Major League Baseball

Ray, Bumgarner finally square off in Dbacks-Giants series finale

mlb11DIAMONDBACKS (43-42) AT GIANTS (35-47)
4:05 p.m. ET; NBCSBA, FS-A, MLB.TV

Former All-Star left-handers Robbie Ray and Madison Bumgarner go head-to-head for the first time in their careers Sunday afternoon when the Arizona Diamondbacks and host San Francisco wrap up a four-game series.

Starting pitching has been the driving force in the Diamondbacks winning two of the first three in the series, with rookie Alex Young and veteran Zack Greinke throwing gems in 5-1 and 4-3 wins, respectively.

Ray (5-5, 3.90) has made 13 starts in his career against the Giants, and Bumgarner (4-7, 4.21) has made 33 against the Diamondbacks. Remarkably, they’ve never been on the same day.

They missed each other by one day when the Giants visited Arizona in May, with Bumgarner pitching an 8-5 win one game before Ray got a no-decision in a 3-2 loss.

Ray rebounded to pitch an 18-2 win at San Francisco when the clubs met a week later, a series in which Bumgarner did not pitch.

Ray is 5-1 with a 3.01 ERA in his 13 starts against the Giants, including 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in six starts in San Francisco.

His success has come despite Evan Longoria going 6-for-11 against him with three doubles and a home run.

He’s never faced Bumgarner as a hitter.

Ray has struggled in his last three starts, going 0-2 while allowing 11 runs and 13 hits in 18 1/3 innings.

Ray should benefit from having Carson Kelly back behind the plate Sunday. The young slugger got Saturday night off after ripping Giants pitching for five hits, including two doubles and a home run, in the first two games of the series.

The homer was Kelly’s ninth of the season, all of which have come since May 4, when he ended a three-year drought with the first of his career.

“What it did was it just kind of allowed me take a deep breath and go out and do what I normally do,” he explained to reporters earlier in the series. “What I’ve done the last couple of years in Triple-A, building off that confidence and also continue to progress swing-wise, mentally and all aspects of the game, it’s benefitted me so far.”

Kelly will be up against Bumgarner, who will take the momentum of a 4-2 win over Colorado on Tuesday to the mound with him for the series finale.

He’s logged an 11-11 record and 2.58 ERA in his 34 head-to-heads with the Diamondbacks (he has one appearance against them as a reliever).

Bumgarner’s success in his only start against Arizona this season came against a lineup that no longer includes slugger Paul Goldschmidt, who owns a.333 average with three homers and 10 RBIs in 78 career plate appearances against Bumgarner.

The Giants’ homestand, which began with two losses in three games against Colorado, hasn’t been what manager Bruce Bochy had hoped for a club mired in last place in the National League West.

“We’re disappointed,” he assured reporters as the Giants hit the midpoint of their season earlier in the series. “We looked at a lot of the games and they were games we should have, could have won. There’s a mistake here or there or not quite the right execution. Little things caught up with us in the first half, and hopefully we get that turned around.”

–Field Level Media

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