The Arizona Diamondbacks are now 13-5 with their sixth straight series win to start the year. This was a tight series with good pitching and low scoring throughout. The two hour and five-minute opener was the marquee game of the series that provide Patrick Corbin with a one-hit shutout. Although the series started with a high note, it wasn’t all smooth sailing to secure a series win.
- Patrick Corbin is a new pitcher
Corbin is off to a scorching hot start as he his 3-0 in four starts. Batters are hitting just .151 against him, and he has punched out 37 batters in 27.1 innings.
The evolution of Corbin’s game was on full display as he was mixing the speed of his slider and just throwing the slider more often than ever. This year he is throwing his slider 51.1% of the time compared to his career high of 38% last year. It ranges from 70-82 mph as it looks like a curveball at times. His combination of “get me over” slower sliders and hard sliders at the back foot of righties was lethal all night long.
While Corbin was nearly unhittable on Tuesday night, there were times when Corbin was missing his spots with his fastball. In general, he is keeping his fastball low though as he is getting 56.1% groundballs which is a career high so far. While he might be missing spots with the fastball, he was very aggressive in the zone to get ahead of Giants batters. There were some hard hit balls, but his defense will always have his back especially if he works quick and aggressively in the zone.
2. D-Backs must have better at-bats with runners in scoring position
The Diamondbacks had more than enough chances offensively to score runs from the 7th inning on in Wednesday’s extra-inning loss. In the 7th, Goldy was stranded at second base after a leadoff double due to strikeouts from Pollock and Avila.
Jarrod Dyson took advantage of a leadoff double from Nick Ahmed in the 8th with an RBI triple, but Dyson was then stranded by bad at-bats from Owings and Marte.
In the 9th, Goldy led off with another double and then scored from a Pollock double. Daniel Descalso had a chance to knock in Pollock for a walk-off, but Austin Jackson made a nice play off a deep line drive to centerfield to keep it to a sac fly. Alex Avila came up next and struck out again to make two outs after he looked at two very hittable pitches to go down 0-2. After a Nick Ahmed walk, Dyson couldn’t capitalize with two outs as he grounded out.
Like in the 8th and 9th, the D-Backs led off the 10th with doubles from John Ryan Murphy and David Peralta to come within a run of the Giants. With no outs, Marte moved Peralta to third. Goldy was then intentionally walked, and Pollock struck out to make it two outs in the inning. Descalso was then walked after two prior good at-bats that unluckily resulted in outs. Avila had a chance to redeem himself from his 0-4, four-strikeout game, but he rolled over a ball to Belt at first to end the comeback.
Pollock and Avila combined for four strikeouts and just one hit in six at-bats with runners in scoring position late in the game. These guys are too good to not make contact with less than two outs and a runner in scoring position. Striking out with a runner on second with no outs is just not acceptable.
The video above starts in the 7th inning, and it shows a few of the at-bats that stranded runners. This game was very winnable with runners left in scoring position with no outs four times in the last four innings.
3. The lineup needs Jake Lamb and Steven Souza Jr. back soon
AJ Pollock hit a big home run off of starter Ty Blach Thursday to take a 2-1 lead, but before that, he had struck out 10 times in the past 7 games. His power numbers have been there with 4 homers and 8 doubles, but he really struggled the past two series to get the ball in play. Pollock has never struck out more than 90 times in a season, and he is on pace for a little more than a strikeout a game right now.
Daniel Descalso, Deven Marrero, and Jarrod Dyson have all had some good moments so far this season even with some bad luck (Descalso lining out & Marrero’s long single), but they are all just hovering around a .200 batting average. With just seven runs in this series, Lamb and Souza’s pop is definitely missed in the lineup.