Baltimore Orioles’ hitters fouled off 30 of Patrick Corbin’s 83 pitches in a four-inning outing on the road in Oriole Park at Camden Yards last week, knocking the Washington Nationals’ starter out of the game after four innings in which he gave up seven hits (two homers), one walk, and three earned runs.
“They did foul off a lot; I’m not quite sure why that was the case,” Corbin said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after a 7-0 loss to the O’s.
“I thought we made some good pitches, and they fought it off. They came out swinging; they swung a lot, even when we got ahead, and they continued to foul off some pitches.”
Orioles’ hitters also swung at 55 of his 83 pitches in that game (66%).
“Just a strange game,” Corbin added.
The loss in the outing left Corbin (3-10) in 15 starts this season with a 6.60 ERA, a 4.98 FIP, 28 walks, 63 Ks, and a .322/.380/.526 line against in 73 2⁄3 IP.
So, given all the above, Corbin’s eight-inning, 113-pitch, 12-strikeout start against Pittsburgh last night in the Nationals’ 3-1 win over the Pirates, was a pleasant surprise. But a surprise.
Corbin finished the night with 19 swinging strikes (14 with his slider), 25 called strikes (with 11 on his slider, 10 with his four-seamer, four with his sinker) and after the Orioles fouled off 30 of 83 total pitches the last time out, Pirates’ hitters fouled off just 11 of 113.
He did give up a game-tying two-out home run in the top of the sixth, after he’d made a 1-0 lead hold up to that point.
Corbin returned to the mound in the seventh and retired the Bucs in order in a nine-pitch frame which left him at 99 total, with nine Ks from 28 batters faced, and his manager sent him back out for the eighth and struck out the side in a 14-pitch frame. His 12 strikeouts in the outing tied his career high for Ks (set in 2018, when he did it twice, once against LA’s Dodgers, and once against the ‘18 Pirates).
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 Ks, 1 HR, 113 P, 73 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
“He was good,” manager Davey Martinez said after the Nationals’ 3-1 win over the Pirates.
“I — we keep going back to like his previous outings, and he’s just been getting better and better. We haven’t scored for him, but tonight he was good with everything. I mean, his fastball was electric, his slider was awesome, he worked ahead of counts. He only fell behind, he threw one ball up for the home run, but other than that he was money all day. So, if we get that every five days from Corbin we’re going to be good.”
“I’ve been feeling really good, and the results haven’t ... some ups and downs,” Corbin said, as quoted, again, by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman:
“But I felt today I was able to stay on the attack, use both sides of the plate. ... Just one of those nights where it seemed everything was clicking. And it just shows all the work we’ve been doing to try to get to this point.”
Martinez has remained positive publicly about Corbin, and trusted him to try to figure this stuff out along with the Nationals’ coaching staff, and he showed last night he can still put together these kinds of outings.
“Hey, he’s been one of the guys since he’s been here,” Martinez said, “and I always felt that way no matter what kind of outing he has. Without him we wouldn’t have done what we done in ‘19. I know he’s struggled, but I really believe that he’s got the stuff to continue to be really good and you saw it today.”