Corbin bounces back in big way vs. Cardinals

After getting roughed up in last start, lefty tossed six scoreless innings

April 21st, 2021

WASHINGTON -- Patrick Corbin returned to form with a scoreless, six-inning start on Tuesday against the Cardinals in the Nationals’ 3-2 win. It was a bounceback performance after the southpaw allowed 10 runs to the D-backs in his last outing on Thursday.

“I think the biggest thing was simplifying things, getting back to the pitcher that I am,” Corbin said.

Corbin struck out five, gave up four hits and did not issue a walk over 76 pitches (52 strikes) against St. Louis. He wrapped his evening by retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. His ERA dropped from 21.32 to 10.95 with the strong outing.

“He was awesome,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He pitched inside. His slider got better and better as the game went on. He threw a few changeups to selected batters that were really, really good.”

Corbin said he physically felt OK after his last outing, so the Nats dug deeper into his mechanics and delivery. Corbin goes to his slider and fastball -- which Martinez described as his “his bread and butter” -- for the majority of his pitches. This spring, he worked on incorporating a changeup into his arsenal more often. Martinez thought that the delivery could be impacting his other pitches, and he tasked Corbin with honing in on getting the ball down during his last bullpen.

On Tuesday, Corbin threw his slider for 31 pitches (41%), fastball for 22 pitches (29%), sinker for 17 pitches (22%) and changeup for just three pitches (4%). He felt like he had better command of his fastball, and he was pleased with throwing his breaking ball for strikes.

“He was very tough on us tonight, for sure,” Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright said. “He threw me two really nasty sinkers in my first at-bat, and of course he has a great slider that he struck me out on. ... He mixed in and out really well. He was sinking, he was throwing that good cross the plate four-seam fastball in on our guys and he was up and down with his changeups and he has a good slider. He made pitches. When you're up and down and changing speeds, it's really tough.”

Corbin and the Nationals hope this start will help put his first two outings of the season behind him. This performance was a throwback to some of his standout 2019 starts -- his last six-plus inning scoreless start was Aug. 21, 2019, in Pittsburgh, and the last game in which he threw at least six frames without an earned run was Sept. 17, 2019, in St. Louis.

“This was a turning point for him,” Martinez said. “Moving forward this is the Pat Corbin that we love and know, and know that he’s going to go out there and compete and have these kinds of games.”