The D'backs lefty has been hit hard in the early going, but is there reason to hope he might bounce back going forward?
I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, which has an interesting dynamic of simultaneously being urban and rural. It’s the state capitol and stereotyped to be overwhelmingly liberal, yet the landscape is peppered with farm after farm no more than five minutes outside the city’s borders. You’ll find so-called hippies hanging out on State Street, playing guitar and singing for peace, and tractors blocking an entire lane of a highway just a mile or two apart from each other.
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Diamondbacks success story Patrick Corbin continues to pitch well with a standout start in Cincinnati.
The Tuesday Takeaway
As one of the league’s least-friendly venues for pitchers, Great American Ball Park is not an easy place to log a complete game. As of Tuesday morning, it had played host to only 41 nine-plus-inning outings in the 11-plus seasons of its existence. It’s even more difficult to work nine or more frames in Cincinnati’s home yard without walking a batter; until Tuesday, that had happened on only 17 occasions. And only two of those 17 lines featured double-digit strikeouts.
Last night, Patrick Corbin upped those numbers to 42, 18, and three, adding another masterpiece to his breakout season.
Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks
Cahill showed up to camp svelter than usual. The offseason work paid off with a strong April, as Cahill averaged more than seven innings per start while striking out about 2.5 batters per walk issued. He saved his best for last: throwing eight innings of one-run ball on Tuesday against the Giants. The bread-and-butter of Cahill's arsenal remains his sinker. His secondary pitch of choice has changed, however. Cahill threw his cutter 26 percent of the time in April, compared to 11 percent in 2012. Increased confidence in the pitch gives Cahill a fourth option, or at least a backup plan on nights when he cannot find the feel for his changeup.
Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks
Yes, another Arizona starter acquired through an earlier trade. Corbin allowed one home run in 33 innings after allowing 14 homers last season in 107 innings. A considerable difference, and one that allows for improvement even after regression. There are two encouraging signs from Corbin so far: 1) his velocity is slightly up, and—more importantly—2) his command has been better. Corbin must stay down in the zone in order to be effective. He's done just that early this season.
Two talented young Diamondbacks starters with different degrees of upside join the group.
Your usual host, Paul Sporer, is away this week crossing things off his bucket list. Things like meeting Robert Pattinson, teaching tortoises how to french kiss, making snow angels in horse manure, and trying to figure out why people find Curb Your Enthusiasm funny… or, you know, doing normal, work-related stuff. He wasn’t very specific… In any case, I’ll be filling in for him today with VP and tomorrow with Weekly Planner. Here goes…
Bryce Harper's presence and early contributions gives the Nationals a happy glimpse into the future.
The Weekend Takeaway
During a weekend series highlighted by Matt Kemp’s 10th-inning walk-off homer in Saturday’s 4-3 Dodgers victory, the Nationals got a glimpse into their future—a future that likely will not include many more sweeps at the hands of the Dodgers.
Top prospect Bryce Harper arrived with a bang on Saturday, and while Kemp ultimately stole the show, the 19-year-old phenom immediately displayed the tools that will soon make him a superstar. Harper rocketed a high Chad Billingsley fastball over Kemp’s head to straightaway center for a double, fired an 80-grade bullet home from left field, and drove in the go-ahead run with a ninth-inning sacrifice fly that would have won the game if not for a Henry Rodriguez meltdown in the bottom half of the frame.
The 2006 draft has served as a major talent influx for the top forces in the NL West.
I'd wanted to write about Clayton Kershaw because I haven't discussed him in as much detail as his season merits, but finding a fresh angle proved to be difficult. Improved control? Done. Comparisons to Sandy Koufax? Done. A thousand other things? Done.