Patrick Corbin worked around two hits in four scoreless innings when he went up against the Houston Astros last time out before Saturday’s start in Milwaukee, and he was efficient as well, throwing 47 pitches in those first four frames.
But he gave up a one-out walk in the fifth, then a two-run home run, and he gave up a solo shot in the sixth, and a walk and home run in the seventh.
“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.”
“He was good earlier,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters after what ended up an 8-0 loss. “Kept the ball down like we talked about. 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.”
Though Martinez talked often recently about liking how Corbin and catcher Riley Adams were working together, with the lefty posting a 3.56 ERA and .214/.287/.350 line against with Adams behind the plate in five games and 30 1⁄3 innings pitched, as opposed to his 16.20 ERA (15 ER, on 21 hits) and .477/.566/.682 line against in three starts and 8 1⁄3 IP in outings with No. 1 catcher Keibert Ruiz behind the dish, Ruiz got the start with the skipper explaining the decision by saying he wanted the offensive boost Ruiz could provide with a lack of runs an issue for the club.
This time out for Corbin, it didn’t start well.
A leadoff home run by Andrew McCutchen on the first pitch he threw, back-to-back singles, by Luis Urías and Christian Yelich, and a sacrifice fly by Hunter Renfroe put Corbin and the Nationals in a 2-0 hole early in the second of three with the Brewers on the road in Milwaukee’s American Family Field, but he retired 12 of the next 13 hitters he faced, before giving up a 2-out solo home run by Urías in the fifth. Then a pair of singles (by Yelich and Renfroe) and a walk (to Mike Brosseau) loaded the bases, before a two-run single by Keston Hiura put the home team up 5-1. Corbin finished the fifth, but was done for the night at that point.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 79 P, 52 S, 9/2 GO/FO.
“Yeah, I mean, they came out swinging,” Corbin said after the Nats’ 5-1 loss.
“I mean, obviously the first pitch of the game, second pitch, and then Yelich’s ball, ground ball there, trying to get a double play, and then they got a couple runs, but still felt good even after that, and even there in the last inning.
“Other than the first-pitch homer there, thought I made some good pitches, just the ground balls weren’t at our guys, you know.”
Corbin did generate 14 ground balls, the second-most in a start this season for the lefty, but just nine ground ball outs, and the Brewers were aggressive against him as he pounded the zone (52 of 79 pitches, 66% strike%) to try to get ahead.
“They were really aggressive,” Corbin said. “I’m trying to attack the zone and get in good counts like that, and yesterday they weren’t swinging as much and kind of a veteran team over there, and today they had a different game plan, but I feel like I say this a lot, you look up there and I gave up five, and the box score looks bad, but I felt good, I feel like I pitched better than the outcome.”
At some point, of course, Corbin and the Nationals are hoping he starts to get results which match how he feels on the mound.
“I thought he threw the ball well,” Martinez told reporters in Milwaukee.
“He made his pitches, a couple ground balls, the line doesn’t look good, but he attacked the zone, you know, got some weak contact, and all of a sudden next thing you know he’s out of the game with five runs, which is frustrating. I know he’s frustrated because he felt like he threw the ball okay, he made some really good pitches, and I said, ‘Hey, look, you’ve got to stay right. The offense will pick you up, so keep battling.”
“It’s been tough for sure,” Corbin added. “I’ve been dealing with it for a while now, but you just got to come in and keep trying to prepare for the next one. I mean, it’s a long season, I know where I’ve been, so — but I do feel good, we’ve had some good results, and just got to continue to go make pitches.”