CORBIN IN THE BRONX:
Patrick Corbin held Boston’s Red Sox to a run on four hits in six innings last week, in a start which saw the 34-year-old southpaw strike out six without walking a batter, an outing after he walked seven, with the K total matching his combined Ks from his previous three starts (and 17 IP).
Corbin, talking to reporters after his 25th turn in the rotation this season, lamented the fact he needed 25 total pitches to retire three batters in the fifth, (all via K), in an otherwise solid and efficient appearance.
“Got some early contact,” Corbin said of his success on the mound, “… and other than that fifth inning — that fifth inning was a little strange — just with the 1-2-3 — and I still threw 25 pitches, not ideal, but I think other than that some quicker at-bats, and able to work in the zone, and kind of maybe just put them on the defense a little bit earlier than say my last game.”
Putting opposing hitters on the defensive and more importantly putting them away was the key to his success in Corbin’s mind.
“Getting to two strikes and then kind of finishing them,” Corbin said.
“I think sometimes teams come out and try to jump on me early, and [try to] get that fastball up early,” he explained, “... and get some hits, and I think sometimes that’s why you see a bunch of singles there early, and maybe I get a ground ball after that to try to get out of it.”
He did give up two singles in a 15-pitch first in Yankee Stadium yesterday, but he stranded those runners, and it was a long ball earlier in the inning which hurt the starter.
Corbin gave up Aaron Judge’s fourth home run in two games on a first-pitch fastball down the middle at 91 MPH the Yankees’ slugger hit 421 ft. to center field at 109.9 MPH off of the bat, 1-0 New York after one. Judge’s 28th, 26th allowed by the Nats’ starter this season.
It was tied at 1-1 in the third, when Gleyber Torres hit an 0-2 slider not far enough inside out to left field for a 344 ft. blast which put the Yankees on top again, 3-1, since Corbin issued a leadoff walk to DJ LeMahieu one out before the home run. No. 20 for Torres. 27th off Corbin this year.
Corbin held it there through five, which he completed on 80 pitches, and returned to the hill to throw 13 more in a scoreless sixth, so he was still the pitcher of record for the Nats when the visiting team took a 4-3 lead on a two-run shot by Alex Call and went up 5-3 on another home run by CJ Abrams...
“Patrick didn’t give in,” Martinez said after what ended up a 6-5 win, “he gave us six strong innings which helped a lot.”
“He’s been really, really good,” the manager continued. “Forget about what his numbers are, his ERA, whatever, he takes the ball every five days and he competes. He gives us six strong innings, and that’s what I love about him, and he’s throwing the ball really well.”
• Jake Alu took a walk from Yankees’ starter/opener Michael King to lead off the top of the third inning, with the home team up 1-0, and Alu took second on a sac bunt by Alex Call.
Lane Thomas walked with two down, to keep the inning going, and a wild pitch by King put both runners in scoring position, with Alu scoring when Yankees’ shortstop Anthony Volpe booted a two-out grounder off Joey Meneses’s bat in the next AB, recovering in time to get a throw off, which arrived late as the tying run scored, 1-1.
• Alu came through with an RBI single off of reliever Tommy Kahnle in the seventh, driving in Carter Kieboom two outs after a leadoff double by the Nats’ third baseman, 3-2 NY, and 4-3 D.C. after Alex Call hit a 411 ft. home run to left-center off the right-hander in the next at-bat to put the visitors on top. Call’s 7th of 2023. CJ Abrams stepped in next and hit another shot off Kahnle (after taking him deep in the series opener), 5-3. Abrams’ 14th.
• Hunter Harvey tossed a scoreless seventh inning, but Jordan Weems gave up a solo homer by Giancarlo Stanton (who hit it out while breaking his bat) in the eighth, 5-4 Nats.
• Kyle Finnegan had a two-run lead to work with when he took the mound in the ninth, after Joey Meneses drove in a run with a bases-loaded single in the top of the ninth, 6-4.
Finnegan gave up a leadoff single by Oswald Peraza, and a one-out hit by Gleyber Torres, which got Giancarlo Stanton up with an opportunity to walk it off, but with his fourth hit, Stanton singled to drive in a run, 6-5 Nats.
Harrison Bader hit one to the warning track in center in the next at-bat, but Alex Call made a spinning, twisting catch for out No. 3. Ballgame.
“Resilient, that’s what these guys are,” Manager Davey Martinez said after the win. “The fact that what happened yesterday with Stone [Garrett], and to come back and do what we did today – and come back the way we did – says a lot about these boys and what they think about their teammates. I know they really wanted to win today, and I think it was more for their teammate. So it was a great win. Finnegan once again locked the door down. We expected a lot of him and he did the job.”
