It seems that Friday night’s 1.2 inning start for Patrick Corbin was the final straw for Chip Hale and the Diamondbacks’ front-office. For it was announced before the series finale today in Boston, that Corbin would be moving to the bullpen, with his spot in the rotation being taken by Zack Godley. It’s not an unexpected decision, since Corbin’s struggles have become increasingly pronounced of late. His last victory came ten starts and almost two months ago, on June 21, since when he is 0-6 with a 7.68 ERA. This wasn’t a lack of run support either, because it was also his last quality start.
However, Patrick’s problems began much earlier in the season. His first three outings were solid, with a 2.75 ERA. But even there, the long-ball struggles which have plagued him this season were already becoming apparent. His next outing, he gave up three home-runs over six innings against the Pirates. His home-run rate of 1.50 per nine innings ranks fourth in the National League among qualifying pitchers. He is tied for the lead in losses, and has allowed sixteen more runs than the next most hurler. Even though the defense hasn’t helped him, with twenty unearned runs, he also leads the league in earned runs given up.
The Republic foreshadowed today’s decision in their piece written last night: “Patrick Corbin’s struggles have Diamondbacks weighing change.” This cited pitching coach Mike Butcher as saying that he saw “nothing glaring” in terms of any mechanical issue, who believes it may be a hangover from the Tommy John surgery that saw Corbin miss all of 2014, and the first half of 2015. Except, that isn’t usually how it works. Pitchers coming back from that are expected to struggle initially, as they regain a feel for pitching at the major-league level. But Corbin was the best of our regular starters in the second half last year, giving great cause for optimism in 2016. That just hasn’t been the case.
For now, the team turns to Zack Godley as a replacement. Godley also broke through after the All-Star break in 2015, but has not been as effective this season. He did pitch impressively in long relief of Corbin on Friday, allowing one run over 5.1 innings, but even with that, Godley’s 2016 ERA is still 5.24. He has made six starts and has a 5.61 ERA, almost identical to Corbin’s season figure of 5.58, though the latter has (as noted above) been trending in the wrong direction of late. But with the recent news that Rubby De La Rosa has had his MRI sent to Dr. Knife, a.k.a. James Andrews, the Diamondbacks’ rotation has certainly not had the best of weekends.