Diamondbacks ace Patrick Corbin is 9-0 this season with a 1.98 earned-run… (Ross D. Franklin / Associated…)
The pitcher with the best statistics in the National League will start Wednesday for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Dodgers in the finale of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin, who is 9-0 with a 1.98 earned-run average, is a big reason why the no-name Diamondbacks are the early leaders the NL West.
He's also the reason why some Angels fans may be dreaming about what might have been.
Corbin was chosen by the Angels in the second round of the 2009 amateur draft but was traded to the Diamondbacks about a year later as part of a four-player package that brought Dan Haren to Anaheim.
"Looking back, it was probably a good thing for me," Corbin said of the trade. "I maybe made it a little bit quicker up to the big leagues, and I just knew that the Diamondbacks would give me every opportunity to make it here."
The person who orchestrated the trade was Jerry Dipoto, then the interim general manager for Arizona and now the general manager of the Angels, who could surely use another good starting pitcher. Dipoto, who joined the Angels after the 2010 season, did not respond to a request to be interviewed for this story.
Corbin, 23, was sent to Arizona along with left-handed starter Joe Saunders, minor league pitching veteran Rafael Rodriguez and pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs, the Angels' first-round selection in 2009.
Skaggs, 21, has made three starts for the Diamondbacks and is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA. In his first start this season, he blanked the Texas Rangers over six innings, giving up only three hits and striking out nine.
Last season, Corbin was 6-8 with a 4.54 ERA for the Diamondbacks, appearing in relief and also as a starter.
"He was, I wouldn't say intimidated, but getting to the groove, trying to fit in," catcher Miguel Montero said. "He was a guy that probably was trying a little too hard to impress."
This season, the Diamondbacks have won all 12 games he has started. Opposing batters are hitting .213 against him, and only .180 when runners are in scoring position.
The difference: Added velocity and the ability to throw all four of his pitches — fastball, changeup, curveball and slider — for strikes. The slider has been his put-away pitch in 46 of his 65 strikeouts.
"He's been dominating since he got here in spring training," Montero said.
With the Angels, Corbin was 13-3 in Class A in 2010, splitting the season between low-A Cedar Rapids and high-A Rancho Cucamonga. In Iowa, he was 8-0 with a 3.86 ERA. With Rancho Cucamonga, he was 5-3 with a 3.88 ERA and averaged more than a strikeout per inning.
Corbin has started against the Dodgers once, throwing six innings, striking out five and giving up two hits in a 4-0 win Aug. 1.