NL West Report: Corbin impressive, the Giants a mirage?

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Playing only good teams at home and mediocre to bad teams on the road will not hold up all season, so I am still in wait-and-see mode on the Giants.

Arizona Diamondbacks (10-9, L 1, 3.5 GB, 3rd)

You Should Know: The 23 year old lefty Patrick Corbin is off to a hot start at 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA. He is getting 6.61 K/9 and walking 3.32 per 9 innings. Hitters may be a little unlucky against him so far, posting a BABIP of .226, down from 3.17 last year and 3.49 the year before. But the number that jumped out at me was his 91.8% of runners left on base. Without having actually watched him pitch much, these numbers suggest he has either figured out how to navigate traffic on the bases by striking guys out or getting weak contact on his impressive off speed stuff, or he is getting very lucky.


Patrick Corbin

#46 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks

6-2

185

L

L

Jul 19, 1989




W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Patrick Corbin 2-0 3 3 0 0 0 0 19.0 13 3 3 1 7 13 1.42 1.05

Fangraphs shows that he is throwing more sliders, 22.2% up from 16.4% the season before, and has gone more to the 2-seam fastball rather than the straighter 4-seam version. He threw 30.0% 4-seam fastballs last year. That number is down to 19.9% while his two-seam fastball has jumped from 38.9% to 50.5%. In other words, Corbin is relying on movement a lot more this year, and so far it seems to be paying off. He shut down his childhood heroes, the New York Yankees, in his last start. I found this especially interesting after reading Jay Tymkovich's (excellent) piece on how pitchers are approaching Wilin Rosario by doing everything they can not to throw the straight fastball. It will be interesting to see these forces meet, assuming scheduling works out, when the Rockies visit Arizona for a 4 game series starting Thursday.

"To have the chance to pitch here is just amazing. I felt good and had really good fastball command and my slider today was good." - Patrick Corbin via D'Back's official site

Last Week: 2-5, 2 road wins. The Diamondbacks had a tough week dropping 2 and then salvaging 1 @ the Yankees. Wash, rinse, repeat @ Coors field against the Rockies (thanks to an unlucky Wilton Lopez blown save in game 3!!!!) then they dropped the first game @ the Giants yesterday in way too obvious a fashion, on a Brandon Belt walk-off.

This Week: 2 more @ the Giants then the Diamondbacks return home for a 4 game set against the Rockies in which they will be looking for revenge. Man, it would have been nice to get that sweep.

News: Martin Prado is versatile. Anyone who plays fantasy baseball, or has been paying general attention to the MLB these last few years, knows this. I've always been a fan, but when I heard he was the main piece being returned to the Diamondbacks in exchange for the phenom Justin Upton, I was a bit surprised. For now, he is posting an underwhelming .241/.289/.386 slash line which is good for a 79 wRC+. He made a few fantastic defensive plays in the series against the Rockies, but his biggest value to his team this year has been in giving his manager the flexibility to get guys like Eric Chavez, Eric Hinske, and any other Eric they may have on the bench.

Prado played 4 positions in two-games last week, making him an NL manager's dream player, a double-switch waiting to happen. He is essentially the bizzaro Eric Young Jr. at this point.

Date Transaction
04/02/13 Arizona Diamondbacks signed free agent C Humberto Cota.
04/03/13 LF Cody Ross assigned to Visalia Rawhide from Arizona Diamondbacks.
04/04/13 CF Ender Inciarte returned to Arizona Diamondbacks from Philadelphia Phillies.
04/06/13 Arizona Diamondbacks claimed Will Harris off waivers from Oakland Athletics.

Arizona Diamondbacks optioned Will Harris to Reno Aces.
04/09/13 Arizona Diamondbacks sent SS Didi Gregorius on a rehab assignment to Reno Aces.
04/12/13 LF Cody Ross assigned to Reno Aces from Arizona Diamondbacks.
04/13/13 Arizona Diamondbacks placed LF Jason Kubel on the 15-day disabled list. Strained left quadriceps.
04/12/13 Cody Ross roster status changed by Reno Aces.

