D-backs have their Harvey: Patrick Corbin

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
1:12
PM ET
Matt Harvey will pitch for the Mets Wednesday night. But tonight, the Mets will see the Diamondbacks' version of Harvey in left-hander Patrick Corbin.

Corbin represents one of Harvey's biggest competitors for a potential All-Star Game start.

The 23-year-old Corbin is three months younger than Harvey and a native of Clay, N.Y., a Syracuse suburb about four to five hours from Flushing.

And just as Harvey has changed from the guy who debuted against the Diamondbacks a year ago, Corbin is a different pitcher from the one who allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Mets last May.

The comparison
Corbin’s 2013 stats are Harvey-like, minus the strikeouts.

He’s 9-0 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 16 starts this season.

At least for now, Harvey does have the edge in a number of areas. We’ve put them side by side in our chart on the right.

A good start from Corbin tonight and a blah one from Harvey tomorrow could put him in better position than Harvey to be the first man on the mound for the NL in a couple weeks.

What to Watch For: The Slider
For the Mets to hinder Corbin’s case, they’ll have to hit a slider that is one of the nastiest pitches in baseball.

[+] EnlargePatrick Corbin
Justin Edmonds/Getty ImagesThe Mets' challenge tonight: seeing and hitting Patrick Corbin's slider.
Corbin’s breaking ball bends sharply down and in to a right-handed hitter, down and away to a lefty. It drops out of the strike zone almost two-thirds of the time, making it one of the game’s ultimate looks-like-a-strike-but-isn’t pitches.

Opponents have missed on half of their swings against his breaking pitches -- the highest rate for any starting pitcher this season.

The Mets have not hit sliders from lefties particularly well this season, but they have been good at laying off the pitch when it’s a bad one.

They have the fifth-lowest “chase rate” (how often they swing at pitches out of the strike zone) against that pitch from a lefty this season.

One other neat note: Corbin and Harvey have almost identical totals in strikeouts with their breaking pitches this season. Harvey’s 57 are one more than Corbin's total, though both pale in comparison to Clayton Kershaw’s 77.

Chasing History
Should Corbin win, he’d be the first lefty starter to begin a season 10-0 since Ron Guidry did so for the 1978 Yankees. He’d also be the first lefty starter to go 17 straight decisions without a loss to begin a season since Guidry did.

If you haven’t figured it out, that streak offers another bit of insight into how Corbin is the Harvey of the Diamondbacks. They share the common bond of pitching in some tough luck.

In four of Corbin’s last five starts, he’s pitched at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer. He didn’t earn the win in any of those games.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.295 9 55 76
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .832
WB. Colon 14
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180