Corbin vs the Jays:
“He’s been really, really good,” Davey Martinez said last week of the consistent outings left Patrick Corbin has made to this point in 2023, following a six-inning start against a New York Yankees’ lineup which put up seven hits (two of them homers), three walks, and three runs on the starter, leaving him with a 4.70 ERA, 5.23 FIP, 47 walks, 104 Ks, and a .289/.341/.469 line against in 26 starts and 149 1⁄3 IP on the year.
“Forget about what his numbers are, his ERA, whatever,” Martinez told reporters.
“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.”
Captain Kirk opens the scoring pic.twitter.com/PCDFijxxXa— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 30, 2023
While he still hasn’t found his form from 2018-19, Corbin has posted up consistently and in a young Nationals’ rotation, that’s been important, as they ease their younger arms into a 162-game season and the grind of taking the mound every five days.
Corbin wasn’t particularly sharp, but he wasn’t hit too hard either in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale in Toronto, CA giving up 10 hits, a walk, and six earned runs in five innings over which he threw 96 pitches, 60 for strikes.
He picked up just six swinging strikes on the day, though he did get 18 called strikes, 13 of them with his sinker, but the offense didn’t get much of anything off Blue Jays’ righty Chris Bassitt, who held the visitors to a walk and three hits in eight innings in the Rogers Centre, pitching with a 2-0 lead after one and a 4-0 lead after four before the home team added a couple runs in the sixth, and one more in the seventh, 7-0.
“I thought he made some decent pitches, they just hit them,” Martinez said after the loss.
“They [did what we do], try to stay up the middle of the field and they got a couple base hits, big base hits.”
“Some pitches were located well that they kind of just found some holes, they fell in there,” Corbin said in his own post game scrum, “a couple of ground balls just out of the reach of [CJ] Abrams there, but I guess just one of those days where it seems like when they put it in play, they found a spot.
“They hit some balls hard. I got some strikeouts. But I think just overall a tough day for all of us.”
Though the club dropped the finale, and 2 of 3 with the Jays, manager Davey Martinez said before the game that he was happy with the road trip overall, which they finished 5-4, with 2 of 3 from the Yankees in New York and 2 of 3 from the Marlins in Miami.
“The guys have been engaged,” Martinez said going into the finale in Toronto. “What I’m loving is that they’re upbeat, they’re playing for one another.
‘They’re starting to understand how to rebound and get back and be engaged every day and have that energy.
“It’s been a really good trip, we’re hoping to make it a great trip today.”
He was still upbeat and positive about the trip after the loss on Wednesday afternoon.
“You have to be positive after the road trip we had,” he said after the game. “I just kind of forget about this one. We’re playing well. We’re playing well. Today was just one of those days that we ran into a buzzsaw.
“We’ve got to come back tomorrow and get back on a winning streak tomorrow.”
“Look, we had a good road trip. Chalk it up. We got to go home, play the Marlins. It’s going to be a tough series. So we’ve got to get some rest and come back tomorrow and try to go 1-0 tomorrow.”
Corbin said he and his teammates were looking forward to getting back to the nation’s capital.
“This is kind of a long, long trip for us,” the southpaw said, “... so I think guys are excited to get back home, and got another series versus Miami and then a couple off days, so just we’d obviously have loved to win this series today. It just didn’t happen. We’re still playing good baseball. We’ve just got to forget this and move on.”
Joey Meneses’s 1 for 4 night in Tuesday’s win over the Blue Jays left the Nationals’ slugger 30 for 105 (.286/.353/.448) with eight doubles and three home runs in 26 games this past month.
Meneses’s three home runs in 116 plate appearances in August came after he’d hit six in 100 PAs (24 G) in July and just two in 326 PAs in the first three months this season (75 G).
Meneses took the league by storm last season with 13 HRs over 56 games and 240 PAs after he came up in the aftermath of the Juan Soto trade to San Diego, but in 125 games and 542 PAs this year he’s hit just 11 dingers.
The 31-year-old slugger, Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said after Monday night’s loss in Toronto, has embraced his role as a run producer for the 2023 club, as opposed to a home run hitter, killing it with runners in scoring position (52 for 143, .364/.392/.490 in 153 PAs), and as of Wednesday morning leading the club in RBIs (76).
“The best thing about Joey: He stays in the middle of the field, you know?” the manager told reporters. “Base hit up the middle, goes the other way, two big RBIs there for us, but he’s done great. And this — we talked a lot about in the beginning of the year, about him wanting to hit more home runs, but I told him, I said, ‘Hey, look. You’re driving in runs, and that’s really important. The home runs will come,’ which they did, but more so than that he’s become that clutch RBI guy for us.”
Meneses, he added, has excelled with runners on and helped the club while not hitting for the power he did as a 30-year-old rookie.
“I think now he understands that run-production is big,” Martinez said.
“And he says, ‘Hey, I’m going to do everything I can to drive in runs.’
“When he doesn’t do it, I see more frustration than anything, so he knows he has a job to do up there when we got guys in scoring position and he’s been really good at it.”
Davey Martinez's face after he was asked about what Carter Kieboom has done since he was called back up to the majors earlier this month (6 for 22, a double, 3 HRs, .273/.304/.727 line in 6 G, 23 PAs) after he hit his 3rd HR and went 2 for 4 in the Nats' 5-4 win in Toronto: pic.twitter.com/MRaLgkf6ls— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) August 30, 2023
We joked on Twitter about the smile spreading across Davey Martinez’s face as he fielded a question about 2016 1st Round pick Carter Kieboom’s first run with the club since 2021, and the success the 25-year-old infielder has had at the plate since getting called up earlier this month.
Martinez isn’t the only one happy to see Kieboom enjoy some early success in his latest big league opportunity.
GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning, before a 1 for 4 game for Kieboom in the Nationals’ 7-0 loss to the Blue Jays, he was happy all the hard work Kieboom put in as he recovered from Tommy John surgery is paying off with success since he came back up.
“When you have Tommy John surgery you’re in West Palm Beach for a year by yourself for the most part or with a very few — a handful of guys — and he like a lot of other guys with that surgery and that rehab focused in on the entirety of his body,” Rizzo explained.
“Getting stronger, more flexible while he’s waiting for the Tommy John to kick in. So, he’s done a lot of work, I give the kid a lot of credit, never gave up, and has worked extremely hard to get back to where he is.
“And I think that the strength in his swing and the bat speed and that type of thing is kind of evidence of an improvement since the surgery.”
Kieboom also seems to be playing with more confidence, one effect of the success he’s had in a small sample size.
“Whenever you’re going good, you’re feeling good about yourself, everything is better, and you walk into this thing, he hadn’t played in two years in the big leagues, and you walk in and you’re joining a really young, really good, really energy-based team, and it kind of ripples to you, and I think you’re seeing that. I think that they all have a little energy, a little kickstart in your step, and I think Carter’s no different. He knows a lot of these guys, and he’s been around them a long time, but still as a young 25-year-old kid that really hasn’t gotten a long-term opportunity in the big leagues, it’s good to see him get off to a fast start, and hopefully he can take this through the rest of the season and then come into Spring Training with an opportunity and an outlook to be an everyday player for us.”