PHOENIX — Patrick Corbin gained confidence during spring training and regained his breaking ball in his most recent stint at Class AAA Reno. It is a cliché, but his third time with the Diamondbacks this season really has been the charm.
Corbin, 22, has made a strong impression since rejoining the starting rotation Aug. 1, having given up one earned run in two starts while throwing more strikes and showing more command of his slider/curve breaking ball.
“The first I came up here … you don’t want to be scared of these hitters, but you kind of are because this is your first time. Now, being called up for the third time, I feel a lot more comfortable and a lot more relaxed. It’s kind of like just another baseball game,” said Corbin, who will start the final game of the series with the Nationals on Sunday.
“He has a better idea of what it takes,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “He knows that he has to throw the ball over the plate. He can’t just try to avoid contact. He understands that, and he understands why now. You can tell somebody all you want until they actually get here and experience it.”
Corbin, 3-4 with a 3.53 ERA, has seen a lot of the country this year. He opened the season at Class AA Mobile and won his major league debut April 30 in Miami after he was promoted to replace Josh Collmenter in the rotation. Corbin made five starts before being sent back to Reno when Daniel Hudson made a temporary return. Corbin rejoined the D-backs as long reliever June 28, staying two weeks before Joe Saunders was activated from the disabled list. In Reno again, Corbin was stretched out as a starter.
Scouts who saw Corbin in his last few starts at Reno saw more depth in his breaking ball, and Corbin said he made a conscious effort to improve the pitch so he could bring it to the major leagues the next time he was called.
“I just feel the first time I wasn’t throwing it enough, so I didn’t get a feel for it. Maybe it was not trying to give up a hit instead of just going after the guys. That’s the thing I learned when I came up the second time: Just to go after these guys,” Corbin said.
“Whether I am behind in the count or ahead in the count, I am mixing in my changeup and breaking ball and being able to get outs. I think that’s the biggest thing: Not being afraid and throwing strikes and letting them put the ball in play.”