Patrick Corbin’s eight-inning, 113-pitch outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 28th, which saw him match a career high in strikeouts, with 12 from 31 hitters faced, was one of the rare starts in the last three years when everything was working for the 32-year-old left-hander.
“Tonight he was good with everything,” manager Davey Martinez said after the Nationals’ 3-1 win over the Bucs.
“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.”
Pitcher wins are whatever, but Corbin earned his third in five starts in the outing, after he won one in his first eleven turns in Washington’s rotation this season.
“I know he’s struggled,” Martinez added, “... but I really believe that he’s got the stuff to continue to be really good and you saw it today.”
“Patrick — we’ve been encouraged by [the fact] his velocity is about at his ‘18-’19 norms,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies earlier this month after Corbin’s 16th appearance of the year.
“His breaking ball last night was as good as I’ve seen it for a long time. He was averaging about 83 MPH on his slider, which is a big pitch for him obviously, but his secret is he’s got to be aggressive, and work the inner half of the plate, and use your fastball effectively to set up your breaking pitches, which is his wipeout pitch, and he did it yesterday. He moved the ball in and out, up and down, his fastball — he was touching 95-96 on his 103rd pitch of the night, and like I said, his velocity had good power, depth, and spin to it. It was one of those nights he had it all going.”
Corbin followed up on the outing with seven strong against Miami on the 4th of July, giving up eight hits and one walk, but just one run in a 97-pitch outing against the Marlins.
Corbin got 15 swings on the 37 sliders he threw, and seven swinging strikes, and in a sinker-heavy outing (47%), he got 13 called strikes overall, seven with the sinker, five with his slider, and one with his four-seamer.
It was another solid outing for the 10-year veteran.
“Like I’ve said, I’ve felt good even before this, even the couple before,” Corbin said after the game on Monday, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“I’m more looking at how the ball’s coming out, how my pitches are moving, a little bit more than results. Obviously you want results, but sometimes it doesn’t happen.”
“He’s been attacking the strike zone, and I talked a lot about his slider, and it looks like his fastball coming in,” Martinez said.
“So it’s been very effective. I think today maybe he only threw two or three changeups [ed. note - “It was 4.”], which, after the game we talked, he said, ‘I didn’t feel like I had to throw many changeups today,’ and I said, ‘Well, when you’re slider’s like that, and you’re throwing the fastball like that, yeah, that’s great.’
“Early on in the game they were trying to ambush him because they know he’s going to be around the plate, but he handled himself really well, like I said, and he gave us seven strong innings. He had 97 pitches I think when I took him out, and part of that is he has no rest between his next start. Start before that he had 113, but he’s pitching really well.”