Patrick Corbin continued to make it clear why he is the No. 1 pitcher at www.valueaddbaseball.com Tuesday by going into a hitter’s park to hand the Reds only their fourth loss in 14 games. Arizona has now won 40% more often when Corbin starts (21-4, .840) then when he does not (44-55, .444) – a disparity few have matched since Steve Carlton in 1972.
That year the Phillies had a 45% better chance winning with Carlton on the mound (29-12, .707) than when any other Phillie started (30-85, .261), but the Phillies finished at the bottom of the NL.
Corbin is almost single-handedly keeping the Diamondbacks in the playoff picture – as his win over the Reds (see game story here) Tuesday pulled them within 5 games of the Reds for the last playoff spot, whereas their winning percentage without him would have them tied with the Giants for last place.
Few question Kershaw has been the most dominant pitcher in the league and will win the Cy Young for a dominant season. He started the season by hitting a home run to break open a scoreless tie en route to a 4-0 win, then won his second start 1-0.
Corbin MVP Since Beating Kershaw 3-0
However, by clicking on “switch to individual games” at www.valueaddbaseball.com, you quickly see Corbin has been more valuable since then.
In the money games in which a pitcher is given just two to four runs of support, the Diamondbacks/Corbin are 8-2 while the Dodgers/Kershaw are barely .500 at 7-6. Corbin has just pulled wins out this year that Kershaw has not, except for Kershaw’s 1-0 start in the second game of the year, even though he pitches in a tougher park for pitchers.
This is a big reason Corbin has the top Value Add at 14.38, meaning he has added about 14 wins to the Diamondback’s record, while Kershaw is second at 11.40.
While you never intentionally give up runs, there are times you allow a greater chance at one or two runs with a big lead (leave the infield back to prevent an extra hit even if it lets a runner score from third, risk the solo homer rather than nibble and walk a few guys to get the tying run to the plate, etc.)
Obviously Corbin did not want to give up a two-run homer in the 8th Tuesday, but he did it with a 5-0 lead in a complete game in which he struck out 10 and did not walk a batter. The fact is he has not given up the two-run inning when all he has to work with is two runs of offense (3-2 record to 3-4 for Kershaw). He has not done it when the Diamondbacks give him three runs (3-0 record to 1-1 for Kershaw), and he has not done it when the Diamondbacks score four runs (2-0 record compared to 3-1 for Kershaw, and these are all team record’s in those games).
While Kershaw has certainly had worse support (his average game has been a 3.3-2.6 win while Corbin’s has been a 4.6-2.8 win), Kershaw does pitch in the top pitcher’s park around. Corbin pitches in a hitters park, though admittedly the roof has been closed more than usual this season in Arizona, which does make it more of a pitchers park.
In the old debate about whether you pick the “best” or “Most Outstanding Player,” or whether you pick the “Most Valuable Player,” there is no doubt if you choose the former. Kershaw’s stuff is just overwhelming, and he looks like he will be shutting everyone down for years to come.
However, if the season ended today and you were picking the Most Valuable Pitcher, it is Corbin, who has been worth about 14.38 extra wins to the Diamondbacks to outdistance Kershaw. The Dodgers are just 15-11 with Kershaw on the mound, and while that is mostly the fault of the defense (5 unearned runs), relievers early in the year (23 runs allowed) and weak offense (3.3 runs scored per start), Kershaw has not been as good as Corbin at pulling out wins when the team gives him just 2-4 runs, and that means Corbin has added more wins to the Diamondbacks so far than Kershaw has to the Dodgers.
Kershaw certainly has the stuff to potentially pass Corbin down the stretch, but he has not yet in actual value.
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