When he spoke before the start of the World Series, Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez declined to name a starter for Game 3, after acknowledging that it would be Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg in the first two against the Houston Astros on the road in Minute Maid Park.
Asked if there was any chance he’d use Patrick Corbin in relief in the first two games if the game situation warranted it, Martinez would only say, “We shall see.”
His approach all season has been to try to go 1-0 every day, of course, and the second-year skipper said that wasn’t going to change.
“We’re going to play every game to go 1-0, as I talked about all year long,” Martinez confirmed.
“With that being said,” he added, “... if there’s a situation that we feel like a starter could benefit on us capitalizing and winning a game, then so be it.
“But there’s seven games, so we’ve got to be very careful of how we do things.”
As Martinez watched Scherzer’s pitch count go up throughout the early innings last night in Game 1, he realized he might have to turn to Corbin at some point, which he eventually did after a total of five innings and 112 pitches from his starter.
“[Scherzer] gave us everything he had today,” Martinez said. “Those guys are good. They don’t chase. And they’re good hitters. He gave us everything he had. And as the game was rolling along and I started watching Max’s pitch count, I knew that there was going to become an inning that we need to use Corbin. And now all I wanted to do was pitch him an inning.”
Corbin needed 21 pitches to get through the sixth, before handing it off to Tanner Rainey, Daniel Hudson, and Sean Doolittle, who locked down the win in spite of the Astros’ effort mounting a comeback that got them within one.
“Corbin had a bunch of days off,” Martinez said. “It was his bullpen day again so I was just going to try to utilize him if we had to, and he came in and did great.”
“I knew I was available, so you just try to prepare,” Corbin told reporters. “We went down I think in the fourth or fifth there and just try to stay loose in here and if my name was called, I was ready to go. I threw a week ago, so I was pretty fresh.”
So what, if any, effect, will Corbin’s appearance have on the Nationals’ rotation plans for Games 3-4 and beyond?
“After this press conference I’m going to sit down and talk to Pat, talk to [Pitching Coach] Paul [Menhart], and just see where we’re at.”
Will Corbin still be able to go in Game 3? Will the Nationals turn to Aníbal Sánchez instead and get Corbin ready for Game 4?
We should know relatively soon since the starters talk a day before their outings, and with a day off on Thursday for travel, they should speak before tonight’s game.