch at the big league level. So maybe some of the things we are asking him to do he may take his lumps but in the long haul it is going to benefit him.
“The people in Potomac may not see it, but the people in Washington couple years down the road will benefit from it. He is always eager and willing to make adjustments to get better.”
Michalak said Ray sees the big picture too and works at his craft every day, listening and making changes when necessary to improve his game.
“He doesn’t get down on himself or anything like that,” Michalak said. “(Ray) works extremely hard. For a 20-year-old kid, he has got a good aptitude of what the process is all about.”