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Coors Field, Denver, Colorado Attendance: 31,687
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DENVER -- Colorado catcher Chris Iannetta is quite familiar with the challenge that awaits the Rockies on Wednesday when left-hander Patrick Corbin starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Iannetta spent last season with the Diamondbacks, meaning he caught Corbin (11-5, 3.01 ERA), who will oppose Jon Gray (11-7, 4.69).
The Diamondbacks' 6-3 victory Tuesday moved them within 2 1/2 games of the Rockies (79-65), who lead the National League West by 1 1/2 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The win was only the third in 11 games for the Diamondbacks (77-68), who are four games behind St. Louis for the final wild-card spot.
Corbin has allowed three or fewer runs in seven straight starts. He's 4-1, 2.23 in that span with five walks and 57 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings and two home runs allowed. He has limited opposing hitters to a .202 average and .524 OPS during that stretch.
Overall this season, Corbin has had more success against right-handed hitters, limiting them to a .203 average and .553 OPS in 554 plate appearances. By contrast, left-handed hitters are batting .238 with a .704 OPS in 158 plate appearances.
He won his last start Friday against Atlanta, allowing one run and four hits in six innings with one walk and nine strikeouts as the Diamondbacks beat the Braves 5-3.
In two starts against the Rockies this season, Corbin is 1-0, 3.60. He's 8-3, 4.66 in 19 games (18 starts) against the Rockies.
"I think first and foremost, the angle he creates with his fastball," Iannetta said. "He has a really good downhill angle on it. He pitches inside really well to righties and away to lefties. He's able to throw his two-seamer down and away to righties. He mixes in a change, which I was a big fan of, and then he's got a plus slider.
"That's been the pitch that really sets him apart. His ability to back-foot that slider (to righties), to throw it for strikes inside and away. It's really two pitches in one. When it ends up being backdoor, it's more like a curveball to a rightie. When it's more back foot, it's more true slider. So he's a three-pitch guy, but he's really a four-pitch guy."
Arizona is 17-12 in starts by Corbin. The Rockies are 16-11 in starts by Gray, who has made 13 starts since he last lost June 17.
In 10 starts since returning from Triple-A Albuquerque, where he made two starts in July, Gray is 4-0, 3.17 with 16 walks and 49 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings while limiting opposing hitters to a .209 average.
Gray received a no-decision Friday against the Dodgers when the Rockies lost 4-2. Gray issued a career-high tying five walks in four innings while yielding four hits and two runs with four strikeouts. He threw 85 pitches in four innings, 49 for strikes, and since that start has worked in particular on his fastball command and being aggressive.
"I want to get back to attacking the zone," Gray said. "I feel I didn't throw as many pitches in the zone and attack as I used to. I just want to get back to down and away (for strikes with the fastball). That pretty much fixes everything else. You feel like you're getting pretty good glove side (location). With me it's just fill up the strike zone more. The last 10 starts or whatever were efficient; that one wasn't."
Updated September 12, 2018