STEPHEN STRASBURG RETIRING ATR:
Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga reported during the series finale between the Nationals and New York Yankees in the Bronx on Wednesday that Stephen Strasburg on September 9th will officially announce his retirement from the game after three years in which he was unable to overcome nerve issues in his right arm which the pitcher and his club hoped would be remedied by Thoracic Outlet Surgery which was performed in 2021.
BREAKING: Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg will retire. The World Series MVP and former No. 1 pick in the draft, who couldn't overcome complications from thoracic outlet syndrome, is tentatively planning a September announcement. (w @dougherty_jesse)https://t.co/DM33q5F4J5— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) August 24, 2023
Strasburg made just eight starts and threw just 31 1⁄3 innings after helping the Nationals win the World Series in 2019 (and signing a 7-year/$245M deal before the 2020 season), and he had attempted to ramp back up again this past spring only for repeated setbacks to force him to shut it down.
“Strasburg continues to deal with ‘severe nerve damage,’ according to three people with knowledge of his situation,” Svrluga wrote in Wednesday’s story, noting how the now-35-year-old, 2009 No. 1 overall pick still struggles with the issue in his daily life:
“He has struggled with mundane tasks, such as lifting his young daughters or opening a door with his right hand. Last summer, when he tried and failed to return — making three rehab outings before [a] final start in Miami — Strasburg sometimes couldn’t stand for long without his hand going completely numb. To cope with it, he would lie down on his side and press his hand against his chest.”
As for the financial aspects of the decision, Strasburg, whose contract pays him (to sum it up) $35M a year through 2026, the WaPost writer noted the team and their starter are still working out the details of what his pending retirement will mean:
“The financial implications of Strasburg’s retirement were not immediately known Thursday afternoon. But in similar cases, players and teams have reached settlements that typically lower the total money remaining on a contract.
After this season, Strasburg’s contract had an average annual value of $35 million for three more years.”
More news when it’s available... but in the meantime, what’s your favorite memory of the 2019 World Series MVP’s time with the Nationals? Hard to choose something other than a World Series win, but it’s still his MLB debut for me... Thoughts?
Manager Davey Martinez declined to get into the story when he was asked about it in his post game press conference after the game.
“For Strasburg and his family, I’m not going to make any comments about what is going on,” Martinez said. “What I do know is he means a lot to me, and this organization, and the fans, so, I’ll just keep it at that.”
STONE GARRETT UPDATE:
“He’s been unbelievable,” Davey Martinez said of Stone Garrett’s production this season, after the 27-year-old outfielder suffered a season-ending fracture of his left fibula on the outfield wall in Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, attempting to catch a homer which just cleared the fence.
“Off the field, on the field, he’s a special kid, he really is,” Martinez added. “Like I said, I hope we get some good news, and that he’s going to be okay, and that we can put this behind us. But he was hurting pretty good.”
Garrett put up a .269/.343/.457 line with 17 doubles, nine home runs, 26 walks, and 82 Ks in 89 games and 271 plate appearances for the Nationals, and endeared himself to the fans and his teammates in the nation’s capital with his hard work and his personality, so Martinez said on Wednesday it was a tough blow for the team he’d have to guide them through.
“It’s tough, it’s tough,” the manager said. “I just tell them, ‘Hey, you just got to go out there and play, and let’s just hope that he’s going to be okay. They understand this game, you got to get back tomorrow and go 1-0 tomorrow. I think the players understand that. But they’re all anxious to hear what’s going on.”
Before the series finale with the Yankees, the sixth-year skipper provided an update on the outfielder, who was headed back to D.C. as the Nationals prepared for the third of three in the Bronx.
“They saw the fracture,” Martinez said. “So now he’s going to go back, he’s going to see [Associate Team Physician] Dr. [Robert] Najarian. They’ll do some other procedures, and then we’ll know more as the next couple days go by.”
“I’m going to give him a call. I know he’s headed back to D.C. I’ll see how he’s feeling today, but he’s going to be out a while. So, we’re going to wish him a fast recovery, and hopefully that leg heals up and he’ll be ready to play for us in the future.”
A day later, with an afternoon matchup in NY, Martinez said it did hit the team hard.
“He was one of the guys, he really was,” the manager explained. “Guys looked up to him. He had a nickname: We called him ‘Skinny,’ as we all know he’s not. But that’s what he was in there. He was one of the guys that was always upbeat, but played really hard. Played hard for us, played hard for me. Great guy, great character, professional.”
If it wasn’t abundantly clear (long before the injury) his relationship with Garrett means a lot to the manager.
“He’s a guy that worked his way to get to the major leagues,” Martinez said, “and I’m always partial to those guys that put the work in that worked really hard to become who he is, and really tries to get better.”