The art of pitching is as complex as it is a thing of beauty when you dominate like Max Scherzer last night. There is the need for repeatable “sound” mechanics when you have it all working well. Whatever the issue was for Patrick Corbin in the first two weeks of June was a mystery to many. He was fixed in his start last Wednesday when he dominated the Philadelphia Phillies. He said numerous times following three poor starts that his issues were mechanical, but there were thoughts by many who saw his issues as physical due to his heavy workload leading to fatigue. In fact, Corbin went through a four game stretch in May that was the heaviest workload of his career. Corbin claimed that fatigue was not the problem, and we will never know after Corbin pitched his last start with three extra rest days and pitched well last week. He pitches today on two days of extra rest. The dominant lefty pitches tonight in Miami and just needs to do what he did last week. If Corbin does that against the struggling Marlins offense, he should be in good shape especially if his own offense replicates what they did for Scherzer last night in a game where the Nats scored six runs early.
Of course, the Marlins have a plan of their own, and they called up Zac Gallen last week for his MLB debut. He went 5.0 innings against the Cardinals while giving up just one run. After Gallen exited, the Cardinals scored five runs and the Marlins won 7-6. So yes, on that day, the Marlins offense scored a bunch of runs and two runs late on their former starting pitcher, Andrew Miller, who is now a struggling closer (4.38 ERA) for the Cardinals.
Coincidentally, Gallen was traded by those Cardinals to the Marlins in the Marcell Ozuna trade that yielded them Gallen with Daniel Castano, Sandy Alcantara and Magneuris Sierra. You usually judge trades in hindsight, and maybe just maybe the Marlins got the better end of that deal. Alcantara has proven to be a stable middle rotation pitcher who some days looks like an ace. The Nats are scheduled to face Alcantara tomorrow. The right-handed Gallen throws the 4-seam fastball, changeup, slider and curveball. He has been known to hang some sliders, and he will also get into long counts and walk batters.
The Nats need to stay patient against Gallen and allow him to self-destruct especially since Marlins manager Don Mattingly used up their best long-man, Adam Conley, in yesterday’s game. The Cardinals knocked out Gallen with a 99 pitch count in the 5th inning last week by staying patient and working counts then they pounced on the weak Marlins bullpen.
For the Nationals, they got to rest their entire bullpen except Fernando Rodney who was the only reliever needed last night by the Nats since Scherzer pitched 8.0 innings. The bullpen needed some days off, and if all goes according to plan, Corbin can rest much of the eight bullpens arms tonight too.
In other news, Ryan Zimmerman will be finishing up his rehab stint with Double-A Harrisburg and will be activated on Friday in Detroit if all goes well. Who goes packing? Will it be Michael Taylor where the team stays with a four-man bench or do they send back a reliever and go back to the seven-man bullpen?
Speaking of the bullpen, general manager Mike Rizzo appeared on his weekly radio appearance on 106.7 and was asked about why they brought back Trevor Rosenthal from his minor league rehab assignment where he struggled.
“We had a decision to either release [Trevor Rosenthal] in the Minor Leagues or bring him [back] to the big leagues and give him one more opportunity,” Rizzo said. “We felt it was in his best interest because he’s worked so damn hard to get himself back on track to give him another chance in the big leagues, and we did.”
Don’t you make decisions as the team President and General Manager in the team’s best interest when it does not involve a player’s health like the Stephen Strasburg “shutdown” in 2012? Maybe Rosenthal deserved a second chance, but the sting of Saturday’s meltdown of walking all three batters he faced and blowing a 4-run lead had reprecussions in overusing the bullpen and that carried into the Tanner Rainey blowup that resulted in the loss on Sunday. There are no right or wrong answers rather just what the team’s responsibility should be to players.
Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins
Stadium: Marlins Park, Miami, Florida
1st Pitch: 7:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN, FOX Sports South Florida, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):