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Washington Nationals news & notes: Nats swept by Marlins with 4-2 loss, Miami 6-0 against Washington in 2023

Notes and quotes from the Nationals’ 4-2 loss to the Marlins in the series finale on Sunday...

“He’s been really good this year, he really has,” Davey Martinez said of the improvement he’s seen for Patrick Corbin through 14 starts this season, after three tough years for the 33-year-old southpaw in the Nationals’ rotation.

Corbin helped Washington win the World Series in the first year of his 6-year/$140M deal in D.C. in 2019, but the starter looked lost at times over the past three seasons, unable to find any fix for what was causing his issues.

Early this year, however, the results have been significantly better, if not exactly stellar (4.81 ERA, 5.04 FIP, .299/.345/.471 line against in 78 23 IP before Sunday).

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s attacking the strike zone, getting ahead of hitters,” Martinez said of what’s worked for Corbin so far this year. “His slider has been a lot better. Keeping the ball down— I always go back to him throwing the ball down, using both sides of the plate, and using his changeup a lot more this year than he has [previously].

“And that’s been a part of his plan,” the manager added. “Trying to utilize that changeup a little bit more, but keeping the ball down.”

Corbin gave up four hits (two of them homers), five walks, and two earned runs in 5 IP in the Nationals’ 6-1 loss to the Houston Astros last week.

Back home in the nation’s capital on Sunday afternoon, the left-hander allowed four runs on 11 hits, with four walks and three Ks in six innings of work, over which he threw 102 pitches.

Corbin didn’t generate much in the way of swings and misses, with just five swinging strikes overall on the day against Miami, though he did get 16 called strikes, 12 with his sinker, but it was a long-ish day on the mound.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Corbin gave up back-to-back singles around a wild pitch, and then a base-loading walk in the second, and a run scored on a grounder, 1-0, though he limited the damage.

A walk, two singles, and a sac fly added a run in the third, 2-0, and two singles, a throwing error, and a sac fly in the top of the fourth inning put the visiting Marlins back on top after Lane Thomas homered to tie things up at 2-2 in the bottom of the third. An RBI single later in the inning extended the lead, 4-2, and that’s how it ended, with the Fish winning a sixth straight against their NL East rivals to start the season (though Stone Garrett came really, really close to putting the Nationals on top with a fly to deep center with two on in the 6th).

“We don’t hit their pitching very well right now,” Martinez said of his club struggling to put up runs in 6-5, 5-2, and 4-2 losses to the Marlins this weekend, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

“We chase a lot. We have some opportunities; we can’t really capitalize on them. Their starting pitching is pretty good, and they’ve got all those lefties in the bullpen and can match up well. But right now, we don’t hit the ball.”

Corbin noted how the Marlins didn’t hit him particularly hard either, but did enough to get runs across the plate.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

“You make some good pitches, and they’re swinging early,” the southpaw explained. “You can’t do much about some bloopers or some ground balls that get by. One of those days where they’re swinging early, and those balls get through, something like that happens.”

That isn’t to take anything away from what Miami’s hitters managed to do.

“They put some good at-bats on,” Corbin said, as quoted by Washington Poster writer Andrew Golden:

“They weren’t chasing that much today — swung early, put the bat on the ball. Those balls, some of them fell in that weren’t hit hard, but I thought it could’ve been a lot worse. Made some good pitches in some jams, kept us in the game — just didn’t work out for us.”