Patrick Corbin Under The Microscope:
Patrick Corbin gave up 12 hits, seven walks, and 16 runs, 15 earned, in 6 1⁄3 innings pitched in his first two outings, so he and the Nationals’ coaches did a lot of work before start No. 3 of the left-hander’s third season in D.C.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez talked before last night’s game about what he’d be watching as Corbin tried to turn things around.
“He had a really good bullpen the other day. For us right now, it’s throwing strikes. He hasn’t thrown many strikes,” the manager said.
Corbin threw just 58% of his pitches for strikes in the first two outings (down from 65% overall in 2020’s 60-game campaign, and 62% in his first full season in D.C. in 2019).
So what was the focus in his between-starts work?
“We worked a lot on his mechanics, on balance, so hopefully he goes out there today and he’s able to throw strike one. The biggest thing with him is strike one. But I’ve got all the confidence in the world that he’s going to do what he can to help us win the game today.
“You’ve got to remember, here’s a guy that in ‘19 was a huge part of our success. So I do believe that he’s going to come back and pitch the way Pat Corbin pitches.”
As they tried to get Corbin on track, Martinez said, he had some advice for the 31-year-old southpaw.
“All his pitches have been up,” Martinez said, while demonstrating how throwing changeups alters where your arm ends up mechanically versus other pitches, so he told him to just use his fastball and slider in the bullpen session.
“I told him, the last bullpen I wanted him to focus on getting the ball down,” Martinez said.
“Throwing his two-seamer down, throwing his slider down, and don’t worry about throwing changeups in the bullpen, and he did that, and the ball was coming out better, the ball was down where he liked it and his slider was a lot sharper.”
Corbin tossed six scoreless, giving up just four hits in a 76-pitch effort in what ended up a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Corbin, as I said earlier, this is Pat Corbin right now,” Martinez told reporters after the win.
“He threw the ball really well,” the manager added, “so moving forward it was good to see.
“Now I think he can settle down. He knows who he is, and he goes forward and he pitches the way he’s capable of pitching.”
Harper’s Bizarre Two Days:
Ryne Harper was called up this week to help out in the bullpen, and the right-hander tossed three innings and 44 pitches in two outings in consecutive days, giving up a run on two hits in his appearances, and though he impressed, he was not going to be used for a third day in a row, so the Nationals reached down for right-hander Steven Fuentes, who’s stretched out as a starter and could give them some length if it’s needed.
But what’s the message for Harper, a reporter wondered, “You did well, but we need a fresh arm?”
“Just like that,” Martinez told the reporters. “You did a good job. Obviously, he understands.
“This is part of the game. It really stinks.
“But when you’re using your bullpen the way we’re using it right now, we’ve got to get some fresh arms in here and we got to keep guys healthy.
“That’s huge, as you can see, so it’s not — I’m sure that you’ll see Ryne Harper again, but we’ve got to bring somebody in that can give us some length.”
Starting Rotation Talk:
With four days off in the next three weeks, starting with tomorrow’s travel day, the Nationals, who’ve taxed their bullpen as they’ve struggled to get length out of their starters, have been talking about potentially mixing things up in the rotation, and discussing if they can get by with four arms as they wait to see what’s going on with Stephen Strasburg (inflammation in his right shoulder), and while they wait for Jon Lester to ramp up after time off for surgery and to go in quarantine after he went on the COVID-IL before Opening Day.
Paolo Espino filled in for Strasburg when the ‘09 No. 1 overall pick was scratched on Sunday afternoon. Will Espino get another turn in the rotation?
“With all the days off,” Martinez said, “[Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey and I, we’ve been jotting things down of how this rotation will look ... so we haven’t come up with anything definitive yet, we’ll wait till tomorrow.
“But we’ve been working on different things the last couple days. So we’ll have some kind of rotation, if not — we’ll know who’s going to pitch on Friday, tomorrow, [Thursday].”
Seth Romero Injured:
Seth Romero, the Nationals’ 25-year-old, 2017 1st Round pick, who had Tommy John surgery in 2018, missed all of 2019, and debuted in the majors in 2020’s 60-game COVID campaign, before breaking his hand in an unexplained fall away from the field, was working out at the Nationals’ Alternate Training Site in Fredericksburg, VA since Spring Training ended, but he has apparently been shut down with another injury.
“Seth is hurt,” Martinez told reporters before last night’s game. “He threw a pitch, he hurt his — actually he hurt his ribs. So, he’s not throwing the ball right now, he’s going to be day-to-day. He’s going to be out for a while. So as soon as we can get him healthy, he’ll be back on the mound.”
Asked when the rib injury happened, the skipper said, “It happened about a week ago.”