Patrick Corbin has to figure something out, because start No. 2 was not any better than his 2021 debut, and the hole the left-hander left the Washington Nationals in tonight was a big one. Corbin gave up six hits, four walks, and ten runs (nine earned) in just two innings in an 11-6 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Nationals Park.
Corbin vs the D-backs: In his first outing of 2021, which followed an extended layoff on the COVID-IL, Patrick Corbin gave up six hits, three walks, and six earned runs in a 4 1⁄3-inning, 80-pitch outing against the Dodgers in LA’s Dodger Stadium. The three walks, and five of the six runs the lefty allowed came in his second inning of work, when he walked the first three batters to put himself in a jam he couldn’t escape without damage, but after that he settled in.
“I actually thought he threw the ball well, he had one rough inning with the walks. But the ball was coming out,” manager Davey Martinez said after the 9-5 loss to the Dodgers that day.
“Right now the big thing is we have to try to get him stretched out, but he went five innings, threw 80 pitches, so I feel good about it. Next outing hopefully it’s a little better, but he felt good about it, so we just got to get him going and get him back in the rotation.”
Outing No. 2 for Corbin got off to a rocky start, with his eighth and tenth pitches leaving the yard on back-to-back solo home runs by Carson Kelly and Eduardo Escobar, 2-0 AZ early.
Corbin gave up back-to-back, two-out walks in the first, and an RBI single to left by Wyatt Mathisen brought Nick Ahmed, who took the first free pass, and stole second base, in to score and make it 3-0.
It was a 4-3 game in the home team’s favor when Corbin returned to the mound in the top of the second and gave up two singles around a walk as the D-backs loaded the bases with no one out. Corbin got the first out on a swinging K from Asdrúbal Cabrera, and got a grounder to second that looked like a potential inning-ending DP, but Josh Harrison stumbled and misplayed it, allowing a run to score without an out being recorded, 4-4.
A walk, 5-4, and HBP, 6-4, followed, before Andrew Young hit a grand slam into the right field bullpen, 10-4.
Well, that escalated quickly. pic.twitter.com/kF94mfCYwM— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 16, 2021
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 2.0 IP, 6 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 3 HRs, 63 P, 35 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Kelly vs the Nationals: In two starts before tonight’s, 32-year-old righty Merrill Kelly gave up a combined 14 hits and 10 runs (nine earned), with opposing hitters putting up a combined .333/.370/.595 line against the D-backs’ starter.
Kelly spent four years pitching in Korea before he returned to MLB, signing a free agent deal with the D-backs in 2018.
Though he was pitching in the mile high air of Coors Field in his last outing before tonight’s, Kelly said he felt like his stuff was good in his second start, which saw him give up nine hits and seven runs, six earned.
“I think I felt probably the best I have all year,” Kelly said, as quoted on MLB.com.
“Maybe other than the two-seam fastball, I was able to throw everything for strikes. The changeup was there, curveball was pretty good, cutter was probably the best it’s been.”
Juan Soto hit a 1-0 curve from Kelly on a line to left in the second at bat of the bottom of the first inning tonight, and took second base when it ate up D-backs’ outfielder Andrew Young, before scoring on a ground-rule double to left by Josh Bell, 3-1, after Arizona jumped out to a three-run lead in the top of the inning.
Josh Harrison drove Bell in with a pop to short right that fell in for a hit, and Starlin Castro followed with a two-out, two-run home run to right-center that put the Nationals up, 4-3 after one.
Given a 10-4 lead to work with after one and a half, Kelly cruised through five innings, with 11 of 12 set down after a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth, but Josh Harrison got all of a 1-1 changeup in the first at bat of the sixth and sent a towering shot over the left field fence to make it a five-run D-backs’ lead, 10-5. Harrison’s first of the season.
Back-to-back singles by Jordy Mercer and Trea Turner in the bottom of the seventh ended Kelly’s outing...
Merrill Kelly’s Line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 96 P, 61 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Welcome Back, Asdrúbal: Davey Martinez talked before tonight’s game about seeing 2019 World Series champion Asdrúbal Cabrera back in the nation’s capital, after he helped bring the championship to D.C. in ‘19 and returned to the organization for 2020’s 60-game COVID campaign.
What did Martinez say to his former player? “I told him I was going to walk him,” the skipper said.
Cabrera’s response? “He told he me was going to bunt,” Martinez said with a laugh. But he did go on to say how much Cabrera meant to the ‘19 club, after signing in August that year, once he was released by the Texas Rangers.
“He was unbelievable,” Martinez said.
“I asked him to do things he probably didn’t know he could do. Play first base, he played a lot of third, he DH’d when he was here last year. I’ll never forget him nor the guys that were here in ‘19. We won a World Series with Asdrúbal and he was a big part of the reason why we won. His everyday approach and the way he handled himself in the clubhouse, he’s a guy that you want around, and I was so proud of him coming over here and helping us do the things that we did, and I’ll never forget those guys.”
Bullpen Action: Kyle Finnegan took over for the Nationals with the home team trailing 10-4 in the third, working around a leadoff single in a 13-pitch frame. Finnegan worked around a walk in an 18-pitch fourth, completing two scoreless on [checks math] 31 pitches.
Luis Avilán tossed a scoreless, 17-pitch fifth, working around a two-out walk, and worked around an error and a HBP in a 22-pitch sixth.
Wander Suero (again?) came on in the top of the seventh inning and retired the D-backs in order in a 14-pitch frame.
Alex Young took over on the mound for the D-backs with two on and no one out in the Nats’ half of the seventh and got the first out on a Juan Soto grounder before Josh Bell’s sac fly to center made it a 10-6 game in Arizona’s favor. Kyle Schwarber took a two-out walk, putting runners on the corners with two down, but a Josh Harrison fly to right ended the threat.
Daniel Hudson gave up a two-out solo shot to right on a 96 MPH 1-0 fastball to Pavin Smith, 11-6.
Yoan Lopez, who finished up the seventh for the Diamondbacks, came back in the eighth and got two outs before an Andrew Stevenson single chased him. Anthony Swarzak took the mound next and retired Ryan Zimmerman to end the frame.
Brad Hand got some work in the top of the ninth, working around a back-to-back, one-out HBPs for a scoreless inning.
Stefan Crichton came on to end it in the ninth and worked around a two-out single by Juan Soto to end it.
Final Score: 11-6 D-backs
Nationals now 3-7