It's been six weeks in the making, but the baseball world is beginning to take notice of D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin.
Perhaps one of the biggest untold stories of the 2013 season, Corbin has begun the year by tossing at least six innings and allowing two or fewer runs in each of his first eight starts. His 1.52 ERA ranks third in the Majors behind only Shelby Miller and Clayton Kershaw.
After Corbin shut out the Braves over seven innings, on just three hits, in his last start, retired Braves third baseman Chipper Jones tweeted how impressed he was with the youngster's performance: "This Corbin dude is pretty nasty!"
Corbin's next chance to show just how nasty he is will come Monday, when he takes the mound against the Rockies in Colorado as the D-backs try to win their ninth consecutive game with the 23-year-old on the bump. The D-backs have won four of their past five while the Rockies took three of four from the Giants.
There have only been two southpaws in D-backs history to open a season 6-0 or better, with Corbin joining surefire Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. Still, Corbin is trying to avoid all the hype surrounding his hot start, instead focusing on the team-first mantra.
"I haven't looked at that at all," Corbin said of the press clippings. "Our job is to go out there and we don't want to lose. That's what I've been trying to do every time I go out."
Opposing Corbin will be Jon Garland, whose experience has helped the Rockies in the early going, even though he has lost his last two starts. He wasn't shelled in either. In fact, the right-hander has had the exact same final line in his last three outings: five innings pitched and three runs allowed on seven hits.
Moving forward, Garland would like to last longer in games and help the Rockies save the bullpen.
"I don't want to come out of these games," said Garland. "It's not my choice. I'd like to keep going and see if I can continue to give the team a chance.
"It almost seems like I'm hurting the team rather than helping the team when I'm going five."
Rockies: Oswalt progressing, headed to Double-A
Right-handed three-time All-Star Roy Oswalt is still three to four weeks from being considered for the Rockies' rotation, but his effort Saturday at extended spring training suggests he is progressing rapidly.
Pitching against a team of Brewers prospects, Oswalt gave up one hit -- a first-inning leadoff bunt single -- and struck out nine with no walks in five innings. It was his third start in extended spring in Arizona.
The next move for Oswalt, 35, who signed with the Rockies on May 3, is to Double-A Tulsa. He will make his first start for the Drillers on Friday at Arkansas and will be limited to 75 pitches. Bill Geivett, the Rockies' senior vice president of Major League operations, said Oswalt would need four or five starts before he is evaluated for a possible spot in the rotation.
D-backs: Montero struggling
D-backs catcher Miguel Montero has tried a number of different things to snap out of his season-long slump. On Saturday, he attempted some positive self-talk as he walked around the clubhouse before the game, telling anyone who would listen that it was about to be "Miggy Time."
Montero collected a single in Saturday's game, but he went 0-for-3 with a walk Sunday, and his batting average is down to .180.
"He's been battling," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're going to get him going, he's going to get it going. You start to analyze things, you pretty much cover it A to Z and it gets tough. You have to go up there and not be overthinking the situation. If you do, it makes it tough. You analyze things you don't need to analyze."
• The D-backs are 4-3 against the Rockies this season.
• The D-backs avoided being shut out Sunday by scoring on a sacrifice fly in the ninth, keeping alive Arizona's distinction as the only team in baseball yet to be held scoreless in a game this season.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.