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D-backs’ Patrick Corbin was lights-out in crucial August stretch

Arizona Diamondbacks' Patrick Corbin warms up a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Patrick Corbin, D-backs pitcher

With no outs in the top of the eighth inning on Sunday, Patrick Corbin walked off the mound at Chase Field after hurling 7+ scoreless innings and striking out eight in what was eventually an 11-0 D-backs’ win to sweep the Giants.

For Corbin, it was just another dominant outing in the month of August.

Corbin won’t pitch again this month, which means his 96-pitch gem this weekend was the last of a stretch of August outings in which the southpaw was lights-out.

But he didn’t begin the month quite like how he finished it.

Back on Aug. 1, Corbin lasted just three innings at Wrigley Field, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and a walk. The D-backs lost that game 16-4, and Corbin’s ERA rose from 4.36 to 4.77 on the season.

He got things turned around in a hurry.

From Aug. 6 to Aug. 27, the 28-year-old former All-Star pitched a total of 36.1 innings against the Giants (twice), Cubs, Astros and Mets and went 4-1 with a 0.99 ERA. He held opponents to a .192 average and struck out 39 hitters to go with just seven walks.

His ERA on the year is now down to 3.91, sitting below the 4.00-mark for the first time since May 6.

There could be a number of reasons why Corbin has been hot as of late, but it could be thanks in part to a new hybrid pitch.

“It’s the same grip as my slider, just another pitch — backdoor slider there, curveball, whatever you want to call it,” he told Burns and Gambo on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station last week. “To keep the hitters off the balance, it’s something a little bit slower to go along with my changeup and my slider.”

It certainly hasn’t hurt Corbin to add the new weapon to his arsenal. In his dominant five-game stretch, he’s averaged 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. That’s up from his 8.7 K/9 average on the season.

With his team in the thick of a Wild Card race, Corbin’s strong showing couldn’t come at a better time. If he keeps it up, he could be a critical part of Arizona punching their ticket to the postseason.

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