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Washington Nationals’ search for 2018-19 Patrick Corbin continues...

We’ve seen glimpses of the good Patrick Corbin in recent weeks, but the last two times out he’s struggled again...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A 2009 2nd Round pick by the Los Angeles Angels, who was traded to Arizona in a five-player deal which sent Dan Haren from the D-backs to LA in 2010, Patrick Corbin pitched for the Diamondbacks for six seasons between 2012-18, before signing his six-year/$140M free agent deal with Washington in 2018-19.

In four years with the Nationals, Corbin, who helped the club with the World Series in the first season of his contract, has put up a 4.73 ERA and a 4.40 FIP in 94 starts and 539 IP.

The southpaw put up solid numbers in 2019, (3.25 ERA, 3.49 FIP), but the last three years have been a struggle, with Corbin (15-35) in 61 outings, over which he’s put up a 5.61 ERA, and a 4.94 FIP in 337 IP.

Corbin showed signs of improvement in the last month-plus, but he finished the first-half of his fourth season in D.C. with a tough outing, giving up nine hits, two walks, and six runs, of which five were earned.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

“He did have eight strikeouts, but he did fall behind quite a bit,” manager Davey Martinez said after an 8-4 loss to Atlanta.

“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 ... some of the balls were up that were home runs, so tough day.”

Corbin tossed two scoreless innings to start Friday’s game, in the so-called “second-half” opener, on 34 pitches, but he gave up three straight one-out singles and a three-run home run in the third, with Geraldo Perdomo, Carson Kelly, and Jordan Luplow all connecting for the hits, with Luplow’s driving Perdomo in, 1-0, before Ketel Marte hit a 1-1 change low and away 423 feet to center field in Chase Field to make it a 4-0 game.

Daulton Varsho hit a one-out single off the Nats’ starter in the home-half of the fourth, and scored on a two-out single by Carson Kelly, who was 3 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI after the hit, with the score 5-0 D-backs in what ended up a 10-1 win.

Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 99 P, 64 S, 5/3 GO/FO.

Corbin did generate 14 swinging strikes, eight with his slider, and he got 16 called strikes, 10 with his sinker, and he said he once again felt good on the mound even if the results weren’t there once again.

“I feel the ball’s coming out alright,” Corbin said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the loss. “I just haven’t been getting any results.”

“I’m still trying to figure out how Marte hit that changeup off the plate,” Corbin said. “How he still got that much pop on it. Just a frustrating day for all of us here. It didn’t seem like anything was working.”

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images

“I thought Corbin was going to have a good outing,” Martinez said. “He had just one bad inning. I thought the pitch he threw to Marte wasn’t really a bad pitch. I looked at it. It was a changeup down, down and away, and he hit that ball pretty good though. But you know, like I said, all of a sudden a couple base hits, the ball got up on him. I know we were trying to go down, but when his ball gets up it flattens out a little bit, and the two-seamer just stays flat. When he’s really good, like I said, everything is down, slider works better that way. We got a couple balls up today and got hit.”

He did have a decent stretch of starts late in the first half, but it was more of the same we’ve seen from Corbin when he’s struggling, and searching, on Friday night.

“We got to stay positive with him,” the fifth-year skipper said. “He’s had some really good outings, and today, the balls that got hit hard, the balls were just up in the zone, except for one, one we thought was a really good pitch, but Marte got extended on it, and hit a down and away changeup to center field. But he’s got to — like I said, when he’s really good, his two-seamer is working down in the zone, and his slider plays off of that.”