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Washington Nationals news & notes: Victor Robles - Good/Bad; Patrick Corbin; Luis García and his knee...

Highlights from Davey Martinez and Mike Rizzo’s media availability this week...

Good Robles vs Bad Robles:

Victor Robles made a fairly spectacular diving play in the outfield in Chicago’s Wrigley Field, robbing Cubs’ C/1B P.J. Higgins of extra bases with an all-out, full-extension catch in the fifth inning of the series finale on Wednesday which will end up on highlight reels for the Washington Nationals’ 2022 campaign.

In the seventh, however, Robles made a bad decision on a throw in from center field.

With Steve Cishek on the mound, and a runner on, Cishek walked Higgins, before giving up an RBI single by Nick Madrigal, on which Patrick Wisdom scored, and Robles airmailed a throw home when he had no shot at Wisdom, sending it over home and straight to the backstop, allowing both runners to advance with one out, in a 2-2 game, and a sac fly put the Cubs up for good in what ended up a 4-2 win for the home team.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

“We got to continue to stay on him,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after his club dropped 2 of 3 on the road in Wrigley. “Once he threw it, I watched his reaction, he knew that the ball should have been down. You’ve just got to understand that portion of the game, and that’s something that he needs to start learning. You can’t just come up there and fire the ball and hope that it’s going to go. You’ve got to have an idea. You’ve got to have a plan before you get — [before] the ball comes to you. But we’re going to grill him again about it. That, to me, is a big play right there.

“We keep the runners at first and second, other things could happen. But when you airmail a ball like that, and let the two runners advance to the next base. That was tough.”

Robles, 25, and in his sixth big league season, is still making mistakes they’ve been “grilling him about”, but he’s also capable of the spectacular plays he made earlier in Wednesday’s game.

“As we all know, he can be electric out there,” Martinez said. “But once again, it’s those little things, right? Understanding the game, and being in a position where in a situation like that, he knows what he needs to do before it happens. That’s the biggest thing: Think before the ball’s hit to you, and understand what you need to do if the ball’s hit to you.”

García Sits With Knee Soreness:

Luis García was originally penciled in as part of the Nationals’ lineup for the series finale in Wrigley Field, but the 22-year-old infielder was scratched late with a knee issue.

“He had a little soreness in his right knee,” manager Davey Martinez explained after the game, “so I didn’t want to take any chances. He got some treatment, he said he felt better throughout the game, so with the day off tomorrow we’ll see how he feels come Friday.”

Garcia has been on a nice run at the plate, going 16 for 52 (.308/.315/.500) over the last 14 games, with two doubles, a triple, and two home runs over that stretch.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Garcìa is set to make a move to second base when/if the Nationals bring up C.J. Abrams, the 21-year-old shortstop the club acquired from San Diego’s Padres in the Juan Soto/Josh Bell trade, who became the organization’s top-ranked player on Baseball America’s list of the Nats’ top prospects following the deal.

Martinez said he didn’t anticipate the knee issue for García leading to an IL stint.

“Right now, no,” Martinez said. “Like I said he felt a little better. I talked to our medical staff and they said it was a lot looser than it was before the game.”

Skipping Corbin’s Turn:

Through 23 starts, Patrick Corbin is (4-16) with a 7.02 ERA, 4.96 FIP, and a .331/.387/.533 line against in 110 1⁄3 IP, and he has two years left on his 6-year/$140M deal with the Nationals, so they’re determined to figure things out, but with the way things are going, and have gone in the last three seasons, since he helped the club win the World Series in the first year in D.C. in 2019, something needed to change.

“The numbers are up there,” Martinez acknowledged this week, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, when he spoke with reporters about Corbin’s ongoing struggles.

“But with that being said, we’ve really got to forget about the numbers and start fresh. For me, it’s about his next start and what he can do in his next start, and go from there. I don’t want him to regress and go back the other way. I want him to worry about going 1-0 in his next start, and build up from there.”

With that being said, the Nats did decide to skip what would have been his next start for the club this weekend.

“For me, it is a tough decision, because he’s very competitive. And he takes the ball every five days,” Martinez explained.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

“He’s trying to sort some things out, and some days he looks really, really good. And the last few outings, he couldn’t get out of the first inning.”

Corbin failed to get out of the first in two of his last three starts, which is obviously hurting the bullpen as well, so the Nationals are determined to find a fix, because he’s going to be part of things in D.C. going forward.

“Regardless of what anybody thinks,” Martinez said, “... he’s going to be one of our starters next year and the year after that. We’ve got to get him better.”

“I just think that it’s so difficult to work on things during the season because you’re always in constant preparation mode for you next start,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies in his weekly visit this past Wednesday. “But I think this will give him a little time to step back, we can really dive into the video and the film and give him a chance to do a little tweaking with our pitching people in a less-competitive venue where he can pitch in the bullpen and work on some things and try to tweak his delivery a little bit and get back on track where we need him to be.”