Patrick Corbin has thrown 35.2% sliders this season, his go-to pitch, with 30.5% sinkers, and 26.5% four-seam fastballs, 6.1% changeups, and a couple curves (0.9%) and cutters (0.8%) in the mix.
This past Wednesday night in Petco Park, Corbin took the mound in the first with a 3-0 lead, struggled through a long first, giving up a two-out single and back-to-back walks before he got out No. 3 of a 25-pitch frame.
It was 7-0 when he came out with a scoreless second inning, 9-0 after he kept San Diego’s Padres off the board in the third, and 10-0 when he threw a scoreless 11-pitch fourth, which left him at 72 pitches total on the night in Petco Park.
Corbin gave up leadoff double and two-out RBI single in the fifth, and had another run score on a solo home run in the sixth, but that was all the starter allowed in six innings of work for the Nationals in what ended up a 15-5 win over the Padres.
“He had a good fastball today,” manager Davey Martinez said after the win. “I think he topped out at 95, so he threw the ball well.”
Corbin threw 47% sinkers in the outing, 24% four-seamers, 24% sliders, 5% changeups, and 1% curveballs.
With his sinker, he got just one swinging, but 14 called, strikes, averaging 92.4 MPH with the pitch and dialing it up to 95.6, after averaging 91.8 MPH with the pitch this season.
His four-seamer averaged 92.3 (up from 91.7 AVG), and got up to 95.2 MPH.
Working with a big lead, he was able to challenge hitters too, pounding the zone and doing his best to put up zeroes as the Nationals scored early and often.
“For any starting pitcher when you jump out like that and get a lead like that, you kind of relax and just go with the flow of the game and make pitches and pitch,” Martinez said.
“He did that tonight, like I said, his pitch count was a little high, but he gave us six innings and that’s what we needed.”
Corbin threw 106 pitches total, 61 in the first three innings, before he settled in and threw 45 in innings 4-6.
“Early on it was still kind of pitching the game plan that we had,” Corbin told reporters in his post game Zoom call from Petco Park. “Felt really good early on,” he added, “but the longer those games go, you’re up 10 runs there, you’re trying to work your way through that game, get as many outs as you can knowing the bullpen was a little beat up. So, it was good to get through six innings there. Our offense did a heck of a job there to put up a bunch of runs early.”
Corbin worked his way out of the jam in the first, with a weak roller to the left side and the two walks giving the Padres a chance to get back in the game after the Nationals jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
“I gave up that — I threw a good pitch inside, it was that slow roller up the third base line,” he explained, “and I think I was trying to be a little too perfect there to the next two guys. I don’t think I was missing by much, just like I said, trying to be too perfect, trying to get out of there, so try to maybe be just a little more aggressive would be the only thing different there.”
Even in a blowout win like last night’s, Corbin said, it’s important to stay focused and keep putting up zeroes, especially when the offense was producing early.
“Those shutdown innings are always important,” he said. “So I knew, we got three there in the first, I wanted to go out there and put up a zero.
“Kind of went a little bit longer than I wanted, could have been a quick inning there, walked a couple guys, but I thought after that just try to be aggressive against these guys, they do have some pop in that lineup.
“If you have free — or some walks to these guys, anybody can hit it out of the ballpark, so you always try to minimize that, so did a better job there after the first.”
Corbin wrapped up the first half of his third season in D.C. with a 5.40 ERA, 5.21 FIP, 31 walks (2.99 BB/9), 73 Ks (7.04 K/9), and a .275.334.473 line against in 17 starts and 93 1⁄3 IP.