Patrick Corbin, looking to bounce back from back-to-back down years in 2020-21, got off to a good start in his 2022 debut, throwing four scoreless on Opening Day in D.C. last week.
It went a bit pear-shaped for him in the fifth, however, and he ended up being charged with two runs overall in 4+ innings in which he gave up five hits total and two free passes.
“I loved it,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters when asked to assess Corbin’s start following the 5-1 loss to the New York Mets in the season opener.
“I loved it. I mean, he utilized all his pitches. He threw some really good changeups, which is something that he really wanted to do this year, he threw some good ones, and like I said, just one inning — it all started with the bunt, and then the walk, and then a hit batsmen.”
There was actually a bunt single, a walk, and a single to center in quick succession, before the HBP forced in the only run that scored with Corbin on the mound, and one of the men he left on came around with Victor Arano on the mound.
Though he’d have liked to have gotten through the fifth, the veteran southpaw was pleased with his outing overall.
“I felt pretty good the whole game,” Corbin said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the game.
“I thought the fastball command was good. I was able to mix it up.
Just in that fifth (inning) there, frustrated with the walk to get a couple guys on. That got the pitch count up there and kind of got me into a jam.”
At the end of a long day, with the pomp and circumstance of the season-opener, Martinez made the decision to pull Corbin when he did rather than waiting to see if he could maybe get himself out of trouble.
“We talked about that before the game, you know, we’ll see how he felt, but like I said, when he first started the game he looked really good,” he explained, “... so I was happy about that, so now it’s just about getting him back out there in five days and see how he reacts after this.
“He was mad about the walk and then the hit batsmen, but like I said, it’s one game, there is plenty of baseball left.”
Corbin took the mound for start No. 2 of 2022 in Atlanta’s Truist Park on Tuesday and the 32-year-old lefty struggled.
He gave up nine hits, two walks, and six runs, five earned, before he was done for the night, having thrown 83 pitches, with the Braves up 6-1 in the third inning in what ended up a 16-4 loss.
Corbin struggled to pinpoint where things went wrong too, or how it differed from his first start of the season.
“I felt pretty good,” Corbin told reporters in Atlanta after the game. “I just — I don’t know if there’s one thing that I can think of. It’s been frustrating, obviously, I thought I made some decent pitches there, and kind of got the pitch count up early, a couple of mistakes later in the second, later in the third, but just try to learn from this and try to come back my next one and be better.”
“I thought command was okay,” he added. “Just looking back on some things, maybe pitch selection could be something, but like I said, I feel pretty good, just, I don’t know, I maybe have to try to look at this again tomorrow, but I’m not quite sure.”
His manager had some thoughts on where Corbin’s focus should be before start No. 3.
“He fell behind, and when he did get ahead, it was 2-2, 3-2, he missed some locations, an error cost him a couple runs there, but we got to get him back to where he was in the first game,” Martinez said.
“But it was a rough day all the way around. We made some errors, made some mistakes, so it’s a quick turnaround tomorrow, so we’ll come back tomorrow and try to win a series.”
The plan for Corbin going forward?
“We got to get him back to — like I said — the first start was really good for the first four innings, so we got to get him back to that and not try to — for me it was more from trying to miss bats, just we got to get him back in the zone and get the ball down, down and away, the slider’s got to be more for strikes, strikes to balls, than balls out of the hand. So we’ll work on that this week and hopefully in five days he comes back and gives us five, six innings.”