Very different nights for Corbin, Harris in loss

May 19th, 2021

One pitcher left the game feeling good about his start. The other walked off the field deeming his relief appearance “probably the worst” of his career.  

Patrick Corbin and Will Harris faced the same opponent on Tuesday, but they had very different takeaways in the Nationals’ 6-3 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. 

Corbin: Five innings in start

A lot has changed for Corbin since his last start. He and his wife, Jen, welcomed their son, Weston Alan, on Friday at 6:37 a.m. ET. It was the morning after Corbin fanned a season-high nine batters in a victory over the Phillies.

“It’s been awesome,” Corbin said. “Just what an experience I’ve been able to go through with my wife the last couple of days.”   

The southpaw stayed back in Washington, D.C., on the paternity list while the Nationals played in Arizona. After getting in throwing work at Nationals Park, he rejoined the team in Chicago on Monday.

“I still know, in the back of my mind, I still have a job that I have to go out and perform,” Corbin said. “But obviously, I was thinking about them a lot tonight. I’m looking forward to getting back home on Thursday.”

Corbin tossed five innings, allowing three runs off eight hits and two walks while striking out four in a no-decision. He threw 54 of his 87 pitches for strikes, and he mixed in his sinker (33%) with his go-to slider (37%).

“One of those days where I thought I made some good pitches,” Corbin said. “They just found some holes there and were able to put a couple of runs on the board.”

Harris: Two-thirds of an inning out of the bullpen

Harris entered the game in the sixth inning with the game tied at 3. The 10-year veteran issued a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced, Matt Duffy. After striking out Ian Happ, Harris gave up a homer to Dave Bote that gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead. From there, he fanned Nico Hoerner and allowed a single to Keegan Thompson before Willson Contreras reached on a throwing error by Trea Turner.

Harris’ night was over after 22 pitches (12 strikes). He called his sixth outing of the season “a struggle” and “a grind.”

“Tonight, I just didn’t have it,” Harris said, adding, “I didn’t execute very many pitches tonight to the caliber that I expect to.”

Harris has been pitching through a lingering right hand issue. He said it’s “hard to decode what’s what” in terms of how much was caused by his hand and how much can be attributed to a struggling night. He pinpointed his velocity and location as being off.

“I know tonight my stuff was probably the worst it’s ever been in my career,” he said. “To have the outcome that I had wasn’t a surprise, I guess, for the way that I was pitching.”

Harris, who led the American League in 2019 with a 1.50 ERA as a member of the Astros, will study game film and seek out feedback from the coaching staff and catcher Yan Gomes.

“It happens,” he said. “You have good days and bad days if you have enough appearances. But today, it just was a whole lot of bad.”