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Patrick Corbin’s quirky curveball got weirder in D-backs’ shutout of Giants

Patrick Corbin got help from a solid defense behind him. He was efficient by allowing one hit and going the distance in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.

The lefty’s slider was in a groove, and his fastball was locating where he wanted.

His outing also displayed a curveball that’s new to his toolbox this year.

And throughout the evening, the pitch got even quirkier than it’d been all season.

“I think I made up a pitch today, just threw a pitch at 65 (mph),” Corbin told reporters Tuesday after recording eight strikeouts. “I’ve never done that. I’m not sure where that came from.

“Just throwing that slower breaking ball, the harder one; just locating my two-seamer’s been huge; and pitching inside when I need to so just repeating my delivery — it helped being able to go out there …”

The results of the pitch mix?

Late in the game, Giants batters looked like bar patrons stumbling out the front door at closing time.

In the final two innings, they were still swinging at pitches thrown into the dirt, and the single hit on a check swing by Brandon Belt came on a pitch just barely in the strike zone.

Take the above video as further proof of how Corbin confused San Francisco. Hunter Pence — granted, a struggling Hunter Pence — whiffed at a 69-mph pitch far off the plate and was so shook he lost his bat.

San Francisco never got a read on which pitch was coming.

Early in Corbin’s career, the one-time All-Star went heavy with his fastball and also had a changeup in his repertoire. But this year, per FanGraph’s pitch type tracking data, he’s ditched the changeup for more of a 50-50 mix between fastball and slider.

More precisely, it’s a 48-48 percent mix with a wonky curveball that averages 74 mph making up 2.9 percent of his pitches.

“My slider was there. I thought the breaking ball — I had a couple good ones I thought, some that just spun out a little bit. It’s just something I’ve been working with and had some success with, so just something in the low 70s and just keeps the hitters off-balance,” Corbin said Tuesday.

And this is what the Giants’ swing-and-miss chart looked like against the entire product.


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