The early part of the Major League Baseball season is not for winning divisions or pennants.
Sure, it’s better to come away with more wins than losses, but no one has ever earned a playoff spot because they played well in April.
What the early part of the Major League Baseball season is for, however, is sending messages, and the Arizona Diamondbacks sent one to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 3-0 win Friday night at Chase Field.
“I think we’ve got a pretty good ball club here,” D-backs starter Patrick Corbin said after the game. “Definitely wouldn’t sleep on us.
“We may not have the big-time names like the Dodgers do and the Giants, but we’ve got a great group of guys here that are going to go out there and fight every day and, like we did today, to put up a zero against those guys was awesome.”
The Dodgers, who boast baseball’s highest payroll, were held to just six hits on the night, in large part because of Arizona’s young left-hander.
Corbin tossed six innings of three-hit baseball, striking out four and walking three. He outdueled reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, and in improving his record to 2-0 helped the D-backs mark rise to 7-3.
By the way, the Dodgers fell to 6-4.
“You just want to win as many games as possible and just keep rolling,” outfielder Jason Kubel said. “Hopefully this keeps going.”
But back to Corbin, who was the real story Friday night..
D-backs skipper Kirk Gibson was not surprised by the 23-year-old’s effort, saying he is more competitive than people realize and has the mental makeup to thrive in games like this.
“When you’re looking at players in general you do a lot of things and you sit back and you watch, you see they respond, you see how they react,” Gibson said. “And he’s certainly a guy a guy who responds real well.”
Corbin’s response led to the D-backs’ opening salvo in what has become one of baseball’s better rivalries. Because while the Dodgers may have all the hype, right now it is the Diamondbacks who have things going for them.
After all, how else do you explain Arizona’s three runs, which came by way of a fielder’s choice groundout and a pair of bases-loaded walks? Combine that with excellent pitching and you have the recipe the team expected to win games with this year.
It was just enough to beat one of the game’s best pitchers.
“If you’re going to beat a guy like that — a team like this — you’re going to have to play a perfect game, as we did,” Gibson said.