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Diamondbacks Robbie Ray is Straight Forward With His Pitches and His Faith

Tom Buehring - 700 Club Producer

At first glance, he’s a flamethrower! Arizona Diamondbacks Robbie Ray is an emergent talent, putting an unusual bite into his pitch, saying, “I’m not an aimer. I’m more of a hard nose, in your face kind of pitcher. I’m coming at you and with my best stuff all the time. I’m not a guy that’s gonna nibble on corners. I’m not looking to trick you. I’m coming at you with what I got and that’s it!”   

More than enough to entrench Robbie as the left-handed power option in the Diamondbacks rotation, where the 25 year-old settles into his third summer playing in Phoenix. How has the adjustment to Phoenix been for a Tennessee guy? Robbie explains, “It’s been different, actually two years ago when I got traded over here was the first time I’d ever seen a cactus. Haven’t seen any rattlesnakes! Scorpions – we had a teammate that caught 10 or 12 of them in a little jar and that was pretty cool to see those but I know they’re out there.      

It comes with the territory. Fitting for a Diamondback, who adapts to Arizona’s hot desert temperatures! “It gets really hot,” Robbie says, “but what I guess what people don’t really understand is there’s no humidity out here so you don’t really sweat a whole lot, unless you get going a lot.”      

Robbie throws a lot - last season leading his team in innings pitched while finishing with the fourth most strikeouts in the national league as the fastball specialist brings his own heat! How does he generate his velocity? Robbie says, “I just kind of listen to what my body’s telling me, like this is where my arm should be. And then I really drive down the mound. I think that’s the biggest key. And arm speed. I have probably a higher than average arm speed and that creates that whip to get the velocity through the zone.”  

Is the talent a gift or a skill that’s learned? Robbie believes, “that’s a gift from God for sure! I mean I don’t think you can teach arm speed and you can’t train arm speed. It’s just something you’re given.”  

Robbie is in rare, historic company! Joining just twelve other major league pitchers all-time - averaging over 11 strikeouts during 9 innings in a season. Robbie says, “I feel like that tells me I’m capable of more, honestly!  I feel like I’ve got a pretty good ground floor of where I’m at right now. Last year I felt like there were starts where I could tell the guy ‘hey this is what’s coming’ and he still wasn’t gonna hit it. I have that feel now of knowing where that edge is. So it’s something that I can get to pretty quickly.  It’s all about harnessing that and being able to maintain that throughout the whole season.”  

Robbie’s learned to juggle the balance of tenacity and game pacing with every pitch saying, “I have that feel now of knowing where that edge is. So its something that I can get to pretty quickly.”  

An edge that also gives him a balanced view of the conditional rewards in his profession with the unconditional grace of his faith. As a Christ-follower, what does that do for his perspective? Robbie responds, saying, “I think its just trusting Him daily. What really put it in perspective for me is when I had my first son. And I realized the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father is a lot similar to that. He can disobey me but I could still love him. And so I know every time I mess up, every time I do something wrong – that God still loves me.”  

Strikeout artist Robbie Ray – who grips both the ball and things eternal, delivers on a different inside pitch. Robbie believes, “I feel like its just going out there every single game. It kind of gives me an opportunity to provide, ‘cuz people see me and they know who I am. And they know that I’m a Christ-follower and so it’s just me putting what God has given me on display for people. So, we have the ultimate stage to just go out there and speak of His glory every day by just doing what we do.” 

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