PHOENIX — Patrick Corbin’s shortest start of the season Tuesday begs the question.
Is it time to shut him down?
Do not ask Corbin, who gave up seven hits and six runs to the 14 batters he faced in a 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers that brought the Dodger to the brink of the NL West title.
“I’m going to just say I’m fine and ready to go, and it’s up to them whatever they say. I feel fine. I want to finish my season on a good note in my last two starts,” Corbin said.
There is no simple answer, even if the 199 innings are the most Corbin has thrown in any of his four full professional seasons. He has scuffled in his last five starts, giving up 23 earned runs in his last 26 2-3 innings, and his ERA is at a season-high 3.17.
Health is a factor. So is fatigue. But the D-backs say they have noticed neither. If Corbin’s arm is OK and his delivery is sound, another seven innings should not hurt.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who had one of the Dodgers’ two two-run home runs, had an opponents’ perspective. Gonzalez was 1 for 8 against Corbin in his career entering the game, 0 for 2 for two with a strikeout when Corbin beat the Dodgers, 4-1, last Wednesday.
“You know, nobody’s perfect,” Gonzalez said.
“We are in probably the second-to-the-last start of the year, so it’s only human for a guy not to be as sharp as he is in the beginning of the year or the middle of the year. He’s a guy who has pitched great against us all year.”
A sinus infection has made the rounds in the clubhouse the last few weeks, but Corbin said he has not been affected by that.
“They got a couple of hits early, and the two homers were breaking balls that I left up. I just didn’t locate too well early, and they got on me pretty quick,” said Corbin, who is 14-7.
Matt Kemp had four hits in his first start in eight weeks, and Juan Uribe also hit a two-run homer.
“Didn’t get ahead too well. When I did, I threw some sliders up in the zone, and they put some good swings on them and got some hit,” Corbin said.
“They’re a good team over there. It looked like they were really comfortable in there, and that is something that is not good when you are a pitcher.”
Corbin, who was 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA against the Dodgers coming into the game, was correct to point out that a poor start such as Tuesday’s would have not caused much of a flap earlier in the season, and it is clear he does not want finish with this one.
“I know this isn’t me, and it’s something I don’t want to continue to do. So I’m just going to try to go out there and battle,” he said
General manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson are likely to have the discussion today, if they did not have it last night.
“We’ll see how Patrick feels,” Gibson said.
“He didn’t throw a lot of pitches (49) tonight. The slider is not as good as it was. The pitch that Uribe and Gonzalez hit out both were breaking pitches. They were in the middle of the plate, and that’s not where you want them.”