Barring one of the more miraculous comebacks in recent baseball memory, any shot the Arizona Diamondbacks had at a playoff spot probably slipped out of their reach over the last two weeks.
With that in mind, the performance of Patrick Corbin down the stretch may very well be the most important storyline to keep an eye on the rest of the way.
If Monday afternoon is any indication, the 26-year old lefty is on the right track.
Corbin scattered six hits over six shutout innings, as the Diamondbacks knocked off the San Francisco Giants by a score of 6-1 in front of 28,078 at Chase Field on Labor Day.
Five different Arizona batters turned in multi-hit performances including Phil Gosselin and A.J. Pollock, who each homered.
For Corbin, the last two months have been pivotal. Following a lengthy absence from Tommy John surgery that dated all the way back to Sept. 27, 2013, he made his season debut on July 4 and promptly picked up a win. Overall, he’s now 5-3 on the year, and he’s been particularly impressive of late, going 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last three starts.
Considering the inconsistency the D-backs have dealt with in the rotation over the last few seasons, a healthy Corbin could be just what this organization needs in 2016 and beyond.
-Gosselin got the scoring started with a three-run home run in the second – his third career long ball, and second with the D-backs this season. He also pulled off a nice slide to beat a throw home in the fourth inning, and ultimately finished with a full stat line of two hits, two runs scored, three RBIs and the homer.
-With runners on first and third and no one out in the top of the fourth, Pollock camped under a Brandon Belt fly to center, caught it and fired a one-hopper on a line to Welington Castillo behind the plate. That held Buster Posey at third, and Corbin managed to work his way out of the inning completely unscathed.
-Pollock also hit his 16th home run of the year. He had 17 career home runs entering this season.
-Jake Lamb reached base four times Monday, and now has a six-game hitting streak.
-Not to be outdone, David Peralta is riding a six-game hitting streak as well.
-This was a pretty mistake-free game for the D-backs, who committed no errors or baserunning mishaps. The one negative came in the eighth, when Daniel Hudson gave up three hits and allowed the lone San Francisco run to score. But even that was hardly “bad”.
STAT OF THE GAME
101: Paul Goldschmidt coaxed his 101st walk of the year in the fifth inning. By doing so, he passed Luis Gonzalez to set a new single-season franchise record.
HE SAID IT
“He [Corbin] usually has that one inning where he struggles and they get a couple off of him. But it seemed like today, he had a little trouble each inning but it wasn’t as much of a struggle and he kept his pitch count in check. Went through six – which was great, and had enough pitches probably to start the seventh. But, at this point, after all these starts… just like to get him out of there with the shut out. He did a nice job.” – Chip Hale
-Monday’s contest marked the start of 22 consecutive games against NL West opponents for Arizona. The only games left outside of the division are a three-game series with the Astros to close out the season.
These two clubs will meet up for the second game of this three-game set on Tuesday night. Chase Anderson gets the nod for the D-backs, while the Giants send Tim Hudson to the hill. First pitch is set for 6:40, with pregame coverage beginning at 6 on Arizona Sports 98.7.
Anderson (6-5) quietly began the year in pretty strong fashion, allowing two runs or less in seven of his first nine starts — and 10 of his first 13. He then hit a two-month rough patch from the middle of June to the middle of August, but has bounced back with a 1-0 record and 2.55 ERA over his three most recent starts. In his last outing, he took a no-decision while yielding three earned runs over five innings in a 9-4 loss at Colorado on Sept. 2.
This will be Anderson’s third career start against San Francisco. He’s 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA in the first two.
Ryan Vogelsong (9-11) was originally supposed to get the start for the Giants, but he ended up pitching in a relief role Monday. So Hudson (6-8) will look for his first win in over two months. A shoulder injury has limited the veteran righty to just two appearances in that stretch, and they have both been out of the bullpen. Tuesday will mark the first time he has started a game since June 26.