From blowout to shutout? Comparing Nats' 1st 2 games vs. Twins

May 22nd, 2024

WASHINGTON -- In Monday's series opener against the Twins, the Nationals exploded for a season-high-tying 12 runs and 14 hits. On Tuesday, they were shut out and held to three hits.

The Nats’ 10-0 loss at Nationals Park marked their third scoreless endeavor in seven games.

“It’s baseball,” said Jacob Young. “Some days you’re squaring balls up and some days you’re not. Sometimes you run into a buzzsaw with a guy [right-hander Joe Ryan] throwing a good game. It happens. We had a great game yesterday, they had a great game today. So now get a rematch tomorrow.”

There have been instances this season in which the Nationals pitching has been strong and the offense has struggled, and vice versa. They were stifled on both sides of the field in this lopsided game.

Left-hander Patrick Corbin gave up eight runs off nine hits and three homers in six innings to drop to 1-5 with a 6.29 ERA in 10 starts. The veteran issued three walks and recorded three strikeouts.

“I know some of these games happen sometimes,” Corbin said. “It stinks, obviously. I’m upset about it. … But it’s your job, you’ve got to try to go out there, fight through, try to go as deep as you can. [I] just wasn’t able to keep them off the board tonight, and [it's] just frustrating.”

After allowing just four home runs on the season (including none in the previous three games), Corbin surrendered two homers to Byron Buxton and one to Jose Miranda.

Dingers in back-to-back innings by the pair put the Nationals in a 4-0 deficit in the third inning. In comparison, the Nats led 7-1 after five innings on Monday. With an emphasis on scoring early, the Nats dropped to 11-18 when the opponents scored first.

Corbin reached the 100-pitch mark for the first time this season. Of his 106 pitches, he delivered 60 for strikes. His slider yielded eight whiffs, compared to two total on his other pitches.

“Not around the plate as much today,” Corbin said. “The location on some of those fastballs wasn’t there and the cutter the one time. I felt pretty good with the slider, maybe could have went to that a little more today. But just overall, kind of one of those days where it seemed like anything I threw got hit.”

Corbin covered enough innings that the Nationals only required two calls to the bullpen (Jacob Barnes, Tanner Rainey) ahead of a quick turnaround for a matinee on Wednesday.

“He tried to go in on all three of those home runs, left the ball out over the plate,” said manager Dave Martinez. “His location was just bad today. But he’s pitching well, and for what it’s worth, he gave us six innings and kind of saved our bullpen for tomorrow.”

The Nationals offense that broke out for 14 hits and gave No. 20 prospect Mitchell Parker a comfortable lead to work with on Monday did not get a runner on base on Tuesday until Young singled off Ryan with two outs in the third inning. Ryan allowed just three hits in seven frames, and the Twins bullpen held the Nats hitless.

The Nats were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, compared to 5-for-8 in the previous win. They left one more player on base (five) in the loss.

“We fell behind,” Martinez said. “Ryan, he kept us off-balance. His fastball played really well tonight. He located it, it was up in the zone, couldn’t get on top. He threw the ball well.”

The Nationals will look to reclaim Monday’s momentum and go for the series win on Wednesday afternoon with Minnesota native Jake Irvin making his first start against his hometown team.

“We both had our good guys, and now it’s kind of, let’s see who comes out with energy tomorrow,” said Young. “It’s a day game, an early game, quick transition, so we get to forget about it quickly, luckily, and move on tomorrow and try to just kind of flip the script on them.”