Corbin Gets Hit Hard Again:
“Some pitches were located well that they kind of just found some holes,” Patrick Corbin told reporters after he gave up 10 hits, a walk, and six earned runs over 5+ innings in last week’s start in Toronto.
“They fell in there, 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 thought he made some decent pitches,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters, “they just hit them. They did what we do, try to stay up the middle of the field, and they got a couple base hits, big base hits.”
The loss to the Jays snapped a five-start unbeaten streak for the 34-year-old lefty, who’d posted a 3.41 ERA, a 6.78 FIP, and a .208/.288/.491 line against in 29 IP in that stretch.
Looking to bounce back, Corbin had a couple balls hit hard once again, with the New York Mets connecting for seven hits, taking one walk, and scoring eight runs off the Nats’ lefty, whose outing last night in the nation’s capital ended after four innings in which he threw a total of 83 pitches, 53 strikes.
Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor hit back-to-back singles to start the game on sinkers, up in the zone, and after a sac bunt, Pete Alonso hit a sac fly, 1-0, then after a hit-by-pitch on Mark Vientos, Francisco Alvarez hit a three-run home run on a 1-0 fastball inside he sent 419 ft to left, to put the visitors up 4-0 four six batters into the game.
Lindor homered on a full-count sinker up and just off the middle of the plate to lead off the third, 5-1.
Brett Baty hit a two-run triple, 7-1, and Nimmo hit another home run in the fourth, the third off Corbin in the game, on an 0-1 slider low and over the middle of the plate, 8-1.
Corbin finished off the fourth, but didn’t return to the mound in the fifth, and the Mets went on to win, 11-5, handing the Nationals their sixth straight loss overall.
The southpaw did pick up 10 swinging strikes on the night, eight with his slider, on which he got 6 of 13 called strikes as well, but overall it was another tough outing.
“Up,” Martinez said in summing up Corbin’s struggles against the Mets succinctly. “Balls were up. All the balls they hit out were up. He’s got to get the ball down. He’s got to pitch down. They fouled off some tough pitches, but all in all, the balls they hit were up. So he’s got to come back and try to get the ball down next outing.”
“There’s some hitters that you want to get up, you need to throw up,” Martinez explained, “... but not all of them. And if he can keep the sinker down and away — he didn’t throw very many changeups today — he combination of those two, you’re going to get in trouble. Just tonight everything was up.”
Adding to the frustration of his outing, Corbin wasn’t able to go deep into the start.
“He was frustrated,” Martinez said.
“But I talked to him after the third inning and he was very adamant about going out. Cause I thought then maybe we just get him out and save an inning, but he wanted to go back out. But that’s Patrick. That’s why you count on him take the ball every five days, and he’s going to give you as much as he can give you, but I thought at  pitches, four innings was good enough.”
SOME LINEUP NOTES:
Neither leadoff man CJ Abrams or the Nationals’ usual No. 2 hitter Lane Thomas were in the lineup for the first of two with the Mets in D.C. last night, for different reasons.
“Scheduled off day today,” manager Davey Martinez said of Abrams sitting out, “... and then Lane, his back is sore again, so I’m going to give him today off, I might even give him tomorrow off so he has three days [with Thursday’s off day]. We’ll see how he feels, I asked him to just take it easy, and if he’s available to pinch hit later on we’ll use him to pinch hit.”
Thomas, while dealing with the sore back, “... homered in three straight games for the first time in his career,” as the Nationals noted in their pregame notes for last night’s game, but Martinez decided to let him rest his back and get it checked out, to make sure it isn’t more of an issue than they initially thought.
“I hope this is not something that’s going to linger for the rest of the year for him, because he is having a tremendous year for us and for him,” Martinez said. “I want him to finish up strong, but yet I don’t want him to end up on the IL neither. I want him to finish up, so we’ll see how this plays out.”
The manager did confirm Thomas had an MRI on his back.
“We’re waiting on the results from the MRI. He went and got an MRI today, so we’ll see how it comes back.”
The fact he was able to hit the way he did in his previous games while dealing with an issue is not lost on the 6th-year skipper, who said Thomas thought it got actually him locked in at the plate.
“Yeah, it’s good,” Martinez said. “I talked to him today a lot about — he said, man, it really helped me get my swing back. I was short to the baseball not trying to do too much.’ I go, “Woof, that’s a good concept.’ Yeah. So I told him, ‘Hey, when you start feeling better, remember: Stay short.’”
Abrams, Martinez said, is not injured in any way, just sore, deep into the season as a 22-year-old without much experience with the rigors of a 162-game season.
He played in 129 of 138 games before getting the night off last night.
“With CJ, the way he plays the game, he’s constantly using his legs,” Martinez explained.
“He plays a premium position. He’s constantly running, on his feet, he’s been stealing a lot of bases. He’s been doing a lot of things, diving everywhere. I just felt like over the last few days – and the fact it’s going to be so hot – that today — having a day off yesterday and having a day off today — could reset him a little bit. He’ll play tomorrow then have another day off [on Thursday], which will be great, and also try to get him to finish the rest of the season off strong.”
Abrams, Martinez reiterated, is not only young, but he’s early in his pro career, having been drafted out of high school in the first round in 2019 before the Nationals acquired him from the San Diego Padres at the deadline in 2022.
“Like I’ve said before, he hasn’t played that much. And as much as I love him out there, and he’s doing well, I got to make sure that I maintain this next few weeks to keep him healthy so that he can have a really good winter and get ready for next year as well. I talked to him about it. He was — as you know they all want to play — but he was very — he said, ‘Yeah, you know, I could probably use another day,’ but I’ll be ready if you need me.’
“So, he’s such a good kid, and he wants to help us win games, but I also got to be smart.”