Patrick Corbin threw 100 pitches in five innings in Atlanta, when he faced the Braves on the road in SunTrust Park earlier this month, but he limited Washington’s NL East rivals to a total of two runs on eight hits in that outing, receiving no decision in what ended up a 4-3 loss.
Corbin talked after his first outing against the Braves this season, about the tough lineup the NL East leaders send out on a daily basis.
“They’re a tough opponent over there,” Corbin said, “and had to battle from it seemed like pitch one. Didn’t get ahead as well as I wanted to. They made me work, they laid off some good pitches. Would have liked to have gone a little deeper in the game, but sometimes against a good team like that you try not to make a mistake and what happened was my pitch count got up.”
Corbin followed up on that start with six scoreless against the Colorado Rockies last week in D.C, and last night in Nationals Park he faced the Braves again, holding them off the board until a Freddie Freeman single (for Atlanta’s first hit), a wild pitch, on which Freeman moved up a base, and an error by Anthony Rendon on a two-out grounder to third base by Adam Duvall combined to get Atlanta their first run, making it 2-1 Nats at that point.
After striking out the side in the fifth, in a 14-pitch frame, Corbin was up to 80 pitches total, and eight Ks from 19 batters faced, and each strikeout in the fifth inning came on his slider, leaving him with 15 swinging strikes on the 33 sliders he’d thrown to that point.
The sixth was a struggle for Corbin, however. He gave up back-to-back, one-out hits by the Braves’ first baseman, Freddie Freeman, and third baseman, Josh Donaldson, and a fly ball off Adam Duvall’s bat almost cleared the left field fence, but Juan Soto was there to take it off the top of the wall so it was a sac fly instead of a three-run homer.
The sac fly tied things up at 2-2, and Corbin’s 27-pitch inning ended his night...
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 107 P, 67 S, 5/5 GO/FO.
Anthony Rendon’s grand slam in the bottom of the sixth set Corbin up for the win in what ended up a 6-3 game. The starter finished the night with 19 swinging strikes on 50 sliders, and 22 swinging strikes overall on the night, to go along with 12 called strikes, with seven coming on his fastball.
When he has both pitches working like that he’s a pretty tough matchup for any hitter, his manager said.
“That slider is a swing and miss pitch, it doesn’t have to be in the zone, and he understands that, so the thing that makes his slider really good also is his ability — when he throws strikes with his fastball it makes it that much better,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the win.
But that slider, right?
“He was really good,” Martinez added. “When that slider is on it looks like a fastball, it really does. And he was locating it. He throws it down and in to righties, and he did that all night. The last inning there they started laying off a little bit, but it was kind of a little bit of a slower slider, it wasn’t that sharp, but he got a big out when we needed it, and he kept us in the ballgame.”