Yes, Patrick Corbin did give up six hits and four runs on three home runs in seven innings on the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital, which, yeah, not great, but there were also positive signs for the 32-year-old southpaw, who has struggled through another up-and down season in the third year of his 6-year/$140M deal with Washington’s Nationals.
“I watched Patrick Corbin pitch today, and take away the seventh inning, the line, I thought that’s the best he’s thrown the ball all year,” manager Davey Martinez said after the 5-4 loss last night.
“I mean, his slider was phenomenal, I mean, if he can continue to do that, we’re going to win some games behind him, that’s for sure.”
Corbin threw 37 sliders total (40% of his pitches), got 27 swings, and 13 swinging strikes (48%) with the pitch, to go along with 11 called strikes on his fastball, which got up to 96, and he threw an average of 93.7 MPH, up from an average up 92 MPH on the season.
Having his slider working, was a big deal for Corbin.
“That was a big — in-between my last one was trying to — I’ve kind of been trying to do it all year, trying to really get that slider back, and being able to locate it, get some swings and misses. Staying in my legs more, staying back, and try to repeat my delivery as much and not necessarily try to do more when I do throw a slider, and I think maybe that’s been causing me to be inconsistent this year. But I thought today was one of my better sliders that I had. I don’t know, it’s just been frustrating. I felt great today, it just seems the results still haven’t come, but just have to continue to keep going out there and I feel good, I feel like my stuff is good enough to go out there and compete and pitch in these games.”
“We talked about — I talked about it after the game with him a little bit,” Martinez said when asked what the lefty needs to do to be more consistent, “just about he didn’t try to do too much with his slider, just tried to throw it like his fastball, and I’m sitting there and talking to [fill-in pitching coach] Sam [Narron] and watching, and I said, ‘Hey, it’s coming out like a fastball, at the end it had that nice little depth to it, so I saw more swings and misses tonight than I’ve seen in a long time on his slider.”
And what’s behind Corbin’s sinker ticking up, velo-wise, in recent outings, and, as noted, getting up to 96 on Tuesday.
“I don’t know,” Corbin admitted. “I’ve been just talking to some guys here about just really getting in my legs more, and like I said, I feel like the ball is coming out pretty good, tonight was a good step with the slider, kind of wanted to throw the changeup tonight, but just the way the game was going, it was quick, just really didn’t see an opportunity for that tonight, but yeah, just arm feels good, body feels good, and I feel like if I’m touching 96, if I’m making some quality pitches, I know my stuff is going to play and just going to continue to work on that.”
He did, of course, give up the three home runs in the Nationals’ second straight loss to the Phillies, one by Jean Segura on the first pitch Corbin threw in the game, and then two in the seventh, with J.T. Realmuto hitting a 63 MPH, 0-1 curve to center field, and Ronald Torreyes hitting a first-pitch sinker out to center an at-bat after the Nationals’ starter issued his only walk of the night.
“He was throwing the ball pretty well, I think he just — he tried to throw one pitch, I thought he should have stuck with his slider,” Martinez told reporters, “like I said, his slider was really good today, I think he got away from that in the seventh inning, and just basically made two bad pitches, but the walk, also the walk was not good, and we always talk about walks, making guys hit the ball, but if you can see, if I go back, he got away from his slider a little bit, he tried to throw a get-me-over curveball to Realmuto and [Realmuto] stayed back and hit it for a home run, and then he got a fastball down the middle to Torreyes where he was able to hit it out of the ballpark.”
“Just threw up a slow breaking ball there,” Corbin said of the slow curve Realmuto hit out.
“J.T. put a good swing on it. Just frustrated with that walk there, and then tried to throwing a sinker down and away, just missed middle, that was probably the one pitch I’d like to have back, the first pitch for the two-run homer.”
As for that slow curve, according to Baseball Savant, it was just the second of his career that was hit out for a home run.
Phillies’ slugger Rhys Hoskins hit a 64 MPH middle-middle breaking ball out in 2020, but the curveball to Realmuto was down and away, just catching the bottom corner of the zone, but the Philly backstop managed to hit it out.
“I thought he put a pretty good swing on it, he stayed back,” Corbin said. “I mean, yeah, it was down and away, but I don’t know, you could second-guess any pitch, and even the first pitch of the game was a heater in that Segura ambushed me on, I mean, things like that happen, you make a decent pitch you still have some bad results, I’m sure I threw some other ones that I did get some outs on, but it’s something that I’ve had some success with, keep some guys off-balance, but tonight [Realmuto] just put a good swing on it.”