Patrick Corbin threw fastballs (four-seam and sinkers) 53.7% of the time in 2019, in the first year of his 6-year/$140M deal with the Washington Nationals, and threw his slider 37% of the time, mixing in a changeup (5.8%) and curve (3.6%), but relying for the most part on a two-pitch arsenal in the majority of his outings as he has throughout his MLB career.
That’s something the 30-year-old, seven-year veteran is working on in his Grapefruit League starts this Spring, as he attempts to give opposing hitters something to think about when in the batter’s box.
Giving them a different look, Corbin said, could obviously help in the long run.
“Just adjust their eyes [with] something slower,” Corbin explained, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after a three-inning outing against the St. Louis Cardinals last night in which he gave up three runs, four hits, and a walk, while striking out five.
“Keep them off balance, that’s what pitching’s all about. It’s always good to have multiple pitches you can throw in multiple counts. That’s just what we’re trying to work on.”
Corbin worked around a one-out single, picking up two Ks in a 16-pitch first, but a long, 25-pitch second inning, in which he gave up back-to-back doubles, a two-run home run, and a walk before recording three straight outs, and a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 third in which he picked up a couple more strikeouts, ended his outing after 53 pitches.
He left a 1-1 slider up over the the middle for Rangel Ravelo, who lined a leadoff double to left field in the top of the second inning.
Ravelo scored on Austin Dean’s opposite field double off of the southpaw’s fastball in the next at bat, 1-0 Cards.
Later in the second, Andrew Knizer unloaded on a 2-0 fastball up high from Corbin and hit a two-run blast out to left field to make it 3-0 in what ended up an 11-0 win for the Cards.
“I left a breaking ball up that they hit a double, heater away for another double, and then I thought I made two good pitches there, fell behind and just a fastball that kind of was left over,” Corbin explained when he spoke with reporters after his second start of the Spring.
“But it was good to just throw — I think I probably threw 25 pitches that [second] inning or so, just to kind of see how I felt after that, but I feel the ball is coming out better, and was able to throw everything, a bunch of changeups and breaking balls today.”
As always, of course, the results in Spring Training aren’t the main focus as much as getting work in and building up arm strength as pitchers progress towards Opening Day.
“I think the biggest thing for me is just feeling good coming out of it,” Corbin said, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato.
“Not really overdoing it out there — you don’t want something to happen,” he added.
“I felt today I stayed under control. I felt the ball was coming out a little better today than last outing, and I feel good.”
And, just as important as feeling good when he was done, he got the work in he wanted to.
“Just good to be able to throw all the pitches, trying to get through three innings there, the second inning we threw an extended inning there, a lot of pitches, but it was good to bounce back in the third. Felt strong finishing it up and felt better this outing than the last one, so just continue to build off that.”