If you thought Patrick Corbin would work his way out of his funk, it did not happen for the third straight game and four of his last five games as Corbin gave up seven runs in this game including a grand slam in the first inning. The box score looks better than the pitching performance as his defense made some spectacular plays behind him to help his cause. The Nationals battled back and had the winning run in the batter’s box in the 8th inning when Adam Eaton flew out in a 3-2 count with White Sox closer Alex Colome on the ropes. Anthony Rendon hit his second homer of the game in the 9th inning off of Colome to pull to 7-5 but the Nats could not push any more runs across and leave Chicago with a loss.
The Nationals are one of the hottest teams in baseball over the last 19 days. The team is 12-5 in that span, and the Nationals have not had a starting pitcher lose a game since May 19th — except for Patrick Corbin who is now 1-4 in that span. Corbin has publicly said that his issues are mechanical, but it is clear it is more than mechanical issues. He turns 30-years-old next month and has had a history of arm issues so you have to go back to Corbin throwing a career high in pitch count at 118 pitches on May 4th in a 6-inning no-decision to go with a 116 pitch performance on a complete game performance when his team had a 5-0 lead. That is a lot of pitches on his odometer. In his last three starts, Corbin’s ERA is 11.37 with a 4.97 BB/9 and a .379 BAA. Compare that to all of his other starts when his ERA was 2.85 with a 2.72 BB/9 and a .231 BAA.
At this point you have to consider swapping out Joe Ross for a spot start or two for Corbin to give him a rest. Would general manager Mike Rizzo do that? Who knows but the Phillies just went through this with Zach Eflin and he took a 10-day stint on the IL and came back and looked sharp. The Twins just did the same with Michael Pineda, and the Dodgers have been doing this with pitchers for years now. The Nationals have never really taken advantage of the IL for starting pitchers unless they are “really” hurt — but look what it did for the Nationals’ starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez.
“It’s location and his slider is short right now,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We will try to work on some things with him and see if we can get him back on track.”
In the postgame media session, Martinez was adamant that fatigue was not an issue with Corbin based on Martinez’s discussions with Corbin.
You have to consider all options with Corbin, but it is understandable that there are no easy decisions especially considering that the starting pitching depth in the minors is not deep and Joe Ross would seem to be the next in line and has not been pitching well himself. But would Ross be any worse than Corbin?
An aside to how well Adam Eaton has been playing lately is that in the “clutch” he has been the worst among the Nats starters in RISP hitting at 11-57 (.193) and in tonight’s 2-outs RISP spot in the 8th inning — is now 2-28 (.071) in those 2-out RISP spots.
There were some Nats highlights in the game like Anthony Rendon‘s two home runs, a bullpen shutout, and Victor Robles making a circus catch in centerfield. He actually had two diving catches in the game to help his pitchers. In a win, these plays and accomplishments would have been at the top of a post-game article. In addition, Rendon moved up to a +3.1 WAR on Fangraphs and the top third basemen in all of baseball as well as the 6th player overall in WAR only trailing only Cody Bellinger 4.5, Mike Trout 4.5, Christian Yelich 4.4, Max Scherzer 3.6, and Joey Gallo 3.3. Tell me again who Rendon is 5th in the NL All-Star voting at third base?