Patrick Corbin tossed seven scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week in LA, walking four batters, striking out eight, and holding Dodgers’ hitters to three hits in a 107-pitch outing which left him with a 3.20 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 17 walks (3.02 BB/9), 58 strikeouts (10.30 K/9), and a .210/.282/.349 line against in 50 2⁄3 IP overall on the season.
“Since the day we got him he’s been all in,” Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nats’ 6-0 win over the Dodgers.
“He’s been a tremendous guy, a tremendous leader, and a good athlete. You can’t ask for more than what he’s been doing.”
Corbin’s first two starts this season were against the Mets, and his skipper said before the lefty faced New York again last night, that it does take some getting used to when you are regularly going up against new division rivals.
“There is an adjustment,” Martinez explained. “All of a sudden now he’s facing a team that’s in our division three times. The first time he had to make that adjustment.
“I think now that he’s seeing them he has a pretty good idea of how he wants to attack the hitters, but coming from the West Coast to the East Coast, it is different.”
Corbin, who gave up 13 hits and five earned runs over 12 IP in his first two starts against the Mets this season, gave up just one run through five innings tonight, striking out seven of 19 batters on 75 pitches as the Nationals jumped out to a 5-1 lead.
He added two more Ks (9 total) in an 11-pitch sixth, and was up to 13 of 14 batters retired after he set the Mets down in order in a six-pitch seventh.
Corbin added his 10th K in the top of the eighth, and was done for the night after throwing 108 pitches total, earning the W in what ended up a 5-1 win.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 108 P, 72 S, 9/2 GO/FO.
“He’s really good,” Martinez said, stating the obvious after the win.
“For the most part kept the ball down, used both sides of the plate, when he can attack with his fastball it makes his slider that much better.”
Corbin got four swinging strikes and five called strikes with the 33 fastballs he threw, and picked up 12 swinging strikes (and two called strikes) with his slider, pounding right-handed batters down and in with what Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) described as “filthy backfoot sliders”:
Patrick Corbin, Filthy Back Foot Sliders (Ks #10 & 11). pic.twitter.com/Jf8hrNgB03— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 16, 2019
Why is it such an effective pitch? Martinez said he’s studied it to see for himself.
“I sit around often and on the computer I can just kind of visualize and stand up there as a hitter, and the break is so late, and that’s what makes it so effective, it looks like a fastball coming and it just drops,” the former major leaguer-turned-manager explained.
Corbin told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, that getting ahead in the count was the key to his success.
“You’re getting ahead of guys; a lot of them are starting 0-1,” Corbin said. “When I’m able to do that, you get them in swing mode, makes it a little more difficult on them.”
“Today just the fastball command,” he added, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“We were able to get ahead of guys and change eye level and things like that to keep them off balance. When you get ahead, sometimes they got to swing at that pitch.”
“You know once he gets through that first inning,” Martinez said when asked how he can tell if Corbin is on early in an outing, “... he tends to just kind of cruise, and then all of a sudden once he gets to that first time around the batting order he just kind of rolls, and they have a plan together, him and [catcher Yan] Gomes just have a plan to attack the hitters, and it was really good today.”