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Is it time to yank Patrick Corbin from the rotation?

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After another bad start, Corbin’s days in the rotation could be numbered.

With the Diamondbacks currently sitting at/near the top of the NL West, the team needs to figure out what their rotation will look like in the stretch run. The team lost Shelby Miller to Tommy John surgery and Archie Bradley is likely remaining in the bullpen for the rest of the season, so the team is already down 2 potential starters. Right now the rotation is Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Randall Delgado, Patrick Corbin, and Zack Godley. The team does have two more potential starters on the 40-man roster in Braden Shipley and Anthony Banda, although I’d prefer not having to consider those two right now.

The Diamondbacks have gotten excellent performances from Greinke, Ray, Delgado, and Godley with the latter two being surprises. Unfortunately, the team hasn’t gotten good performances from Corbin of late, with him allowing only 3 runs or less once in the month of May. In that span, Corbin’s average game score has been 30. That level of pitching is not conducive to sustained success for both Corbin and the Diamondbacks. So something needs to change, whether the Dbacks make a change in the rotation or Corbin pitches better.

Taijuan Walker is supposed to come off the DL on the next homestand and Godley right now is ineligible to return to the majors until June 11th since he’s on an optional assignment. So that likely buys Corbin one, if not two starts to start figuring things out. The biggest issue for Corbin has been the first inning. That suggests there may be an issue with release point. Since Corbin needs good command in order to avoid trouble, he’s been hit hard as he’s looking for his release point. In the first inning, opponents are hitting .364/.410/.836 against him and that’s led to 16 runs in 12 starts. Falling behind in games is not a good recipe to win.

If the Diamondbacks do elect to yank Corbin from the rotation, they could either call up Shipley or Banda. Since Taijuan Walker won’t make his start on Sunday, that means one of them will start then. Shipley seems to be the likely choice, although his last start was May 26th. However, I don’t think Corbin gets pulled from the rotation until after Godley is called back up on June 11th at the earliest. If Corbin continues to struggle, then they can call up whoever makes the start against the Marlins this weekend for a more extended audition.

For Corbin, the first move would be the bullpen. Corbin has two option years left, but sending him to the minor leagues doesn’t accomplish anything in terms of handling MLB hitters better. Last year, he looked very good coming out of the bullpen where his fastball gets a velocity bump and he can focus on just executing pitches instead of pacing himself on the mound. The move to the bullpen might not end up being permanent overall though unless Shipley or Banda takes control of the 5th starter spot.