PHOENIX -- D-backs pitcher Patrick Corbin, who started Sunday's series finale against the Nationals, has been up and down three times over the last 3 1/2 months, providing spot starts, relief depth and now what appears to be a continued spot in the rotation.So what has the rookie learned since making his debut all the way back in April? More or less, it's been about not being scared of hitters and attacking the plate. "I'm going after these guys, that's the biggest thing, not being afraid and just throwing strikes," Corbin said. "Let them put it in play. The first time you come up here, you have to be nervous. Going back down helps you realize how much you want to go back up." Entering Sunday, Corbin allowed only two runs on eight hits over his past two starts since being called up again. The runs both came in the D-backs' 10-4 win at the Pirates on Tuesday. Six days earlier, he threw another six innings, allowing two hits and zero runs in a 4-0 win over the Dodgers. Aside from the experience, another big part of the success for Corbin has been throwing his offspeed pitches more and having a better feel for it. "My breaking ball up here the first time wasn't the best, I wasn't throwing it as much as I should that's what I learned coming back the second time," Corbin said. "I wasn't throwing it enough so I couldn't get a feel for it. So when I came back it helped a lot to throw it early in the count and late in the count. Whether I'm ahead or behind, I'm mixing up my pitches." Back in Spring Training, the 23-year-old was in early conversations about making the team to begin the season, but the D-backs opted to give Corbin more seasoning, a move that has paid off in a big way. "We liked what we saw," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Ultimately we decided to develop him more and we've continued to do that. He understands what it takes. He knows he has to attack batters and he's got to field his position. You can tell someone all you want, but it's hard until you get here. He's competitive, he's athletic and he works hard." Like his rookie pitcher, Gibson believes the stints with the D-backs have helped Corbin grow more when he returned to Triple-A Reno. Knowing what he had to work on made getting better that much easier. "He understands the league now, you have to make adjustments," Gibson said. "He's one of those guys who believes in himself and he wants to be here. He doesn't like to fail. He has that within him, when things get tough, he buckles down, he doesn't crack."
Shaw's new approach dominates in return
PHOENIX -- Before Saturday, the last few times D-backs reliever Bryan Shaw took the mound ended in a merry-go-round for the opposing team.The 24-year-old allowed 10 runs (eight earned) over a 4 1/3-inning stretch before he was sent to Triple-A Reno to figure things out. Back with the Major League club now, Shaw made his return a memorable one on Saturday. With the D-backs trailing by just a run in the seventh, the right-hander needed just 16 pitches to strike out the Nationals' Michael Morse, Adam LaRoche and Tyler Moore -- all swinging -- to send his team back to the dugout with a 1-2-3 inning. "He threw the ball very well. He used all his pitches," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "When he doesn't do that, he's not very good." Before Shaw's demotion to Reno, Shaw admitted he lost confidence in his offspeed pitches and resorted to only throwing his cutter, a strategy that didn't work out well. Now using a changeup, slider and cutter, the D-backs are hoping he can return to his old form. "It's one game. We hope he can continue to throw the ball like that and become dominant like he was before," Gibson said. "You have to see how his arm responds to that. He's really throwing the ball now, the ball is coming out of his hand much livelier."
Gibson tired of D-backs beating themselves
PHOENIX -- The D-backs conclude a stretch of 30 games in 31 days on Sunday, the longest such streak they have throughout their 2012 schedule.Playing so many innings in so few days, it's not surprising to see a few miscues on the field. But the club committed nine errors in its last six games, and manager Kirk Gibson is becoming tired of the team beating itself. "We have to play a cleaner game," he said. "There is a bit of fatigue, so there are going to be mistakes. We're trying not to, and we moved on very quickly. It's very frustrating for everybody, but we move on and get back after it. We've lost some tough games." One of those disappointing defeats came Saturday, when the D-backs made three errors, including two in the Nationals' five-run fifth inning that was the difference in the outcome. "I was in the elevator with some people and everybody talked about how the Nationals beat us, I just thought we beat ourselves," Gibson said. "They are a good team and you can't do that to them. I got up early this morning thinking about it. Guys are busting their tails and the schedule is probably getting to us right now." One of the errors the D-backs made on Saturday came on a misplayed ground ball to Chris Johnson at third base. Since joining the team on July 30, Johnson has raked at the plate but he's also made three errors. "He can be better defensively, he's spent a couple days with [third-base coach Matt Williams] working," Gibson said. "He tends to get the ball close to his body instead of out where he can see it. You lose your view of it. You want to keep your eyes on it and go get the ball. Watch [Nationals third baseman] Ryan Zimmerman, he's really good. That first step is important."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.