I really can't remember the last time an Arizona pitcher - especially one with no major-league experience - had such an impressive spring training as Patrick Corbin. Going back into the record books to check, the last time any Diamondback had a sub-one ERA in spring, and 10+ innings of work, it was Brandon Lyon in 2005, with one run in 13 innings. Corbin is now there: he pitched five frames against a near-major league level Rockies lineup [save Troyboy and Cargo] and shut them down - not just "no runs," but allowing no hits. None at all. Zero. Nada.
But he still will almost certainly not make our Opening Day roster.
Corbin struggled a bit with his control, opening with six consecutive pitches out of the strike-zone. However, on a 3-1 pitch, the leadoff batter tried to steal, and was gunned down by Henry Blanco with a gymnastic assist on the tag by John McDonald. The next pitch was a ground-out and Corbin got Marco Scutaro to stare at strike three, showing any nerves were truly settled. There was a one-out walk to Todd Helton in the second, but then Corbin really hit his groove, retiring the next eleven batters he faced, to finish the day possessing a line of two hits and three strikeouts over five innings, with of course, zero hits.
That impressive display reduced Corbin's spring ERA to an even more microscopic 0.57, with the single run allowed coming in his first appearance. His Cactus League performances have probably earned the right to be first on the bus up from <insert minor-league affiliate here>, when the need arises in the regular season. Assuming that was his last start, he allowed only seven hits in 15 innings, striking out a batter per frame. About the sole knock against him could be the seven walks also given up by Corbin, though three of those were also in that opening, 1.2 inning appearance. While there may not be room for him on the 25-man roster, you can't ask for much more.
Gerardo Parra was batting leadoff, and demonstrated exactly why this is a good thing, with a triple drilled into the right-center gap - he came home to score on a groundball to third, giving an RBI for Aaron Hill. A somewhat harsh error allowed Justin Upton to reach, and he was singled to third by Chris Young, continuing his torrid spring. Lyle Overbay avoided hitting into a double-play, instead bringing J-Up home with a sacrifice fly. Young was picked off first on a somewhat dubious call to end the inning - however, Arizona had a 2-0 lead. The D-backs also put the first two men on in the third, but came up empty there.
Oh, yeah: and did I mention that Corbin can hit as well? Seems that he should fit perfectly well in with the rest of the Arizona pitchers, going 2-for-2 with an RBI triple. That followed an RBI single by John McDonald with two outs, and was hammered to the wall in left-center - Corbin didn't even need to slide to reach third-base safely, Hilarity - and two more D-backs runs - ensued in the sixth, as with men on second and third, the Rockies' right-fielder got his glove caught in his jersey and whiffed entirely. Both men on base scored - but it was alright, as his mom promised to take him for pizza at Chuck E. Cheese on the way home after the game.
Craig Breslow came in for the sixth, and the no-hitter soon ended, though in his (somewhat) defense, the southpaw was facing mostly right-handed batters this afternoon. With one out, the Colorado pitcher got their first hit of the afternoon - and the next three Rockies added the second, third and fourth, as Breslow continued his unimpressive spring. That included an infield hit to Lyle Overbay, where Breslow didn't bother to cover first, which I'm sure will have led to #GibbyWords after the game. Four hits and some loud outs today; Breslow has allowed seven ER on ten hits and three walks in 7.1 innings, and the role of second left-hander in our bullpen might not be decided yet...
There wasn't much of excitement or interest the rest of the way, except maybe for Bobby Borchering getting excellent hang time on a bat on which he lost his grip, ending up in the stands. Fortunately, since it was the bottom of the eighth, it landed in some empty seats, The D-backs added another run in the seventh, courtesy of a Rockies' error. Bryan Shaw and Joe Paterson kept Colorado off the board in their innings, and although Brad Ziegler struggled a bit in the ninth, allowing a run on a couple of hits, the day ended successfully from our point of view for the second consecutive time. Arizona's record improved to 10-14, with a couple of ties.
Two hits apiece for Parra, Overbay, Ryan Roberts and McDonald, I think I saw something on Twitter about Daniel Hudson having got his work in during an intersquad game elsewhere at Salt River - that seems to have been happening a bit more than usual this spring, it seems. He faced Barry Enright and a Triple-A roster, and according to Steve Gilbert, Huddy allowed one run over six innings, on four hits and a walk. He struck out eight, and threw 61 of his 84 pitches for strikes. He'll get one more crack at a start, and then it'll be the Giants, a week Saturday.
Close to 400 comments in the GDT, and a broad spectrum of contributors, with nine posting 24 comments or more. blue bulldog led from the front, with txzona just pipping NASCARbernet for second. Also present: grimmy01, SenSurround, snakecharmer, Baja F1, 4 Corners Fan, asteroid, blank_38, Jim McLennan, Bryn21, dbacks25, kishi, Wactivist, Bcawz, Britback, PR151, BattleMoses, Clefo, Azreous and diamondfacts. It was definitely a fun way to spend the afternoon, and Corbin's performance made it particularly memorable. Tomorrow, we face the Brewers, with Wade Miley scheduled to start.