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Patrick Corbin struggles in final regular season start of first year with Nationals

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Patrick Corbin is ready to go if the Nationals need him on Tuesday night after making his final regular season start on Saturday.

Cleveland Indians v Washington Nationals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Washington Nationals’ General Manager Mike Rizzo talked to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning about the recruiting effort which led Patrick Corbin to sign a six-year/$140M free agent deal with the Nats this winter.

“He really liked that we had to offer here,” Rizzo said. “[Managing Principal Owner] Mark Lerner and I took him out to dinner, he and his wife Jen, and we showed him the city, we showed him what the ballpark was like, what the area around the ballpark was like, what living in D.C. means to the citizens of it ... it was a recruiting mission. There’s no question about it.

“We mapped out a vision that we’ve had here and we showed him our minor league prospects, what the team is going to look like 1-3-5 years down the road, and had an extremely nice dinner at a nice restaurant in Georgetown and to get into the restaurant that night we had to go through a metal detector because the Vice President of the United States was in the house, and not many cities can say that.”

Corbin bought what they were selling. He took the mound on Sunday afternoon, in his final regular season start, with a 3.05 ERA, a 3.35 FIP, 68 walks, 230 Ks, and a .223/.289/.361 line against in 32 starts and 197 23 IP on the season.

“He’s been outstanding for us this whole season,” Rizzo told the Junkies.

“He’s a great complement to our big two right-handers and ... we feel comfortable rolling any one of those guys out there. It’s a luxury that few teams have, and we’re lucky enough to be able to run three quality No. 1 type of starters out.”

Corbin tossed two scoreless to start on Sunday, on 27 pitches, and he came back out for the third with a 9-0 lead after the Nationals’ hitters (including Corbin himself, with an RBI single) torched Cleveland starter Adam Plutko and knocked him out early.

Corbin stranded a runner at third base in his third inning of work, striking out three straight after a leadoff double and a passed ball, but Jordan Luplow hit a 2-1 fastball out the other way in the first at bat of the fourth, sending a solo shot over the out-of-town scoreboard to get the Indians a run, 9-1.

Franmil Reyes doubled in the next at bat, and after a one-out walk to Yu Chang, Eric Haase hit a 3-1 fastball from Corbin to center for a three-run home run that made it a 9-4 game.

It was 10-4 when Corbin came back out for the fifth and gave up a one-out walk and a two-run home run, the walk to Luplow and the home run by Reyes, before he was lifted with the score 10-6 in the Nationals’ favor...

Patrick Corbin’s Line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 3 HRs, 94 P, 59 S, 5/0 GO/FO.

“Results weren’t there,” Corbin said after the 10-7 win over the Indians which guaranteed the Nationals home field advantage in the Wild Card Game, “... but got my work in, and looking forward to Tuesday playing in front of our home fans.”

Corbin got 17 swinging strikes on the day, 14 with his slider, 14 called strikes overall, but he ran into trouble in his final inning of work and didn’t make it through the fifth, throwing 94 pitches total, which was more than expected going into the start.

“I think he ran into a little bit of a — his tempo got really fast, got really, really quick,” Davey Martinez said after Corbin’s final regular season start, “and in like my history watching guys like that, when you score that many runs, you’re almost just kind of trying to get through five or six innings, because all of a sudden he started going really fast. When he does that he starts spiking his sliders and his fastballs get a little erratic.”

Martinez, who said on Friday that both Corbin and Stephen Strasburg would be available to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday with Max Scherzer starting, reiterated that even though Corbin threw 94 pitches in Saturday’s game, he’ll be ready if needed in the Wild Card game.

“We talked, I talked to him and he said 90 ... after that one inning he wanted to go back out, he was adamant about going back out for the fifth, and he told me ... 90 is a good number, he said, ‘I’ll be fine, it will just be my bullpen day like normal, so I’ll be ready to go.’”

“I’ll be ready to go,” Corbin said. “I wanted to definitely get work in today in case they don’t use me on Tuesday I want to be as far off to start a game and get back around 100 pitches, so I’ll be ready to go if my name’s called, and it’s a do-or-die game Tuesday so it will be exciting.”

With no decision on Saturday, Corbin finished the regular season (14-7) in 33 starts, with a 3.25 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 70 walks (3.12 BB/9), and 238 Ks (10.60 K/9) in 202 IP.