Arizona Diamondbacks: Patrick Corbin stumbles out of the gate
By Mark Brown
Arizona Diamondbacks’ left-hander Patrick Corbin’s elevated pitch count was the catalyst for an early departure.
Here at the start of the season, the fear is a repeat. After Corbin’s second straight stellar spring, left-hander Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks stumbled out of the gate and delivered the opposite results.
Last season, his malady continued past the All-Star game, and eventually, Corbin was banished to the bullpen. Arriving at Salt River for spring training this February, Corbin vowed to right the ship and exercise nagging demons from the past. During spring games, Corbin told Venom Strikes his primary goal was to overcome the frustration of last season by pounding the strike zone and working on an improved curve as an out pitch.
The plan appeared to work, and Corbin was rewarded with an appointment to the rotation. As strong as his spring recovery, that’s how poor we found, by contrast, his first start of the season.
Reaching an inordinately high pitch count Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants, Corbin made the judgment by manager Torey Lovullo to lift him from the game as a relatively easy decision. Corbin lasted four innings, his pitch count hit 87, and he left not by the Giants’ offensive power but his inefficient control of the game.
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For his four innings in an eventual 8-4 loss to the Giants before 19,378 at Chase Field Tuesday night, Corbin allowed seven hits, three runs, two earned, but his pitch count was in the stratosphere
Manager Torey Lovullo agreed Corbin’s pitch count rose, and the skipper felt reliever Randall Delgado was better going into certain match-ups. Still, Corbin’s inability to go deep into this game and his elevated pitch count could represent a few red flags flying over Chase Field. After his outing, Corbin told Venom Strikes he was felt good and ready to attack hitters.
"That wasn’t my best and I missed a couple of spots. No, I was not tired and felt ready. I missed on a couple of sliders and my two-seamer was okay. The pitch count was up there and I need to bring that down"
Here at the start of the season, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that Corbin’s pitch count of 87 was not terribly alarming and if this game were in July, Corbin would have likely stayed. Given the number of pitches thrown and impending match-ups, Lovullo went to Delgado.
Relieving Corbin for the top of the fifth, Delgado simply imploded. In just 2/3 of an inning, he allowed five hits, walked one and surrendered five runs. Archie Bradley came in behind Delgado and shut down the Giants. Going 3.1 innings, Bradley allowed three hits, no runs and fanned seven hitters. Afterward, Lovullo explained to Venom Strikes why he chose Delgado.
"We like the match-ups in that inning. Delgado has weapons to get left-hitters out but we did not play the way we normally play."
An error by shortstop Chris Owings on a ball hit by pitcher Johnny Cueto, a potential double-play ball, was the catalyst and Delgado then gave up a pair of doubles to Gorkys Hernandez and Brandon Belt. Those hits opened the floodgates in the Giants’ five-run, fifth inning, and effectively closed the curtain on this one.
The series with the San Francisco Giants continues Wednesday night. That’s when right-hander Taijuan Walker (8-11, 4.22 ERA, 25 starts for Seattle) makes his National League debut and faces Giants’ lefty Matt Moore (6-5, 4.08 ERA, 12 starts for San Francisco).
In the series finale Thursday night, look for lefty Robbie Ray (8-15, 4.80 ERA in 32 starts) to oppose righty Jeff Samardzija (11-13, 3.81 ERA in 32 starts).
Next: Diamondbacks season preview
Both games begin at 6:40 p.m. (Pacific time).