Patrick Corbin dropped three straight outings in late May/early June, but going into his first start back in Arizona after signing with Washington this winter, the 30-year-old, former D-backs’ left-hander was unbeaten in eight starts, over which he was (4-0) with a 1.76 ERA, 12 walks, 65 Ks, and a .217/.263/.304 line against in 51 innings pitched.
Corbin was coming off back-to-back wins over the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves, in which he gave up two earned runs in 12 IP (1.50 ERA), with four walks and 15 Ks, generating 19 swinging strikes with his slider when he faced the Nationals’ NL East rivals in the nation’s capital.
“When that slider is on it looks like a fastball, it really does,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said after Corbin’s outing against the Braves.
“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.”
Corbin struggled with his command early in Chase Field, however, issuing two walks in the bottom of the second, both of which were followed by run-scoring doubles, one and two-run hits which put the D-backs up 3-2 after the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Ketel Marte hit a 2-1 fastball to center in the first at bat of the third, and made it all the way around the bases when Gerardo Parra dove for the liner to center and came up empty on what ended up an inside-the-park home run, 4-2.
It was a 4-4 game after the Nationals rallied to tie it with runs in the fourth and sixth, but after he grounded into a force at second with the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Corbin returned to the mound and gave up a leadoff single by Christian Walker and RBI double by Adam Jones that put the D-backs back on top, 5-4.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 87 P, 55 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Corbin’s teammates rallied to tie it at 5-5, getting him off the hook, but the Diamondbacks ended up scoring two in the bottom of the seventh in what ended up a 7-5 win.
“I wish it went better today,” Corbin said, “just kind of never got in a rhythm out there. They had some good at bats. Obviously they’ve seen me, I’ve seen them. Just thought they put good at bats together today, made it tough on me, and just never really executed pitches as well as I have, so just kind of throw this one away and move on.”
What kept him from getting in a rhythm?
“I thought they did a good job with my slider today,” the left-hander said, after he generated just four swinging strikes with the 18 sliders he threw. “Obviously they know that’s a strong pitch of mine, and it seems like they just make it tough on all of us. Yesterday was a tough game as well and I just kind of battled through, didn’t make quality pitches like I have. Just kind of would make a good one, not as good of one, and, they made it hard on me.”
His manager was asked about the decision to stick with his starter when the Nats loaded the bases with two out and scored the tying run.
With an opportunity to take the lead, Martinez sent his pitcher up, and he grounded into a force at second to end the inning and failed to make it through the bottom of the sixth.
“His pitch count was down,” Martinez said. “I liked him, he started settling down a little bit, you know, and these guys — I’ve said this before, the reason we’re playing well is because our starters have done well, so he had momentum to go out there and get through that sixth inning and then some. If he gets through the sixth inning quick enough, then you know he goes back out.”
“I thought I had at least two more in me,” Corbin said, “and just kind of didn’t work out.
“Walker had the hit fell in there and another double over the bag at third, so things kind of didn’t go the way I wanted to start that inning, but I felt good all day, just kind of thought my stuff was good, just kind of maybe missed some spots and didn’t execute the best.”