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Patrick Corbin starts strong, falters later in 8-0 Nationals’ loss to Astros in D.C.

Patrick Corbin kept the ball down for most of his outing, but a few pitches left up were hit hard...

Houston Astros v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Patrick Corbin walked four batters in five scoreless innings on the mound against the New York Mets last week, in an 86-pitch outing at home in D.C. in which he struck out five of 21 hitters he faced.

“I think Patrick was kind of vintage Corbin — two-seam fastballs down instead of the four-seamers up, and induced a lot of ground balls and a lot of weak contact, and like he did the last couple of starts, he got some early swings and early contact,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies the morning after Corbin’s 7th turn in the rotation.

“Man, he had a lot of high-leverage innings there. He got into a lot of jams,” manager Davey Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after the Nats’ 4-2 loss in that game.

“And he threw the ball well. He just walked a lot of guys. I talked to him in the fifth inning, and he was honest: He got a little fatigued.

“Reason being, he threw (86) pitches in five innings. He worked through a lot of different situations.”

The start against the Mets left Corbin with a 2.37 ERA, a 2.54 FIP, six walks, and 16 Ks in a three-start stretch going into Sunday’s series finale with the Houston Astros, over which he’d held opposing hitters to a .216/.284/.311 line in 19 IP, after he posted an 11.20 ERA, a 4.51 FIP, 11 walks, 15 Ks, and a .381/.480/.524 line against in his first four starts and 13 23 inning on the mound this season.

The difference recently, it would seem, has been Corbin’s connection with backup catcher Riley Adams, with whom he had a 2.59 ERA and a .204/.282/.280 line against in four starts and 24 13 IP, as opposed to his 16.20 ERA (15 ER in 8 13 IP) and .477/.566/.682 line against in his three starts working with the Nats’ No. 1 catcher Keibert Ruiz.

“I love what they’re doing,” manager Davey Martinez said after Corbin’s five scoreless on the mound working with Adams against the Mets.

“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.”

Corbin was up to 13.0 consecutive scoreless innings working with Adams after he finished up four scoreless against the Houston Astros yesterday in the nation’s capital, but he gave up a one-out walk in the fifth, and after a botched pick attempt put the runner on second, he gave up a two-run home run on a 1-1 fastball down the middle to Martin Maldonado that cleared the visitor’s bullpen in left and put the ‘Stros up 2-0 in the series finale.

Corbin gave up a solo shot by Yuli Gurriel in the top of the sixth, but was up to just 78 total pitches on the day, so he returned to the mound in the seventh and gave up a leadoff walk and a two-run home run which put the Astros up 5-0 and ended the left-hander’s outing in what ended up an 8-0 loss.

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.

“He was good earlier. Kept the ball down like we talked about,” Martinez said. “The biggest thing was the walk in that one inning, and the one pitch right down the middle, home run, and then after that everything just got up on him, but early on in the game he was pitching really well.”

“The results ended up not being in my favor, but I felt really good,” Corbin said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “I’m just happy the way I felt, but tough to give up the couple of home runs there. But I felt good.”

His manager said there were positives to pull from Corbin’s outing, in which he did pick up 10 swinging and 11 called strikes in a fastball-heavy outing in which he leaned on his sinker (33%) and four-seamer (31%) while throwing his slider 20% of the time and changeup 16%.

“He was pitching to contact, his pitch count was down, everything was working, like I said,” Martinez added, “... everything was down in the zone. Made some really good pitches. So, once again you know he did well, and they scored the two runs, we’re down three runs, we thought we could get him through the seventh inning, which would have been great. It just didn’t happen.”