JUPITER, Fla. -- For the past two seasons, there has been talk of Patrick Corbin returning to “2019 form.” It was then that the southpaw played a key role in the Nationals’ World Series championship, but he has not reached the same level of effectiveness since.
“I know that the last couple years were terrible,” Corbin said. “I’ve moved past it, and I feel good about where I’m at.”
Corbin was strong in his start against the Marlins on Wednesday in the Nationals’ 3-2 loss at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. He tossed four scoreless innings and allowed just three hits and no walks while recording four strikeouts over 57 pitches (34 strikes), all on four days' rest. Corbin fanned batters with both his go-to slider as well as his fastball, a pitch mix manager Dave Martinez would like to see him utilize in two-strike situations.
“For me, his misses were good," Martinez said. "His approach was good and his mechanics were really good."
Corbin, 32, is coming off a 2021 season in which he went 9-16 (tied for most losses among Major League pitchers) and posted a league-high 5.82 ERA. He has a cumulative 11-23 record since going 14-7 in ‘19.
“As simple as it is, I’m just trying to get back to what I’ve done well for those many years and commanding the fastball, throwing both sides of the plate with that and using my slider off of that,” Corbin, who also said he wants to avoid overthrowing, noted last week.
A bounce-back season for Corbin would be key for the Nationals' starting rotation, which is shorthanded with right-handers Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross injured. There is a strong chance Corbin will get the nod for Opening Day.
“I think we can learn from what happened and move forward,” Corbin said. “I know what I’m capable of doing out there, and I really forgot kind of how those last two seasons went. Hopefully now, we can just kind of get on a normal schedule, have things back to normal and be able to go out there and compete like I love to do.”
“I feel really good,” Harvey said. “I’ve been feeling good, so I’m trying to keep it that way this year and stay healthy for the full season.”
Harvey missed significant time in the Minor Leagues because of elbow and shoulder injuries, and he was held to 19 games from 2020-21 with oblique and shoulder issues. With health in mind, the Nationals will keep a close eye on the 27-year-old, beginning with a bullpen session scheduled for Thursday. If that goes well, he could throw another bullpen after two days off and then be cleared for live batting practice two days after that.
Harvey, who has made 26 Major League appearances with a 3.42 ERA over 23 2/3 innings, is looking forward to a fresh start with the Nationals.
“The last couple of years, it’s felt like I’ve been fighting myself,” he said. “Hopefully, this year is nice, free and easy.”