Patrick Corbin held the New York Yankees to a run on two hits in 6 1⁄3 innings pitched in his 2020 debut, walking no one and striking out eight of the 21 batters he faced in a 3-2 loss in D.C.
Corbin, 31, talked after the outing about what he was able to do the first time out in a game that counted.
“Just trying to go out there and throw strikes, quality strikes against this team,” Corbin said.
“I tried to minimize as many mistakes as I could. I thought we did a good job getting ahead of these guys with our fastball.
“Throwing inside, outside, mixing it up, up and down, throwing some strike sliders, and then getting them to chase later on. Was in a rhythm with [catcher] Yan [Gomes] all day. Felt good for the first time out there being able to go out there and throw strikes and try to be as efficient as I can.”
Corbin went 6 1⁄3 on just 75 pitches in that outing. Last night, going into start No. 2, skipper Davey Martinez said he was hoping for more of the same.
“He’s gonna try to attack the strike zone,” Martinez told reporters before the game. “He had some pretty good bullpens in-between, so I’m assuming he’s going to go out there and give us everything he’s got tonight.
“The key for him is throwing strike one and getting ahead of hitters and then working in his slider. It’s no secret.
“He had a good first outing, hopefully he can bounce back after a long layoff and come back and give us the same.”
Corbin tossed three scoreless on 47 pitches to start the first of two with the New York Mets in the nation’s capital, but Michael Conforto, who started the matchup with the Nats’ starter 7 for 19 (.368/.400/1.053) with four home runs off the left-hander in their respective careers, hit a two-run blast off the top of the fence in left to get the visiting team on the board in the fourth, down 5-2 at that point.
Three straight batters reached base with two down in the top of the fifth, and the Mets put up a third run on an RBI single by Pete Alonso, 5-3. Corbin was up to 87 pitches after a 24-pitch frame, and he came back out for the sixth inning.
Back-to-back, two-out hits in the sixth pushed Corbin up to 102 pitches, however, ending his night with two runners on, both of whom were stranded in what ended up a 5-3 win.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 102 P, 66 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
“Corbin was phenomenal,” Martinez said after the win.
“I loved what I saw tonight with these guys. They came out with a lot of energy. We played well. The bullpen was phenomenal.”
Corbin was pitching on nine days’ rest, but he said the long layoff between starts didn’t have an adverse effect.
“I actually felt better as the game went on, getting back in the rhythm out there,” he told the D.C. press corps on a Zoom call after the game. “We know these are possibilities that can happen, games can get canceled for other reasons, so we just have to be prepared. Try to keep the best routine that we can and try to go out there an execute pitches.”
One pitch he failed to execute, Corbin acknowledged, was the 3-1 fastball low and not far enough away to the left-handed hitting Conforto, who went the other way with it and got enough to send it out.
“He seems to hit me pretty well,” Corbin said. “I didn’t execute my pitches very well to him.
“He’s a good left-handed hitter with some power the other way. Just kind of left a fastball there that he had a great swing on it, took it the other way.
“Didn’t really execute good sliders against him. He’s one of those lefties that can do that to you.”
Through two outings, Corbin’s now struck out 16 batters in 12 IP (12.00 K/9), with just one walk so far, and a 3.00 ERA, 2.75 FIP, and a .217/.234/.348 line against. Is he surprised that he’s been able to get off to such a good start with the way Spring Training ended, the 2.0 ramp-up in just three weeks, and then nine days off between his first two outings?
“You try to — for me, just trying to keep my mechanics, repeat my delivery has been a big thing with me,” Corbin said, “and not so much worry about other things. Just — you try to throw strikes, you try to get ahead of guys, and obviously this is different for everybody. It’s been two games, I’m still getting to that level where I’d like to be. The only way to do that is to continue to go out there and pitch every fifth day, and hopefully we’re able to do that.
“And just continue to get my body into game shape. It was good to get over 100 pitches today, and we’ll see how I bounce back tomorrow.”