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BayBears' Corbin takes the spotlight
Lefty matches Bauer, Skaggs with strong performance in win
04/24/2012 6:25 PM ET
Left-hander Patrick Corbin is 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four Southern League starts.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin is 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four Southern League starts. (Mobile BayBears)
Pitching as part of a rotation that includes Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs, it's easy to be overlooked. But Patrick Corbin is making sure that is not the case.

Corbin, the eighth-ranked prospect in the Diamondbacks organization, allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings as his Mobile BayBears cruised to a 4-1 win over visiting Jacksonville on Tuesday afternoon. It was Corbin's fourth quality outing in as many starts, and he now is in possession of a 2-0 record and spiffy 1.67 ERA.

The 22-year-old southpaw cited "fastball command" as one of the most important aspects of his stellar afternoon.

"When you can go in and out with [the fastball], it helps a lot," said Corbin, who joined the Diamondbacks organization with Skaggs and two others as part of the 2010 trade that sent Dan Haren to Anaheim. "Combining that with the slider and changeup, you can keep hitters off balance and get a lot of ground balls."

Corbin's command and efficiency resulted in his second seven-inning outing of the season. He threw 96 pitches -- 60 for strikes -- and kept the Suns hitless until Curt Smith doubled with two outs in the fourth.

"I had a good spring and that really got me going, so now I've just been trying to continue with that -- pitching quality games and putting up innings for my team," said Corbin, who compiled a 4.21 ERA over 26 starts for Mobile in 2011. "I just go out and throw -- it's the same game no matter where you are. The competition's always there."

There's competition in the home dugout as well. Bauer and Skaggs are ranked first and third on MLB.com's list of top Diamondbacks prospects, and Corbin reports that a friendly rivalry has developed among the three young aces.

"I love being on a team that has great pitchers," he said. "[Bauer and Skaggs] go out and do their thing, and then I want to be able to beat what they did. I think that's why [the D-backs] put us all [in Mobile]. It helps to bring out the competitor in all of us."

The Mobile trio joins Jackson's set of Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton to create an embarrassment of pitching riches in the Southern League. Bauer, Skaggs and Corbin rank first, second and fifth in the SL in strikeouts and have combined for a 1.75 ERA in 11 starts.

Jackson's three aces are each striking out more than a batter per inning and have combined for a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts. The two teams get together for a five-game series in Jackson starting May 17. Runs are likely to be scarce.

That was certainly the case for Jacksonville on Tuesday, as Eury De La Rosa pitched the eighth inning for the BayBears and kept the shutout intact, but Evan Marshall was touched for a run in the ninth after back-to-back one-out doubles by the Suns' Ryan Patterson and Chris Gutierrez. Marc Krauss was Mobile's greatest offensive contributor, as he put his club on the board with a third inning sacrifice fly and then capped the scoring with a solo home run in the fifth.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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