Cody Ross roster status changed by Reno Aces.
04/13/13 Arizona Diamondbacks activated LF Cody Ross from the 15-day disabled list.
04/16/13 Arizona Diamondbacks placed 2B Aaron Hill on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 15, 2013. Broken left hand.

Arizona Diamondbacks activated SS Didi Gregorius from the 15-day disabled list.


Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Adam Eaton elbow 03/22/2013
Aaron Hill wrist 04/15/2013
Jason Kubel quadriceps 04/13/2013
Willie Bloomquist oblique 03/27/2013

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Daniel Hudson elbow 02/18/2013

Los Angeles Dodgers (8-10, W 1, 5.0 GB, 4th)

You Should Know: Stop me if you've heard this one before, the Dodgers are struggling to meet expectations. It's still very early, but I must admit I was worried that the bru-ha-ha between them and the Padres would light a fire under the Dodgers and they would come together as a team to wreak havoc (not EYJr) on the rest of the league. Since then they are 2-7, having played the Diamondbacks, Padres, and Orioles. It took a big comeback win, after being down 7-4 in the final game against the Orioles to snap their 6 game losing streak. They have certainly been dealing with their fair share of injuries to the pitching staff with Chad Billingsley now joining Zack Greinke, Chris Capuano, and Ted Lilly on the DL.

The streak-snapping win also came with a lineup adjustment from manager Don Mattingly who switched Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp (Gonzalez now batting 3rd, Kemp 4th) and says that they may keep experimenting with the idea at least until the return of the injured Hanley Ramirez.


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2013 - Adrian Gonzalez 18 65 4 25 5 0 2 14 9 7 0 0 .385 .455 .554


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2013 - Matt Kemp 18 68 7 16 4 0 0 6 4 20 3 0 .235 .270 .294

"Donnie talked to us today (Sunday), and he might do more of that if he feels it gives us the best chance to succeed, I think it's great. It's about winning, not where I need to hit or where I want to hit." - Adrian Gonzalez via Dodgers' official site

Last Week: 1-4, 1 road win. Swept by the Padres, salvaged game 3 against the Orioles.

This Week: 3 games @ the Mets, 3 games at home vs. the Brewers, then they begin a 3 game series at home vs. your Colorado Rockies.

News: As previously mentioned Don Mattingly has announced that he is open to experimenting with his lineup. It remains to be seen how exactly this will manifest itself, but this article on mlb.com suggests that he is open to moving guys around based on pitching match-ups, health, or even current production of his hitters. This could be a little thing, or it could be a radical redefinition of how to do things in a sport where tradition has often been king. The king in this case is the idea of consistency. The Rockies keep Carlos Gonzalez in left-field because, they argue, it keeps things simple from game to game and he can focus on doing that job the best he can.

I like the idea of being more open to lineup experimentation. Purple Row's Kevin V. Minor wrote an incredibly intriguing piece on what the numbers say in contrast to conventional wisdom about how the Rockies lineup should be constructed. But, it could be argued, switching guys around in the lineup regularly could mess with their focus and consistency, especially because the job description for different parts of the lineup often vary wildly. In general, I tend to be of the opinion that the less your guys have to think, the better. Keep it simple. On the other hand, the best lineup for each situation on each day makes sense. It will be interesting to see what Mattingly really does here, and if it will work out.

