The best pitcher in the National League so far this year is a second-year starter taking the league by storm. And it’s not the one who was just on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Mets sensation Matt Harvey is commanding all the attention, but it’s Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin who is stealthily putting together a season every bit as good — in fact, better.
Even after one of his worst starts of the season, Corbin picked up his ninth win of the year on Sunday as Arizona clubbed the Cubs for a 12-4 win. His 9-0 start to the season ties Brandon Webb’s mark for the best in club history, and he’s the first pitcher in the bigs to reach the nine-win mark this year.
Corbin’s win total isn’t just a product of getting help from his offense. Even after allowing four runs in six innings on Sunday, he sits third in the NL with a 2.06 ERA, just ahead of Harvey’s 2.17 mark. Corbin’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider that his home park, whatever the hell they call it these days, is a hitter’s paradise. Harvey has the benefit of the more spacious Citi Field — though in fairness, it’s not like a ton of guys make enough contact against Harvey to drive it out of any park.
Their styles couldn’t be more different. Harvey is a fire-balling righty who can strike guys out, while Corbin fits the mold of the crafty southpaw who gets guys out on weakly hit balls in play. But as baseball has long proven, both of those styles can be used to create a star. For every Roger Clemens, there’s a Tom Glavine who can dominate on the mound in a completely different way.
It’s too early to tell if Corbin will finish with a better sophomore season than Harvey. But the previously anonymous Diamondback — which, frankly, is the only kind of Diamondback — won’t be able to lurk in the shadows much longer if his performance keeps up.