Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez talked after Patrick Corbin’s eight-inning, 108-pitch outing against the New York Mets last week in D.C. about what was working for the left-hander in the 5-1 win in which he held opposing hitters to a run on four hits and struck out 11 of the 29 batters he faced.
“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,” Martinez explained.
Both managers in that game, Martinez and Mets’ skipper Mickey Callaway, talked after that matchup about what a weapon Corbin’s slider was in the outing.
Corbin 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”.
“He’s able to kind of throw that slider for a strike to lay off of,” Callaway said, as quoted by NorthJersey.com’s Justin Toscano. ”It’s one of the best pitches in the major leagues.”
“I sit around often and on the computer I can just kind of visualize and stand up there as a hitter,” Martinez explained, “... and the break is so late, and that’s what makes it so effective, it looks like a fastball coming and it just drops.”
Opposing hitters had a .173 AVG on the pitch on the season after that start against the Mets, but it was his fastball, against which hitters had a .206 (four-seam) or .207 AVG (two-seam) before last night, that hurt Corbin early in the series opener with the Mets, when Amed Rosario hit an 0-2 four-seamer out to center for a one-out blast, and Pete Alonso hit a 1-2 two-seam fastball out to left-center to put the home team up 2-0 early in Citi Field.
It was 4-0 in the third after leadoff and two-out walks came around to score on an RBI single by Todd Frazier (on a 2-1 two-seamer) and an RBI double by Carlos Gómez (1-0 four-seamer), and Corbin was up to 71 pitches overall after three.
Corbin retired the final seven batters he faced, but he was up to 98 pitches and done after five innings of work against the Mets in what ended up a 5-3 loss for the Nationals...
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 2 HRs, 98 P, 60 S, 3/4 GO/FO.
“He just missed location early on, cost some runs, and then he settled down a little bit,” Nats’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the game.
“But his pitch count got up and before the game we had a plan not to let him go over 100 pitches, and we stuck to that plan.”
“First inning, I just left two fastballs [over the plate],” Corbin said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“One was right down the middle, the other came back over to the middle. Just a couple mistakes there. They had two good swings. I just was frustrated with location there.”
What was the decision to limit Corbin to under 100 pitches based on?
“Based on his workload,” Martinez explained. “He’s been up over 100 quite a few times, so, if he gets into the seventh inning at 100 pitches, great. But he worked really hard to get the outs he got today, and we thought that was good.”