Corbin throws a gem against the Pirates to keep the Nuts spinning originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Even when Patrick Corbin was at his best in 2019, he never hit a dozen batters in a game. The Nationals’ left-hander hasn’t since looked like the pitcher who so often played a key role in their World Series, but on Tuesday night he pulled off a vintage performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Corbin set a career high with 12 strikeouts, throwing five hits and two walks in eight innings. The only damage done to Pittsburgh against him came with a solo home run by right fielder Diego Castillo in the sixth. Despite a long pass to level the score at 1–1 and with Corbin throwing in many innings, he came back to eliminate the last seven hitters he faced, including three strikeouts in the eighth.
“He was good at everything tonight,” manager Davey Martinez said at the post-match press conference, which was broadcast on MASN. “His fastball was electric. His slider was amazing. He worked ahead of the bill. He only fell behind and hit one for a home run, but otherwise he made money all day. If we get this every five days from Corbin, we’ll be fine.”
Perhaps Corbin’s most impressive development was the efficiency of his slider. Once one of the best sliders thrown by a left-hander in the majors, the field generated 14 blows in 19 tries, for a staggering 74%. His average speed of 81.9 mph and 2,205 rpm on the slider were above his season averages.
In a 3-1 win, Washington (29:48) won their third straight win and sixth win in their last eight games. The Nationals also recorded their second consecutive series win after defeating two of three against the Texas Rangers at the weekend, marking the first time they had won a series in a row all season.
The recent success was backed up by a strong starting pitch. Including Jewel Corbin on Tuesday, the Nationals rotation has owned a 1.66 ERA since June 18 to lead all of baseball over that period.
While most of those starts have come with less than formidable lineups in the Orioles, Rangers and Pirates, this is the same rotation that came into play on Tuesday with the highest starter ERA in the majors at 5.65. Nationals will definitely see any signs of improvement, especially after losing both Stephen Strasburg as well as Joe Ross to serious injuries earlier this month.
Josiah Gray bet on the NL Pitcher of the Month with a 1.13 ERA over four outs with 28 strikeouts in just eight walks. Jackson Tetreo, called up from Triple-A just to make a couple of starting spots, earned a chance in the regular rotation spot with a couple of strong performances. Eric Fedde has allowed three or fewer runs in four consecutive starts, and Paolo Espino continues to answer calls for whatever role Martinez puts him in.
Ahead of Tuesday’s game, Corbin was the only starter not to show an effective performance during the series. That all changed against Pittsburgh when he scored a strikeout he hadn’t scored since his last year with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018. supported his skipper.
“He’s been one of the guys since he’s been here and I’ve always felt that way, no matter what his outlet is,” Martinez said. “Without him, we would not have done what we did in 1919. I know he struggled but I really believe he has everything to keep being really good and you saw that today.”