Date
Transaction
4/21/2013 Los Angeles Dodgers placed RHP Chad Billingsley on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16, 2013. Right elbow pain.
Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent RHP Anthony Ortega.
Los Angeles Dodgers recalled Stephen Fife from Albuquerque Isotopes.
4/17/2013 Los Angeles Dodgers placed LHP Chris Capuano on the 15-day disabled list. Left calf strain.
Los Angeles Dodgers recalled Tim Federowicz from Albuquerque Isotopes.
4/15/2013 Los Angeles Dodgers placed RHP Shawn Tolleson on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 13, 2013. Lower back strain.
Los Angeles Dodgers recalled Josh Wall from Albuquerque Isotopes.
4/12/2013 Shawn Tolleson roster status changed by Los Angeles Dodgers.
Los Angeles Dodgers placed RHP Zack Greinke on the 15-day disabled list. Fractured Left Collarbone
Los Angeles Dodgers recalled RHP Shawn Tolleson from Albuquerque Isotopes.
4/10/2013 Los Angeles Dodgers activated RHP Chad Billingsley from the 15-day disabled list.
Los Angeles Dodgers optioned C Tim Federowicz to Albuquerque Isotopes.
Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent 3B Sean Burroughs.
4/6/2013 Los Angeles Dodgers traded Aaron Harang to Colorado Rockies for C Ramon Hernandez.
4/5/2013 LHP Ted Lilly assigned to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes from Los Angeles Dodgers.
4/4/2013 RHP Chad Billingsley assigned to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes from Los Angeles Dodgers.
4/3/2013 Los Angeles Dodgers released RHP Kevin Gregg.


Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Scott Elbert elbow 03/22/2013
Hanley Ramirez thumb 03/22/2013
Ted Lilly shoulder 03/28/2013
Shawn Tolleson lower-back 04/13/2013
Chris Capuano calf 04/17/2013
Chad Billingsley elbow 04/16/2013
Zack Greinke collarbone 04/12/2013

San Diego Padres (5-14, L 4, 8.5, Last)

You Should Know: Well, at least they can beat the Dodgers. Other than that the Padres would probably like to start playing some teams outside the NL West. The Fathers managed to create some momentum and hope by sweeping the Dodgers and telling themselves that maybe the Rockies just had their number early. Then came what Cory Brock of MLB.com called a "lost weekend at AT&T Park." Sound familiar? Yes, those bleeping Giants, specifically the starters Bumgarner, Lincecum, and Zito, held the Padres to 2 earned runs in 19 2/3 innings pitched. That's called domination.

"You didn't think it was coming after our at-bats in Los Angeles," ... No reason for it other than [the Giants] made pitches." -Padres manager Bud Black via AP recap

Last Week: 2-4, 2 road wins. Finished off a sweep @ the Dodgers, then were swept @ the Giants, returned home to drop the first of a 3 game set against the Brewers.

This Week: 2 more vs. the Brewers, then they get the Giants again (yay!) this time at home for 3 games, then on the road for a 4 game set against the Cubs.

News: Chase Headley now has 5 games and 21 plate appearances under his belt in the 2013 season. He hasn't made a major impact yet, posting the small-sample-size slash line of .222/.286/.389. He has already hit his first (and only) home run of the season, a feat just accomplished yesterday by Buster Posey for some perspective. Headley's return can only mean good things for the Padres lackluster offense, and with him not taking the rest of his ABs this season against Giants pitching, I'd expect to see his numbers rise.

Date
Transaction
4/20/2013 San Diego Padres placed RHP Tyson Ross on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 18, 2013. Left shoulder subluxation.
San Diego Padres recalled Thad Weber from Tucson Padres.
4/17/2013 San Diego Padres activated 3B Chase Headley from the 15-day disabled list.
San Diego Padres placed CF Cameron Maybin on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16, 2013. Right wrist impingement.
4/16/2013 Chicago Cubs claimed 3B Cody Ransom off waivers from San Diego Padres.
4/14/2013 LF Carlos Quentin roster status changed by San Diego Padres.
San Diego Padres optioned RHP Thad Weber to Tucson Padres.
San Diego Padres recalled Kyle Blanks from Tucson Padres.
4/12/2013 3B Chase Headley assigned to Lake Elsinore Storm from San Diego Padres.
San Diego Padres designated 3B Cody Ransom for assignment.
San Diego Padres selected the contract of Thad Weber from Tucson Padres.
4/8/2013 San Diego Padres signed free agent 1B Brandon Allen.


