Patrick Corbin hit hard for second straight start, D-backs fall to Mets
PHOENIX — Torey Lovullo predicted it pregame.
OK, so he was actually speaking big picture, referencing the New York Mets’ recent struggles and how no team can take another for granted, when he said about Steven Matz, Saturday night’s starting pitcher, “he can throw a shutout against anybody. If he’s feeling it, he can throw a shutout against anybody.”
Lovullo’s words were prophetic.
No, Matz didn’t throw a shutout but he did blank the Arizona Diamondbacks over the first five innings and finished with just one run allowed in 6.2 innings. More importantly, he helped the Mets end a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 win in front of an announced crowd of 31,824 at Chase Field on Saturday.
Matz (3-4) scattered six hits, five of them singles. He walked one and struck out three to earn his first victory since May 24.
Meanwhile in the other dugout, it’s been since April 22 the last time Patrick Corbin won a game at Chase Field. He dropped to 0-3 with two no decisions in his last five home starts.
Saturday’s outing was particularly discouraging. It marked the second time in as many starts in which he was tagged for five earned runs.
Michael Conforto did most of the damage. He hit a three-run home run in the second and a run-scoring double in the sixth inning. The four RBI were a career-high.
Overall, Corbin (6-3) allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks, one intentional, and seven strikeouts.
With the loss, the D-backs’ lead in the NL West was trimmed to 1.5 games over the Dodgers.
It’s been a D-backs’ staple all season: Good defense. It was on display once again Saturday, in particular Chris Owings. Making his sixth start in center field, Owings threw out Brandon Nimmo trying to score from second to home on Devin Mesoraco’s sixth-inning single. Owings barehanded the ball, while John Ryan Murphy did a great job blocking home plate. It marked Owings’ second outfield assist of the season.
One of the few players to solve Matz was Nick Ahmed. He accounted for two of the D-backs’ six hits off the Mets left-hander. Ahmed singled in the third and tripled in the sixth inning; the latter of which saw him score the D-backs first run on an RBI groundout by Paul Goldschmidt. Ahmed finished 2-for-4 and has now hit safely in 10 of his last 14 games; batting .298 (14-for-47) with six RBI and seven runs scored.
How much does Conforto like to hit against Corbin? Think Paul Goldschmidt and Tim Lincecum. Entering the game, Conforto had hit two home runs in six career plate appearances against Corbin. Make that three home runs in seven career plate appearances after his second-inning three-run shot. Conforto lined a first-pitch fastball clocked at 91.5 mph over the fence in right-field. The only other left-handed batter Corbin has allowed multiple homers to in his career besides Conforto is San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford.
The date was June 1. The Mets hosted the Cubs that day and scored four runs. Twelve games later, the Mets reached the four-run mark once again when Amed Rosario touched home plate on a wild pitch — the ball bounced away from Murphy — in the third inning, putting the visitors ahead 4-0. The 11 games between saw the Mets score three runs or fewer which tied for the fifth-longest streak in team history and the longest since 1981 (Aug. 23-Sept. 2) when the club also went 11 straight games scoring three or fewer runs.
Four innings after hitting his ninth home run, Conforto added a run-scoring double, his sixth two-base hit of the season, off Corbin. He lined a 2-2 slider off the right-field fence to bring home Mesoraco to make the score 5-0 Mets. Conforto has been a thorn in the D-backs’ side all season. His four-RBI night gave him nine against the D-backs here in 2018. Conforto finished 2-for-4 and is now 8-for-21 (.381) with three home runs in six games against the D-backs. By the way, he had been two for his last 29 in his prior nine games.
STAT OF THE GAME
10: Of the 20 outs Matz recorded, 10 were groundball outs including four comebackers, two by Jon Jay.
HE SAID IT
“Worrisome? No. Not an issue for me whatsoever,” Lovullo said, when asked about Corbin’s struggles in back-to-back starts. “We know that the season is going to have good and bad moments, but I just thought the pitch sequencing was a little bit off. I thought there was a lot of fastball mistakes out over the plate that were hit and they were handled by the Mets.”
Corbin threw a first-pitch strike to 14-of-27 batters faced; in addition, he reached a 3-ball count four times.
Goldschmidt went 0-for-4 ending an 11-game hitting streak which had been baseball’s longest active streak.
Owings went 1-for-4 and has now reached base safely in 10 of his last 16 games; batting .222 (10-for-45).
Daniel Descalso has reached base safely in a career-high 15 consecutive games; batting .405 (17-for-42).
Robert Gsellman entered the game with two outs in the seventh innings by taking a ride in the bullpen cart.
With a first-pitch temperature of 75 degrees, the game was played with both the roof and the panels closed.
The series, and homestand, concludes with right-handers Clay Buchholz and Zack Wheeler taking the mound on Sunday, June 17. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
Buchholz (1-1) has not factored into the decision in his last two starts.
With that said, however, Buchholz has pitched very well for the D-backs since his arrival in late May. He’s thrown at least five innings and allowed two runs or fewer in four of his five starts, with three of those outings seeing the opposition scoring only one run.
Buchholz has faced the Mets just twice in his career, going 0-1 with a 8.59 ERA.
Meanwhile, Wheeler (2-5) has gone eight starts without a victory. He last visited the win column on April 29, beating the Padres in San Diego. Since then, it’s been four losses and four no decisions.
Wheeler will be making his fourth career start at Chase Field, recording quality starts each time. Overall, he’s 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in four appearances against the D-backs.