Ray and Doubledays Offense Ready for Finals

Ray and Doubledays Offense Ready for Finals

When Game One of the Championship Series between the Auburn Doubledays and the Staten Island Yankees opens up on Wednesday, Robert Ray will be standing on the mound trying to pitch the Doubledays into the series advantage. Ray has been one of the most consistent starters for Auburn this year, and one of their best. The first-year player even was part of a combined no-hit bit earlier this season.

Ray has been on a strict pitch count this year after being selected in the 7th Round out of Texas A&M this past June. He has gone six innings just three times this season, and has pitched mostly into the fifth inning. His pitch count has been in the 60-to-70 range the entire season, and that was even true back on August 26, when he had a no-hitter threw five innings and was removed in favor of Adrian Martin since he has reached his pitch count limit. On the season the right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.77 ERA. In 61.2 innings of work, he allowed just 46 hits, issued 20 walks and recorded 58 strikeouts as opponents hit .204 off him.

Ray will be getting his first look at Staten Island for the first time this season. Unlike the other two Doubledays who are scheduled to pitch this series, Eric Fowler and Kristian Bell, Ray did not face the Yankees in their three game series earlier this season. Ray has performed much better at home than on the road. He has a 2.32 ERA in 31 innings at home with opponents hitting .184 off him, as opposed to hit 3.23 ERA in 30.2 innings on the road, with opponents hitting .223 off him.

The offense for Auburn has been on fire in their two playoff games this season and if they remain this hot, Ray will be extremely comfortable on the mound. There is some cause for concern however, as Joey Metropoulos is expected to miss some time with a laceration on his thumb after sliding into home plate on Sunday, and also Ryan Patterson and Cory Patton have bumps and bruises from their extended seasons. Patton began the year playing with Lansing and Patterson was drafted in the 2005 draft, therefore, has been playing since the spring.

Two key players that could lift Auburn to the championship are Brian Bormaster and Jacob Butler. Bormaster, the All-Star catcher of the Doubledays, hit a grand-slam home run in Game One of their series with Oneonta, and went 2-for-4 with an RBI in Game Two. Butler, had a tremendous game in the clincher against Oneonta, as he went 5-for-6 with 6 runs batted in.

If Auburn has a lead late in the game, they will be feeling very comfortable with Paul Phillips on the mound. Phillips has converted all of his 13 save opportunities this season and has a 2.29 ERA in 39.1 innings.

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