Corbin reaches 200 K's as Nats complete sweep

Washington joins 1969 Astros as only NL team with three starters to achieve feat

September 1st, 2019

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals invested heavily in the top of their rotation, dishing out contracts worth more than half a billion dollars to the trio of , and . In 2019 alone, they will earn $88 million, more than the combined payroll of several Major League teams.

That heavy commitment has paid off this season, giving the Nationals one of the most dominant starting rotations in the Majors, one that in Sunday’s 9-3 victory over the Marlins at Nationals Park accomplished a feat achieved by just one other National League team in history.

With a strikeout of Garrett Cooper in the fourth inning, Corbin recorded his 200th strikeout of the season, joining Scherzer and Strasburg as the first trio in franchise history to reach that mark. The only other NL team in history to have three starters reach the milestone was the 1969 Astros, with Larry Dierker, Tom Griffin and Don Wilson.

“I've kind of said I feel like I’ve been here longer just because everyone here, not just the rotation, but [there's] just a good group of guys here," Corbin said. "That was a big reason [to sign with the Nats in the offseason] to be able to pitch with those guys in the rotation. ... When you have good starting pitching, you're going to be in most games, and the offense that we have, it seems like a good fit.”

Corbin had been a part of some strong rotations in Arizona, pitching alongside Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray, but this Nationals staff is operating on an even higher level.

On Saturday night, it was Strasburg who carved up the Marlins for eight shutout innings of two-hit ball, matching a season high with 14 strikeouts. It was Corbin’s turn on Sunday. He retired the first 12 batters, carrying a perfect game into the fifth inning before Starlin Castro began the frame with a solo homer. Corbin finished the outing with eight strikeouts in six innings of three-run ball.

“You don’t want to be that weak link,” Corbin said. “Every fifth day if they're losing your game, you don’t want that, so you try to go up there and one-up the person before you.”

“I think the good thing here is everyone is trying to help each other and give information when they need to and when you come out. I mean, we're always talking, so I think those things help. Especially for me not being in this division, I faced these teams, but they've seen them more than I have. So you can learn from all these guys. It's fun to be a part of a veteran group that's done so well.”

Just four pitchers in the National League have reached 200 strikeouts as of Sunday afternoon, and three of them are Nationals. Strasburg, Corbin and Scherzer have a stronghold on the leaderboard, ranking first, third and fourth in the NL, respectively, in strikeouts. (The Mets' Jacob deGrom is second).

That group of aces, which does not include Anibal Sanchez (who is having a fine season in his own right), is one of the biggest reasons these Nationals could be so dangerous in the postseason.

Washington has three pitchers capable of dominating and taking over a game on any given night.

“You have to throw innings to strike 200 people out,” said first baseman , who homered in his return from the injured list. “It's kind of nice to have people to throw innings and do what starting pitchers are supposed to do. You don't try and reinvent the game. I think those guys are pretty good at it."