Remember back in 2011, how the Rockies were always doing nice things for other teams, like giving them no-hitters and home run records and most visiting fans in attendance and so forth? It felt like that last night, when Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks pitched his way to his first career complete game, surrendering 1 run and 3 hits and throwing just 97 pitches. The exact same number that Rockies’ starter Jon Garland threw in 6 innings. Also, Corbin threw 25 balls. Garland threw 39.
On the bright side, this was the right night to start Garland. He’s always going to give some form of mediocre start, back end of the rotation guy that he is. His 5.19 ERA is a little high, but not far off from what I’d expect. Since he’s going to give up runs, we might as well throw him out there when the other team is giving the ball to their future Hall-of-Famer.
I don’t actually know if Corbin will find himself in the Hall, but I know this: he’s a phenom so far this season. Going into this start, he was 6-0 with a 1.52 ERA and 41 K’s. He’s been the D-backs best starter by quite a lot, as Ian Kennedy‘s star fades and Trevor Cahill underperforms. And he totally baffled the Rockies last night. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen quite so many check swings, pop-ups, and infield dribblers in the same game. They had no idea where his pitches would cross the plate, and they couldn’t figure it out despite 3 1/2 chances each. Corbin’s slider fooled them every single time, and he mixed his pitches so well they never knew when it was coming. I’d have been embarrassed for my team, but this was not a Barry Zito no-hitter. This guy was not getting lucky; he knew exactly what he was doing.
The only hitter who swung the bat with any kind of authority was Jordan Pacheco, who pinch-hit for Adam Ottavino in the 8th and hit an RBI double. Pacheco was the only one who manufactured a hit out of that slider, and he did it swinging at the first pitch. Since it worked, here’s my strategy for the next time we face Corbin: swing hard, swing early, and don’t second guess. And start Pacheco.