Patrick Corbin was a late addition to the Diamondbacks’ rotation, but so far this season, he’s been their best starter. Phil Hughes, meanwhile, has been the polar opposite for the Yankees.
Corbin looks to win his third straight start to begin the season Thursday night as he tries to help the visiting D-backs salvage the finale of their three-game set with the surging Yankees.
Corbin (2-0, 1.50 ERA) was named to the rotation just two days before the season began after he went 3-0 with a 2.81 in seven spring training games. The left-hander’s spring performance has carried over into April, as he owns the lowest ERA of any D-backs starter. He outpitched Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in his latest outing, allowing three hits and three walks over six innings Friday in a 3-0 victory.
“I think Patrick is a very competitive person; it’s one of the reasons we liked him,” manager Kirk Gibson told the team’s official website. “We just thought he had the makeup to excel in these situations. I said (when) he came into spring training he didn’t worry about anybody else, he had confidence in himself.”
Now, the native of Clay, N.Y. — just outside Syracuse — will make his debut against the team he grew up rooting for.
The Diamondbacks (8-6) have dropped the first two games of this series after squandering multi-run leads. They wasted a three-run seventh-inning cushion before falling 4-3 on Wednesday.
“I’m going to go out there and keep my composure and be myself, but I’ll definitely be excited and have a lot of family and friends here to watch,” Corbin said. “They feel weird coming here and wearing a Diamondbacks jersey or shirt. It’s kind of funny.”
New York (8-5), which has won seven of eight, certainly isn’t finding any humor in Hughes’ performances. Hughes (0-2, 10.29) owns the highest ERA of any Yankees starter and is allowing opponents to hit .472 through two games since returning from a back injury.
Hughes surrendered five runs, nine hits — three of them homers — and two walks in three-plus innings of a 5-3 home loss to Baltimore on Saturday, the team’s most recent defeat.
Manager Joe Girardi isn’t planning to make any moves yet, though.
“I think it’s really early to do that,” Girardi told the team’s official website. “Phil had a pretty good year for us; he’s had a couple of pretty good years as a starter for us. No, I’m not really thinking of making any changes.”
Hughes will be facing the Diamondbacks for the first time, but he has a 6.17 ERA in four interleague home starts. He’s 3-1 in those games thanks to some offensive support, something the Yankees are providing plenty of lately. New York has averaged 6.4 runs over the past eight contests, hitting .309 with 14 homers over that stretch.
Travis Hafner connected for the latest blast Wednesday, when his pinch-hit homer in the eighth gave the Yankees the lead for good. He has a .364 average with three homers and six RBIs in his last seven games, and all three of his hits in this series have gone for extra bases.
“I’m having a lot of fun here,” Hafner said. “I’ve been swinging the bat pretty well.”
Brett Gardner is also providing some pop, going 9 for 24 with six RBIs in his last six games after collecting two hits and driving in two in the Yankees’ victory Wednesday.