San Diego Padres Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Clayton Richard other-excused 04/23/2013
Carlos Quentin other-excused 04/23/2013

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kyle Blanks shoulder 04/23/2013

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Logan Forsythe foot 03/27/2013
James Darnell oblique 03/22/2013
Cameron Maybin wrist 04/17/2013
Tyson Ross shoulder 04/18/2013

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Cory Luebke elbow 03/22/2013
Joe Wieland elbow 02/28/2013
Casey Kelly elbow 03/31/2013


San Francisco Giants (13-7, W 4, 1.0 GB, 2nd)

You Should Know: The Giants pitching staff is absolutely dominating the league...in sacrifice bunts? Yup, you heard it right, these guys aren't just frustrating to get wins against (Zitooooo!!!) but they lead the league, by quite a large margin, with 13 successful sacrifice bunts. Miami and St Louis are tied for 2nd with 7 each. Barry Zito alone has 5. Rockies fans know how frustrating it can be to blow the "productive out" play, especially in close National League games where sometimes every base matters. So it is a few hundred times more frustrating to know that the Giants, who's offense often gives them barely enough to win at the last possible second, are getting this kind of production from their pitchers in the batter's box! Grrrr and fiddlesticks!

"It's not like we're just getting work in... We literally go in there like, 'Hey, I do not want to be the guy who looks like crap.' It's another area of the game where you have to focus and really care." - Tim Lincecum via Giants' official site

Last Week: 4-3, 0 road wins. The Giants were actually swept on the road @ the Brewers, then returned home to sweep the Padres and take the first of 3 from the Diamondbacks.

This Week: 2 more vs. the Diamondbacks, then on the road for 3 @ the Padres and 3 @ the Diamondbacks.

News: The Giants have not had the most difficult schedule thus far. Ok, maybe not breaking news, but still it should be noted that they have only played the Dodgers, Cubs, and Brewers on the road. They managed to take 2 of 3 from both the Dodgers and Cubs but neither of those teams looks in the least bit like a powerhouse at the moment. Nor do the Brewers, and the Giants couldn't get any games in that series, losing two close ones. There is a lot of talk this time of year about which teams are legit, and which are a mirage. The upcoming Rockies versus Braves series stands as a head-to-head match-up of people's expectations. If the Braves sweep the Rockies, many will say that this is proof that the Rockies are a mirage and the Braves are legit. If the opposite happens, some may begin to take the Rockies a bit more seriously, but still many, regardless of the outcome of this series, will still be waiting to see on the Rockies, while no one expects the Braves to turn into a mirage.

The same could be said for the San Francisco Giants, and they've earned that status as defending champs, but their success so far could be as misleading as anyone's. Playing only good teams at home and mediocre to bad teams on the road will not hold up all season, so I am still in wait-and-see mode on the Giants.

Transactions:

Date Transaction
04/02/13 San Francisco Giants claimed RHP Hunter Strickland off waivers from Pittsburgh Pirates.

San Francisco Giants optioned RHP Hunter Strickland to San Jose Giants.
04/04/13 San Francisco Giants sent 1B Brett Pill on a rehab assignment to Fresno Grizzlies.

San Francisco Giants released LHP Matt Yourkin.
04/15/13 San Francisco Giants activated 1B Brett Pill from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Fresno Grizzlies.
04/17/13 San Francisco Giants placed LHP Jeremy Affeldt on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 15, 2013. Strained right oblique.

San Francisco Giants recalled Jean Machi from Fresno Grizzlies.


San Francisco Giants Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Eric Surkamp elbow 03/22/2013
Jeremy Affeldt oblique 04/15/2013
Tony Abreu quadriceps 03/22/2013

Insert your favorite anti-Giants remarks here.

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