Corbin and Adams:
Patrick Corbin’s five scoreless innings on the mound in last week’s 4-2 loss to the New York Mets in the nation’s capital left him with a 2.59 ERA and a .204/.282/.280 line against in four starts and 28 1⁄3 IP on the season when working with Riley Adams, the Washington Nationals’ No. 2 catcher.
“I love what they’re doing,” Martinez told reporters in discussing pairing the two up since Corbin had shown positive signs working with Adams.
“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.”
He’s liked it enough to keep sending Adams out there when it’s Corbin’s turn in the rotation, including this afternoon, and the pairing continued to work early, with the lefty completing four scoreless on 47 pitches to start the series finale with the Houston Astros this afternoon.
Corbin issued his first walk of the game to Astros’ right fielder Chas McCormick with one out in the top of the fifth, and Martin Maldonado stepped in next (after a close call at 2nd, when Corbin picked McCormick off, but Josh Bell threw wide to second, and a review of the play showed McCormick got back to the bag before he was tagged, or at least didn’t show enough to overturn it), and hit a 2-run home run to left field on a center-cut, 1-1 sinker that cleared the visitor’s bullpen, 2-0.
Yuli Gurriel hit a two-out, two-strike solo shot to left field on a 2-2 slider down in the zone in the sixth, extending the Astros’ lead to 3-0.
Corbin returned to the mound in the seventh, with just 78 pitches on his arm, but he gave up a leadoff walk to Jose Siri and a two-run shot to left by Chas McCormick which put the Astros up 5-0.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 3 HRs, 86 P, 54 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
Verlander in D.C.:
Justin Verlander made just one start in 2020’s 60-game COVID campaign, and the 39-year-old future Hall of Fame starter underwent Tommy John surgery that summer, and then the right-hander missed all of 2021 as he recovered, but he’s back on the mound now, and he’s been dominant.
Going into today’s game, Verlander had a 1.55 ERA, a 3.51 FIP, six walks, 36 strikeouts, and a .150/.192/.248 line against in six starts and 40 2⁄3 IP on the year.
“He’s one of the best,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters before today’s game, “... and it’s a testament to how hard he worked to get back. This guy, over the years, he’s been a bulldog and we know that and he’s a competitor and he wants to compete and he wants to win games, so we just got to go out there and get the ball in the strike zone, really. He knows how to pitch, and he’s going to challenge you, so we got to get him in the strike zone and just try to hit the ball hard somewhere. Don’t care where it goes, but just try to hit the ball hard. But when you get a guy like that, as we always talked about with Max [Scherzer], you know what you’re up against, so these guys got to be aggressive early in the strike zone, because if he gets ahead he’s tough. Really tough. He’s tough enough, but if he’s 0-2 it’s going to be even tougher.”
Justin Verlander, Painted 79mph Curveball. ️— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 15, 2022
5th K pic.twitter.com/Lggs9v17fW
Verlander was wild early this afternoon, walking two in the first, before he stranded both, and he issued his third walk (tying a season-high) in the third, but stranded that one too, finishing up three scoreless at 68 pitches overall, without a hit allowed through the first three.
A quick, 14-pitch fourth left Verlander at 82 pitches in four hitless, and he took the mound in the bottom of the fifth with a 2-0 lead, and finally gave up a hit, with Riley Adams singling to left with one down. Alcides Escobar followed with the second hit of the game one out later, hitting a line drive to short that hit off shortstop Aledmys Diaz’s glove.
Justin Verlander, Curveball...Painting the upper part of the zone (allegedly) pic.twitter.com/trhJIpkhDQ— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 15, 2022
César Hernández hit a pop fly to foul territory off third, where Alex Bregman caught out No. 2, bringing Juan Soto up with two on and two out, but a groundout to first ended the Astros’ starter’s fifth scoreless frame.
Justin Verlander’s Line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 107 P, 64 S, 5/1 GO/FO.
Rafael Montero took over on the mound for the Astros in the 6th, with the visitors up 3-0 on the Nationals in the nation’s capital, and the hard-throwing right-hander worked around a 2-out single by Yadiel Hernández for a scoreless frame.
Austin Voth took over for the Nationals in the seventh, and gave up three straight singles and a bases-loaded walk that forced in the Astros’ sixth run of the game, 6-0. Run No. 7 scored on double play grounder, 7-0.
Kyle Finnegan worked around a walk for a scoreless top of the eighth.
Paolo Espino got the ball in the top of the ninth and started Jose Altuve off with a first-pitch slider up high that Altuve hit out to left field, 8-0 Astros. Altuve’s 7th of 2022.
Nationals now 12-24