FRONT PAGE - Corbin vs the Angels:
“Slider was good,” Davey Martinez said of Patrick Corbin’s work in his second outing of the 2023 campaign last week against Tampa Bay. “Changeup was good, fastball was down, in and out, but for the most part everything was down in the zone.”
“And when he does that he can pitch,” the manager added, “he can give us six innings, six strong innings.”
Corbin threw 48% sliders in the outing, which was up from 35% in his first start, 39% sinkers, down from 51%, and the veteran southpaw mixed in 10% changeups, and 3% four-seamers.
“I think overall, the slider was fairly good,” the lefty told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco after the outing.
“Got some swings and misses on it. Better command today than, I think, last game.”
Corbin generated 11 swinging strikes, 10 of them on his slider, and 14 called strikes, nine of them on his sinker in the start against the Rays.
Taking on the LA Angels last night in Anaheim, CA, Corbin started the first with a walk, then retired Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, but he gave up a pair of two-out hits, around another free pass, and the second of the two singles drove in two runs to put the home team up, 2-0 after one.
It was 2-1 after one and a half, and Corbin worked around two more singles in the bottom of the second, but Hunter Renfroe took the southpaw deep on a 3-1 sinker knee high and over the middle of the plate in the third. Renfroe hit it 400 feet to center in Angels Stadium, 3-1.
A one-out single by Luis Rengifo and RBI double by Gio Urshela added to the lead, 4-1 LAA after three.
The Nationals tied it in the fourth, however, with a two-out rally which featured a walk by Michael Chavis (on a pitch clock violation by LA lefty José Suarez) and singles by both Alex Call and Lane Thomas, 4-2, after which Jeimer Candelario hit a 2-run single to center that tied things up, 4-4.
Corbin worked around a two-out single in the Angels’ fourth, and the Nats took the lead in the top of the fifth with Keibert Ruiz doubling to start the frame, moving to third on a one-out single by Victor Robles, and scoring on a CJ Abrams’ grounder, 5-4.
A five-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth left Corbin at 86 pitches overall, and after retiring 8 of the last 9 batters he faced, the southpaw was done for the night.
He finished up with seven whiffs (4 on his slider) & 15 called strikes (9 on his sinker).
He threw 41% sinkers this time out and mixed in 34% sliders, 16% fastballs, and 9% changeups.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 86 P, 53 S, 9/1 GO/FO.
“Early on, I was just missing with some offspeed,” Corbin said after what ended up a 6-4 win in the series opener. “Got into some bad counts and there’s some good hitters over there, threw some fastballs in those counts that they got some hits on. The two walks in the first two was frustrating, but I think after that we got settled in, got ahead.
“That quick in the fifth was huge, and the bullpen came in, put up a bunch of zeroes, and the offense today put up enough runs, so just overall a great team win.”
Fill-in skipper Tim Bogar said he and the Nats’ pitching coach considered sending Corbin back out for the sixth after the quick fifth, but decided to go to the pen at that point.
“We talked about it,” Bogar explained. “I think it was one of those things where he had such a quick fifth inning. I think it was a five-pitch fifth inning, so Jim Hickey and myself we talked about maybe sending him back out there, but if I was going to run him back out there and then just take him out after one guy got on, then you’re bringing in a reliever without a clean inning and I just didn’t think it was the right thing to do. And Pat was good with it. I thought he did a real good job.
“I know first inning was a little bit rough, he walked two guys, kind of nibbling a little bit, but he kind of settled down down a little bit
“The fourth inning I thought was the big one, where he went through the top of their lineup. He got the three outs. He walked a guy that inning, but he got through Trout and Ohtani, so I thought he did a real good job.”
Mason Thompson and Hunter Harvey combined for a scoreless sixth inning, with Thompson recording the first two outs before Harvey came on to strike Mike Trout out with one on.
Bryan Harvey was an All-Star for the Angels in 1991.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 11, 2023
32 years later, his son Hunter Harvey entered the game against the Angels and struck out Mike Trout to protect a one-run lead.@Hunterharvey35 // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/1rOjLHrXbp
Dominic Smith singled to start the seventh, took second one out later, on a Michael Chavis’ hit, and kept running on a Victor Robles’ grounder to second, scoring when Robles beat a throw to first to avoid the double play, 6-4 Nats. Nice hustle, Dom.
Harvey struck out Shohei Ohtani, and got a double play after a one-out walk in the Angels’ seventh.
Carl Edwards, Jr. handled the eighth, retiring the side in order.
Kyle Finnegan took the mound with a two-run lead in the ninth and retired the side in order to end it.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t need that right there a little bit,” Finnegan, who’s struggled out of the gate this season, said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the game. “It’s a great confidence boost.”
Final Score: 6-4 Nationals.
BACK PAGE - Bogar Takes Over ... For One Night:
Tim Bogar filled in as the manager last night, with Davey Martinez reportedly under the weather, and the bench coach handled the skipper’s pregame commitments as well.
Bogar talked to reporters in Anaheim and offered his perspective on a number of topics.
Bogar, who managed 22 games for the Texas Rangers in 2014, started off talking about what he’s seen from the Nationals early this season, as they’ve struggled out of the gate, but tried to play clean, competitive baseball.
“I’m pretty proud of the way we go about it every day,” Bogar said. “I think the guys show up every day with a good mentality. They play hard. They play all nine innings. We’ve been in most of the games, and I think we’ve given ourselves opportunities to be successful. And that’s the best we can do.
“Just show up every day, and take care of business and put ourselves in a position to win, and we’ve done that quite a bit, even though it hasn’t ended that way for us a few times.”
Bogar also touched on the fact that the Nationals have been mixing it up with their lineup early this season, with injuries, matchups, and other factors determining who’s going out there on a daily basis, and in his opinion, he said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“I think having different lineups early in the season is actually a good thing,” he explained, as quoted on MASNSports.com.
“I think most teams go through it. They’re trying to get guys involved and keep them sharp early in the season, and then let the dust settle a little bit.
“We’ve been able to do that because it’s kind of been forced on us a little bit. But I think everybody getting quality at-bats is going to keep them in a better position to be successful.
“Ultimately, who knows, by the end of the month hopefully we’ll have that right-handed lineup and left-handed lineup and we’ll be good to go.”
Meneses in Anaheim:
Joey Meneses played in each of the Nationals’ first nine game this season, but he got a day off in the series finale with the Rockies, with manager Davey Martinez explaining he’d been looking to get the 30-year-old slugger a break.
“I’ve been wanting to give Joey a day, so he gets a day today,” the skipper explained in his pregame press conference on the final day in Coors Field.
Meneses took the league by storm last season, when he was called up after 10 years in the minors, going 72 for 222 (.324/.367/.563) with 14 doubles and 13 home runs over 56 games and 240 PAs in the majors.
Early this season, however, Meneses was 8 for 37 (.216/.275/.297) with three doubles, three walks, and 10 Ks in 40 PAs.
He went 0 for 4 in the opener in Coors Field, but 3 for 8 with a pair of doubles in the next two games before resting in the finale.
What is his manager seeing from Meneses at the plate?
“You know what, better. Better,” Martinez said.
“He wasn’t getting ready on time. We talked a lot about his timing. Getting ready, trying to hit the ball middle-in a little better, but he’s going to be just fine.”
Meneses returned to the lineup for the opener with the Angels last night in Anaheim, and went 2 for 5 with a double (his 4th of 2022) in the Nationals’ win.