Asked before Game 3 of the World Series if there was any possibility of left-hander Patrick Corbin coming on in relief as he had four times throughout the postseason, even if he was scheduled to start Game 4, Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez offered a firm, “No.”
“I want him to kind of focus on tomorrow’s game,” the manager said.
In Corbin’s two October starts, the left-hander, who signed a 6-year/$140M free agent deal with Washington this winter, gave up seven hits and six runs, five earned, with eight walks and 21 Ks in 11 innings. Combined with four relief appearances, it’s been a heavy workload for the southpaw, whose last outing before today’s was in Game 1 of the World Series.
“This time worked out pretty well for us being able to throw Game 1 and then having three full days off,” Corbin told reporters last night.
“Being available for [Game] 2 but kind of worked out great not being able to get in there. I didn’t throw at all. So I was able to do my same routine, everything that I would have done. A little ways from my last start, too. Everything feels great, ready to go.”
While Corbin (and most starters) say they try to treat every outing the same, is it possible to really think about your first World Series start as any other outing?
“These are games I want to pitch in,” Corbin told the reporter who asked.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to go out there and help us win a ballgame.
“This is what you prepare for all offseason, to pitch in these games and just to have the opportunity to go out there, give it my best.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to try to keep everything the same. I’m sure I’ll be excited. But I’m really looking forward to it.”
The opportunity comes at the end of a season everyone expected to start with Corbin in New York, where he was projected to go once he hit the free agent market, with the fact that he grew up in upstate New York as a Yankees fan mentioned often before he inked a deal with the Nationals.
With a full season in D.C. behind him, and his team in the World Series, with a 2-1 lead over the Astros, it seems like it’s a decision that worked out well for the 30-year-old, seven-year veteran.
“No regrets,” Corbin said before the Nationals’ loss in Game 3.
“I obviously loved every second here. I always tell everybody I feel like I’ve been here longer, just such a great clubhouse, great people to be around every day. Really enjoy it here.
“The big reason was to come here and make it to the World Series and win a World Series.
“I knew the guys in here were capable of doing it. It’s a great team and we’ve just put things together really well.”
The opportunity to work with the other starters in the rotation in D.C., he added, has helped him immeasurably, as he explained when he was asked about working with the Astros’ right-hander Zack Greinke when the two were together in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ rotation.
“Yeah, Zack’s preparation is probably the best in the game,” Corbin said.
“There’s a couple of guys here, too, as well, with Max [Scherzer] and [Stephen Strasburg], and Aníbal [Sánchez], those guys as well.
“That’s the big thing with some of these older pitchers, Zack doesn’t throw as hard as he did when he first came up, but he knows how it to pitch. I think that’s huge being able to learn myself how to do things better out there.”
His new rotation mates push each other to get better as well, Corbin explained, and that’s something that has helped foster a healthy competition amongst the starters.
“Yeah, it’s great,” Corbin said. “We all root for each other. I feel like that’s something that’s not always easy. Guys might seem like it, but we really do. We try to help each other.
“When we’re pitching or when we’re not pitching. And I think it’s pretty special to be on a team that does stuff like that.”