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Washington Nationals’ Patrick Corbin shows signs of life late in “first-half”, but ends with dud...

Patrick Corbin is still struggling, but he’s shown signs of life lately…

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Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

In spite of the overall results (8 H, 2 BB, 4 ER in 6.0 IP), Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said he liked what he saw from Patrick Corbin on the mound recently in Atlanta, Georgia’s Truist Park, in another solid outing for the southpaw who’s been searching for his 2018-2019 stuff the last few seasons and has finally put together a few starts in which he’s finally shown signs of improvement.

“I thought Corbin threw the ball really well again. Just a homer and an error got us today,” manager Davey Martinez said after a 4-3 loss to the Braves. “But he was really good again, which is what we love to see. I mean, he’s had some really good outings as of late, so we got to keep him right there.”

Since the start of June, Corbin, who had put up a 5.70 ERA, a 4.56 FIP, and a .310/.366/.494 line against in 18 starts and 94 23 IP, overall, had a 4.02 ERA, 4.62 FIP, and a .306/.341/.518 line against in seven starts and 40 13 IP going into his final start of the “first-half” of the 2022 campaign.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Facing off against the Braves for a second consecutive start, Corbin had a runner reach on a one-out error by Luis García in the first, and an RBI single and two-run home run followed to put the Braves up 3-0 early in the second game of the four-game set in Nationals Park, and a two-out rally in the second added a run to Atlanta’s lead, 4-0.

After two one-out singles around a walk in the fourth, and another run for the Braves, 5-0, Corbin was up to 87 pitches overall, and the southpaw came back out for the fifth, where Orlando Arcia hit Corbin’s 103rd pitch of the game 409 feet to left-center for a two-out HR, putting the Braves up 6-0 in what ended up an 8-4 game in Atlanta’s favor.

“Today, just Corbin fell behind a lot, got a couple balls up where they hit the home runs,” Martinez said in assessing Corbin’s outing after their 8-4 loss.

“He did have eight strikeouts, but he did fall behind quite a bit. He wasn’t the norm like he has been the last few starts where he was getting ahead and getting early contact. Today was a little different. He fell behind and like I said some of the balls were up that were home runs, so tough day, but got to come back tomorrow and battle back.”

Corbin did get 12 swinging strikes on the night, six with his slider, and 13 called strikes, seven with his sinker, but the Braves also fouled off 24 of 106 pitches overall to run his pitch count up, and the 33-year-old (as of July 19th) suggested familiarity might have played a role in his second start in a week against the Nats’ divisional rivals.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

“Obviously, they know us really well,” Corbin said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the game. “They’re in the division. We play them a lot. Back-to-back starts for me. They’re a good team, and sometimes it happens. You try to make your pitches, and it just doesn’t work out your way.”

“The first inning we made a couple errors,” Martinez added, “but I think, like I said, I think he was trying [for] a lot of swings and misses, the slider wasn’t quite what it was the last couple outings, and he fell behind, and then all of a sudden when he did get ahead he was always in 2-2, 3-2 counts, so just wasn’t his day today.”

NOTES: In the past few days, Corbin’s name has come up in connection with Juan Soto in some of the trade chatter out there after Soto reportedly rejected a 15-year/$440M offer, and the Nationals reportedly began considering the possibility of dealing their 23-year-old right fielder with two and a half years of team control remaining.

“The bidding will require financial flexibility, given the industry belief that any Soto deal will require eating contracts like that of Patrick Corbin,” The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote.

“In return for Soto, the Nationals want multiple major leaguers and top prospects but also to offload the bad contract of pitcher Patrick Corbin, according to sources,” former Nationals’ GM Jim Bowden wrote in another article at The Athletic.

Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty broke down the possibilities too: