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Game #126 Preview: 8/26, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St. Louis Cardinals

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Third time's the charm? Please?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The La Russa Heartbreakometer

What is this?

Heart Left WW Heart right
John Lackey
RHP, 10-8, 2.99
Patrick Corbin
LHP, 3-3, 4.09
Matt Carpenter - 3B Ender Inciarte - RF
Tommy Pham - CF A.J. Pollock - CF
Jhonny Peralta - SS Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Jason Heyward - RF David Peralta - LF
Yadier Molina - C Aaron Hill - 2B
Stephen Piscotty - LF Jake Lamb - 3B
Kolten Wong - 2B Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C
Mark Reynolds - 1B Nick Ahmed - SS
John Lackey - RHP Patrick Corbin - LHP

Not exactly the start to the series we wanted, throwing away the first game, and then watching Robbie Ray and our bullpen get soundly swatted around in the second. Now, it's still possible we can come back and get a split, the odds against that look perilously slim. If we are to do so, however, the path would start this evening, with a solid outing by Patrick Corbin. The general wisdom is that he has been "losing steam" later in his outings, but looking at the numbers from his first nine starts since coming back from Tommy John surgery, it initially appears that might be a bit of an over-simplification:

Split          PA AB R  H HR BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS BAbip
Pitch  1-25    56 53 4 16  1  1 15 .302 .321 .434 .755  .395
Pitch 26-50    60 53 7 15  2  6 15 .283 .356 .509 .865  .361
Pitch 51-75    53 50 8 13  3  2 10 .260 .302 .540 .842  .270
Pitch 76-100   18 16 1  3  0  2  5 .188 .278 .313 .590  .273

Yep. Corbin is actually at his "best" at the end of his outings, after 76 pitches. The worst results by OPS have come between pitches 26-50. However... we're dealing with small sample sizes here, first of all. And look at the final column: BA on balls in play, a number of which pitchers have little control. Also, check out the K:BB ratio. Early on, Corbin is impeccable, walking just one of the 56 batters faced through 25 pitches. compared to six of 60 in the next 25. Then the strikeouts start to decline too, and if the BABIP didn't regress sharply after fifty pitches, I think you'd be seeing a very different pattern in the overall results.

Still, worth keeping an eye on the K:BB thing as we move through this evening. We're still relatively early in the process, and I won't particularly be judging Corbin on any of his starts the rest of the season, because it seems to me a work in progress. That said: the past couple of games have been as uninspiring and deflating as any defeats since the sweep in Philadelphia. I'd certainly be in favor of Corbin delivering a good performance tonight, because the offense has mostly been intent on demonstrating exactly why the Cardinals' pitching staff have the lowest ERA in baseball this season.