Patrick Corbin gave up five hits, two walks, and two runs when he faced the New York Mets on Opening Day in D.C. back on April 7th, taking the loss in what ended up a 5-1 game, and heading into his second start against the Nationals’ divisional rivals, who currently lead the NL East, the 32-year-old lefty was (0-5) overall in six starts with a 7.16 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 13 walks, 26 Ks, and a .308/.385/.442 line against in 27 2⁄3 IP.
His outing against the Colorado Rockies last week in Coors Field (8.0 IP, CG, 9 H, 5 R, 3 ER) was Corbin’s third of the year with Riley Adams behind the plate, and it left him with a 3.26 ERA and a .211/.268/.303 line against in 19 1⁄3 IP working with Adams this season, versus a 16.20 ERA and a .477/.566/.682 line against in three starts and 8 1⁄3 IP working with Keibert Ruiz.
Nats’ manager Davey Martinez took note of those numbers and talked in Denver about why he thought Corbin and Adams were working so well together early this season.
“I think Riley gives him a bigger target, he’s just a big guy, but they communicate, they come in after every inning, they talk, they’re sitting there and they’re watching videos,” Martinez said.
“They work really good together,” the skipper explained when asked if they might be continue to work together in Corbin’s starts. “We’ll see — like I said, in five days we’ll look at everything, but I like what Riley is doing with Patrick right now.”
Five days later, Martinez penciled Adams into the lineup again with Corbin starting the first of three with the Mets in D.C.
“My biggest concern with Riley catching Corbin at first, was the fact that [Corbin] throws so many sliders in the dirt,” the fifth-year manager said, “and Riley, knock on wood, he’s done really well handling that, and also working with [Corbin] calling games, so it’s been good, and Corbin has pitched — this is about Corbin, he’s pitched good, but we’ll keep it like this for now. That doesn’t mean — I absolutely believe that Keibert couldn’t catch Corbin as well, but we’ve had some success with those two the last few times out, so we’ll keep it the same.”
“They’ll go out today, and they’ll have a meeting with [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey right now, and talk about what they want to do and how they want to attack the zone,” Martinez added in his pregame press conference yesterday.
“Corbin has a great plan, because he’s faced these guys so many times, but Riley might see things a little bit differently, so he’ll speak in these meetings, and then they’ll go out there and they’ll work together. But it’s all what they do and what they talk about. If Riley deems that maybe his two-seamer is not effective, they’ll do something else.
“But the thing I like about Riley is that during every inning, in-between innings, he’s sitting there talking to Patrick and trying to figure out how they’re going to get the first guy out, and then go from there. They’ve worked really good together, so I’m really excited to watch them work again today.”
They worked well together again. Corbin tossed five scoreless on 86 pitches, holding Mets’ hitters to three hits, and giving up four walks, but stranding every runner that reached base through five innings, in which he struck out five of the 21 batters he faced.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 86 P, 51 S, 2/4 GO/FO.
“I love what they’re doing,” Martinez told reporters after what ended up a 4-2 loss to the Mets in which Corbin received no decision. “Riley has really — has taken charge with him, and I’ve seen them both on the bench again talking through some different sequences, some different pitches, how they want to attack certain hitters the next time through, so they’re working good together, and I like it.”
Martinez pulled Corbin after five innings because he had a lot of traffic and high-leverage spots while on the mound.
“I talked to Corbin after the fifth inning — man, he had a lot of high-leverage innings there, got out of a lot of jams, and he threw the ball well, he just — he walked a lot guys. I talked to him in the fifth inning, and he was honest, he said he got a little fatigued, and reason being he threw 85 pitches in five innings, and like I said he worked through a lot of different situations, but overall I thought — forget about the walks, his slider was good again, his two-seamer was good again. I think he’s in a good spot. So, that’s good. He’s had a lot of work over the last three starts, 90, 94, and today was 85 [pitches] in five, so hopefully in the next five days he comes out — and he gets a little rest here — and next five days comes out and he keeps us in the game like he did today.”