WASHINGTON -- Patrick Corbin had gone back to the proverbial drawing board after an uncharacteristic string of three clunkers on the mound. He focused on honing in on his mechanics, aiming to get his pitching motion moving more toward home plate to help cure the woes that have plagued him
WASHINGTON -- Patrick Corbin had gone back to the proverbial drawing board after an uncharacteristic string of three clunkers on the mound. He focused on honing in on his mechanics, aiming to get his pitching motion moving more toward home plate to help cure the woes that have plagued him for the past few weeks.
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And then he waited for two extra days before Wednesday's 6-2 victory over the Phillies in the first game of a split doubleheader at Nationals Park, after inclement weather in the D.C. area washed away the first two games of this crucial series for the Nationals.
“I thought I was going to have to face the Braves,” Corbin said with a laugh. “So, I was asking for them to create that [scouting] report.”
The Corbin that took the mound Wednesday afternoon looked much closer in form to the dominant lefty from the start of the season. He tossed seven innings of one-run ball, scattering four hits and three walks, allowing his lone run in the first inning on a home run from Scott Kingery.
It was the kind of bounceback outing the Nationals had hoped for from Corbin after he had posted an 11.37 ERA across his three most recent starts.
“The last three have been pretty frustrating, so you’ve just got to continue to work,” Corbin said. “There are ups and downs throughout the course of the year. I felt good with what we were doing, just wanted to continue doing it. And it was great to see some results out there.”
For seven innings and 101 pitches, Corbin was at his best. He filled up the strike zone early in the game and then got Phillies hitters to chase his slider as it darted out of the zone. His two-seam fastball had been crushed in recent outings, but he spotted it on the corners with precision, generating eight called strikes. Philadelphia swung and miss at 11 of his sliders.
Corbin also benefited from two-hit days from Juan Soto, Brian Dozier and Gerardo Parra. After early run-scoring hits from all three, Dozier and Parra homered back to back in the eighth to pad the Nationals’ lead.
“We followed Corbin’s heartbeat,” manager Dave Martinez said. “Man, he was jacked up. I mean, two days. Biting at the bit. He gets out there and pitches. He pitches really well. And then the boys came out, we answered back right away. Scored that run and they were fired up all game.”
Corbin’s stellar outing got the Nationals off to a quick start in a week that could alter their season. They are in the midst of a stretch of six games in five days, against the Phillies and Braves, both of whom are ahead of Washington in the National League East. This span of games could give the Nats a golden opportunity to make up ground in the division.
Even after winning the first game, Washington is still in fourth place and eight games back of first-place Atlanta in the NL East, but the Nats are slowing closing the gap between them and the other teams in the division.
“Great first win today,” Corbin said. “It's been -- the last couple days have been pretty frustrating not being able to play. So it's good to just come in, see some good weather and face these guys. ... It's good to start with a win and hopefully get another one tonight.”
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.