ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Saturday may have been Corbin’s last Chase Field start as a Diamondback

Sep 22, 2018, 6:48 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2018, 12:20 am
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin throws in the first inning during a baseball game again...
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Patrick Corbin’s start on Saturday did not go according to plan. In giving up four runs in three innings to the Colorado Rockies, the Arizona Diamondbacks found themselves even further away from the playoff picture than when they entered the game.

It was a letdown for what may have been Corbin’s final start as a Diamondback at Chase Field.

“He’s done it the right way every single time and prepared the right way and taken the ball the way an Arizona Diamondback should,” manager Torey Lovullo said before the game Saturday.

Corbin established himself as a quality left-handed pitcher this season, forming a one-two All-Star punch with Zack Greinke.

But with that success came one downfall: Corbin may demand a higher price in free agency this offseason than the Diamondbacks are able or willing to pay.

Left-handed pitchers are at a premium, and the 29-year-old is at the top of the list of southpaw free agents with former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and J.A. Happ.

“He’s put himself in a great position because he’s performed, he’s been doing it for the two years that I’ve known him,” Lovullo said.

As he developed a dominant slider, Corbin became one of the outstanding pitchers this season. Entering Saturday, his 6.2 WAR was third-best of all qualified pitchers in the MLB, highest among lefties, and his 3.09 ERA was the third-best of all qualified lefties.

Corbin is nearing his first season with 200 innings pitched since his All-Star campaign in 2013.

He suffered an elbow injury and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery after that promising season. Corbin returned for 16 starts in 2015 but couldn’t regain his form, eventually being relegated to the bullpen.

But in the final months of 2017, Corbin began to show what made him so special as an All-Star early in his career.

His 2.51 ERA over his final 10 games helped the D-backs clinch a playoff spot.

“He’s never let me down,” Lovullo said. “Every time he’s taken the ball, he’s gone out there and given me his absolute best and that’s all I can ask for as a manager.”

Lovullo, who was in his first season with Arizona, came to view Corbin differently about a month before this run started.

When pitcher Taijuan Walker went on paternity leave in July 2017, Corbin volunteered to pitch on four days rest. He gave up one run in 7.1 innings pitched, picking up the win over the Cincinnati Reds.

“That was the first time I thought, ‘Now this is a guy that’s ready to do something special for his team and this organization,'” Lovullo said.

He stepped up again in 2018.

With Walker missing most of the season due to Tommy John surgery and Robbie Ray struggling to find his 2017 form, Corbin became the second of a one-two punch with Zack Greinke. The two made the All-Star team and were bright spots of the D-backs rotation that, before the acquisition of Clay Buchholz, had serious question marks.

“No matter what happens, no matter where his career goes, whether it’s here, there … he’s done it the right way every single time,” Lovullo said.

A quick look into the offseason: Nine of the top 25 pitcher salaries this season went to left-handed pitchers, ranging from perennial Cy Young candidates like Clayton Kershaw (seven years, $215 million) to certified All-Stars like Jon Lester (six years, $155 million) to solid southpaws like Alex Cobb (four years, $57 million) and Rich Hill (3 years, $48 million).

With Greinke owed $31.5 million next season and Paul Goldschmidt about to enter his final year, Arizona may not be able to compete with the deep-pocketed ball clubs looking for left-handed help.

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen reacts after giving up a three-run home run to Col...
Associated Press

D-backs squander 5-run lead in solid start from Gallen, lose to Rockies

Zac Gallen turned in another solid performance at hitter friendly Coors Field but the D-backs were unable to pick up the win.
24 hours ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' David Peralta follows the flight of his single off Colorado Rockies starting ...
Alex Weiner

D-backs’ David Peralta blasts grand slam, climbs franchise HR list

D-backs outfielder David Peralta shot a hanging slider deep into the stands of right field for his third career grand slam.
24 hours ago
Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies scores on a Kris Bryant RBI single against the Arizona Dia...
Associated Press

Arizona Diamondbacks pitching gets rocked in loss to Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies scored 11 runs on 12 hits off of Arizona Diamondbacks pitching as the D-backs fell 11-7 on Saturday night at Coors Field.
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel works against the Colorado Rockies during the ...
Jake Anderson

Dallas Keuchel roughed up in 2nd start for Diamondbacks vs. Rockies

It was a rough day at the office for D-backs left-handed starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel against the Rockies at Coors Field on Saturday night.
2 days ago
Cooper Hummel #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates his home run against the Washington Nation...
Alex Weiner

D-backs recall OF Cooper Hummel, option 1B/OF Pavin Smith

The Arizona Diamondbacks recalled rookie Cooper Hummel and optioned first baseman Pavin Smith to Triple-A Reno, the team announced Saturday.
2 days ago
(Twitter photo / @Padres)...
Arizona Sports

San Diego Padres unveil colorful City Connect uniforms

The San Diego Padres released MLB's newest and perhaps most colorful City Connect uniforms with a blend of pink, green and yellow.
2 days ago
Saturday may have been Corbin’s last Chase Field start as a Diamondback