In his previous three outings before last night’s start in New York’s Yankee Stadium, after a brutal (12 hits, seven walks, 16 runs, 15 ER over 6 1⁄3 innings pitched brutal) couple starts to begin the season, Patrick Corbin had been much better on the mound, with a 3.18 ERA, a .246/.319/.459 line against, 15 hits, seven walks, and six runs (all earned) allowed over 17 IP.
Corbin, 31, earned his first win of the season in his last start before taking on the New York Yankees on Friday in the Bronx, giving up four hits, four walks, and just two runs total over seven innings on the mound against Miami in D.C.
“It was a good step in the right direction today,” Corbin said of his outing versus the Marlins, “... just try to continue to get better and get better as this season goes.”
Corbin gave up seven homers in his first five starts this season, and last night in NY, where the Nationals took on the Yankees in the first game of a three-game series, Corbin got got twice in the first two innings, with DJ LeMahieu and Gary Sanchez both hitting homers off him.
LeMahieu, who came into the game 18 for 51 with four HRs off Corbin in their respective careers, got the southpaw again in the sixth connecting for his third hit and second HR, tying it up at 3-3 in what ended up being the starter’s final inning of work for the night in what ended up an 11-4 win in which he earned his second straight W.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 3 HRs, 81 P, 48 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Was he able to shrug off the LeMahieu homers to right, knowing where he was pitching, and take the positives out of his start, especially the fact that outside of his arch nemesis’s three hits, he just gave up one other, though it was Sanchez’s home run.
“Yeah, I mean I felt pretty good overall,” Corbin said after the game. “To come in here and just give up a couple solo home runs, keep us in the game, against this lineup is ... yeah, it’s tough here, the shorter porch there in right, but that’s what [LeMahieu’s] swing — I mean, that’s where he’s best at. So, got to see him a lot when he was with the Rockies and he goes the other way, got them up in the air a little bit, they happened to get out, so just a little frustrating, but it was good to see the offense break it open there late in the game.”
“I thought he pitched really well,” manager Davey Martinez said.
“This is Yankee Stadium and we know that. He gave up two home runs to right field, any other place they’re basically two outs, really, and then the ball that Sanchez hit, was just a mistake ball that, it was down, he wanted to bounce the ball, just didn’t get it down enough, but he threw the ball really well. He kept us in the ballgame and that’s all you can ask.”
“I agree,” Corbin said when informed of his manager’s comments on the pitch to Sanchez in particular. “I think that was the worst pitch of the night there. Just knowing going in that’s a pitch that he handles and he hits well, was trying to bounce it there. It was at the bottom of the zone, but I threw a fastball right there, pretty much right there, the pitch before, so I was ahead of him, I was definitely trying to expand with that and it wasn’t in the best spot and he put a good swing on it.”
Does he feel like he’s getting to where he wants to be after the shaky start to his third year in the nation’s capital?
“I think so,” Corbin said. “Physically I feel great. Thought my fastball was good today. I think that’s just going to continue to improve.
“And I think the slider is going to get better and better as it goes here, starts warming up and things like that.
“I feel good. In a good position here. And just like I said I think last time, just want to keep this going and try to improve, get better, and build up everything as this season goes.”