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Zack Godley still races on and off the mound before and after innings, still takes the same hard-nosed, bulldog mentality – or, as pitching coach Mike Butcher calls it, “a bull in a china shop” mentality – into each of his starts. He’s been that way since long before he reached the big leagues two years ago.

But if there’s anything especially different about the way Godley is pitching this year, something to explain the success he’s been having through three starts with the Diamondbacks, he points to the fingers his catchers have been putting down before every pitch.

“In the three games I’ve thrown so far, I think I’ve probably shaken a total of five or six times,” Godley said. “They know what needs to be called and I have all the trust in the world in them.”

In 18 2/3 innings, Godley has allowed just four earned runs, and though he’s walked nine he’s also struck out 19 and given up just nine hits. While there’s probably some good fortune involved in the low hit total, he’s also suppressing hard contact; hitters’ average exit velocity against Godley is 82.9 mph, well below the big league average of 86.9 mph, according to Statcast data.

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He’s doing that in large part, he says, because of his pitch mix. Godley believes that in the past he would get “locked in” on a particular pitch or two, something that would both make him more predictable and cause him to lose the feel and effectiveness of his other pitches.

This year, he’s mixing his fastball along with his change-up, curveball and cutter in a more evenly distributed manner, particularly in his past two starts, though he has been relying more heavily on his curveball.

He believes it’s no coincidence that his cutter has become more effective as a result, and he credits catchers Jeff Mathis and Chris Iannetta for their game-calling ability.

“It’s really helped just because guys haven’t been able to sit on (the cutter) and kind of hook it,” Godley said. “They’re seeing the change-up and the sinker away and the curveball down, and then all of a sudden they have something that runs back in on their hands as a lefty. It’s helped me out a lot.”

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Whatever he throws, his pitches have one thing in common, Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb said.

“Everything moves; nothing is straight,” Lamb said. “It’s in, it’s out, it’s down. He’ll pop you up, too. I’m glad I don’t have to watch film and have an approach against him.”

Butcher believes another key for Godley has been maintaining a similar arm slot for every pitch, especially in his past two starts, in which he’s given up just two runs in 13 2/3 innings. In the past, Godley had sometimes lowered his arm slot when throwing change-ups, Butcher said.

“He has a little more of an awareness and feel,” Butcher said. “Ultimately, you want every guy to throw every pitch out of the same slot, the same release point, but I think it’s been a nice separator for him where everything looks the same coming in.”

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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Sunday’s game

Diamondbacks at Padres

When: 1:40 p.m.

Where: Petco Park, San Diego.

Pitchers: Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley (1-0, 1.93) vs. Padres LHP Clayton Richard (2-5, 4.86).

TV/Radio: FSAZ/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).

Godley threw well again on Monday night against the Mets, giving up just one run in 6 2/3 innings. He walked five but allowed just one hit, striking out seven. … In the start before that, he gave up one run in seven innings against the Tigers. … Opponents are just 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position against Godley. … Richard has been struggling in recent starts, posting a 6.67 ERA in his past five, including allowing six runs in six innings against the Brewers on Tuesday. … He threw well against the Diamondbacks at Petco Park on April 20 (6 2/3 innings, one run) but was hammered by them five days later at Chase Field (3 2/3 innings, six runs).

Coming up

Monday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.09) vs. White Sox RHP Miguel Gonzalez (3-4, 4.29).

Tuesday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (3-4, 4.38) vs. White Sox RHP Dylan Covey (0-3, 7.64).

Wednesday: At Chase Field, 12:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (4-3, 3.46) vs. White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (2-5, 3.92).