Patrick Corbin came off the IL (after getting caught up in the COVID crisis that hit the club before the season opener), in time to start the second game of three with the Dodgers in LA’s Dodger Stadium, but the 31-year-old left-hander struggled in his first outing of the ‘21 season, giving up six hits, three walks, and six earned runs in 4 1⁄3 innings pitched in what ended up a 9-5 loss for the Washington Nationals, who dropped their 4th straight and will have to try to salvage one in Los Angeles in the series finale.
Corbin’s Back: Patrick Corbin finished the 60-game 2020 season with a (2-7) record in eleven outings, over which he posted a 4.66 ERA, a 4.17 FIP, 2.47 BB/9, 8.22 K/9, and a .308/.349/.489 line against in 65 2⁄3 IP.
But he came into Spring Training 2021 looking to bounce back in the third year of his 6-year/$140M deal in D.C.
“Last year was just frustrating,” Corbin said succinctly early this spring. “You want to go out there and compete and yeah, I mean, you look at my numbers, I wasn’t pleased with how it went.”
His first chance to start over came in tonight’s matchup with the Dodgers, after a delayed start to the season for the Nationals, and Corbin, who got caught up in the COVID crisis in Washington before Opening Day.
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said before the game he was hoping to get around five innings and 75-ish pitches out of Corbin in his 2021 debut.
Corbin tossed a quick, scoreless first on 12 pitches, but walked the bases loaded with no one out in the second, and gave up a one-out, two-run single to right by Zach McKinstry, who made it a 2-1 game in the Dodgers’ favor, after the Nats had jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Chris Taylor followed one out later with a three-run shot to left on a sinker up in the zone to put the home team up 5-1.
Corbin got a 6-4-3 DP to end an 11-pitch third, after giving up back-to-back, one-out hits, and he struck out the side in a 15-pitch fourth that left him at 70 pitches overall, close to Davey Martinez’s expected 5/75.
The southpaw returned to the mound in the bottom of the fifth, however, and gave up a one-out single by Corey Seager, and an RBI double by Justin Turner, 6-1, before Martinez pulled the plug on Corbin’s 2021 debut.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 80 P, 48 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Early Runs: Juan Soto hustled down the line to beat out a potential inning-ending DP on his one-out grounder to second in the top of the first, and the 22-year-old took third base on a two-out single by Ryan Zimmerman, before scoring on a jam-shot to right field off of Starlin Castro’s bat that fell in for an RBI single, 1-0, though Zimmerman was thrown out at third on the play to end the inning, a 22-pitch frame by LA lefty Julio Urías.
That was all the Nationals got through five, however. Urías settled in, working with a 5-1 lead after a second-inning rally, and retired ten straight after a two-out single in the second, and he was up to just 74 after five strong innings on the mound in Dodger Stadium.
Bullpen Action: Austin Voth took over for Patrick Corbin with a runner on second and one out in the Dodgers’ fifth and retired two batters around an intentional walk to keep it a 6-1 game after five.
Soto Shot: Juan Soto got all of a 94 MPH 1-1 fastball from Urías and hit his first home run of the 2021 season out to right in Dodger Stadium in the top of the sixth, sending one 407 ft. from home plate to make it a 6-2 game in the Dodgers’ favor.
Ryan Zimmerman singled with one down, took third on a two-out hit by Jordy Mercer, and scored on an RBI line drive to center by Yan Gomes, 6-3, and that was it for Urías.
Julio Urías’s Line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 74 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
More Bullpen Action: Jimmy Nelson came on for LA in the sixth, with runners on first and third and two out and hit pinch hitter Yadiel Hernández, loading them in front of Andrew Stevenson, who K’d swinging over a filthy, 1-2 knuckle curve for the third out of the inning, 6-3 LA.
Sam Clay recorded three quick outs in an eight-pitch sixth.
Nelson worked around a one-out walk to Trea Turner in a scoreless top of the seventh, still 6-3 Dodgers.
Clay returned for a second inning of work and retired the first two batters he faced before a red-hot Justin Turner (2 for 4, 2 doubles) dropped a two-out, two-base hit into right field. An intentional walk to Will Smith and single by Max Muncy in the next at bat ended Clay’s night.
Kyle Finnegan took over for the Nationals with the bases loaded and two out and gave up a line drive to left by AJ Pollock that Andrew Stevenson dove for and missed, 9-3 Dodgers.
Dennis Santana worked around three singles in a scoreless top of the eighth.
Wander Suero made his fourth appearance in five games in the bottom of the eighth, and gave up leadoff and two-out walks before popping Justin Turner up to end the frame.
Left-hander Scott Alexander gave up Juan Soto’s second home run of the game and the season in the ninth, 9-5, on the two-run shot, but that’s as close as the Nationals got.
Final Score: 9-5 Dodgers
Nationals now 1-4