The offense was back on track with another double digit margin in this victory, and Patrick Corbin threw an 8-inning shutout allowing 3 hits with some help from his defense and offense. Juan Soto skied high over the six foot wall in PNC Park’s leftfield to steal a home run, and Victor Robles had some catches that he made look easy. The Nats offense scored 11 runs on a night that Soto went 0-4 and stranded 7 runners. Every Nats starter scored at least one run, and every batter reached base safely.
For Patrick Corbin, he easily could have gone for the complete game as his pitch count was only 93, but manager Dave Martinez learned from the last time that he allowed Corbin to go all the way for a complete game shutout and in that game the pitch count went to 116 and his lefty then fell into a deep funk for several games directly afterwards. If Corbin had a 25-pitch ninth inning for instance tonight to complete a game with an 11-0 lead, what is gained? Just some personal accolades. The big picture is on October, and this was a wise move by Martinez to show that he has evolved in his thinking especially after Corbin was coming off of a 110 pitch outing last week in a one-run game.
“This is the time of year with us scoring all of those runs to give him a breather,” Martinez said. “That’s all it was — keep him under one hundred pitches.”
Having a large lead to work with changed Corbin’s strategy mid-game to not stalk strikeouts and go for pitch efficiency and induce weak contact for quick outs. It worked as he and his catcher Yan Gomes moved his two-seam fastball around the zone with fewer of his swing and miss sliders (30). The strategy worked, and he nearly turned three doubleplays.
“I know teams, when they face me, they know they’re going to see a lot of sliders,” Corbin said. “Some lay off, some don’t. You’ve just got to execute your fastball when you can command it to both sides of the plate and have a good mix there. You can get quicker outs, and get groundballs and work deeper into ballgames.”
Tonight was the four year anniversary of Trea Turner’s debut, and he marked this anniversary against the team that drafted him out of high school. In fact, the Pirates were the only team who scouted him in High School and they took him in the 20th round, but all thirty teams were on the Palm Beach County product when he starred at NC State and he became a top draft pick in the first round by the Padres.
For milestones, Anthony Rendon knocked in his 100th RBI tonight as he stays hot, and “Tony Two Bags” has over 30 games remaining to add to that total and possibly set a Nationals record which sits at 110 knocked in.
The Nationals compiled most of their eleven runs scored tonight from doubles and singles, and the Nats came close to home runs but only had one coming off the bat of their newest player, Asdrubal Cabrera, who has only been here for two weeks and eleven games and is batting .324 with 13 RBIs, a .422 OBP and 1.044 OPS. The bulk of his contract is being paid by the Rangers who cut him and as a free agent he chose the Nats over the Mets. With Brian Dozier gone for 3 games on paternity leave and last week with the flu, Droobs has stepped up big time, and while he will not be “Wally-Pipped” by his teammate, you can expect Cabrera to take some games against right-handed pitchers in place of Dozier.
“The first day when I got here, it was like I was with this team from Spring Training,” Cabrera said. “They gave me a warm welcome, and I appreciate that from everybody in here. I feel part of the family.”
Tomorrow is Thursday and also Scherzday as Max Scherzer will come off an extended stay on the 10-day IL which will require a player to be removed from the active roster. The watch will also be on Joe Ross who did not do his side session bullpen work, and scheduled to do it tomorrow if his shin feels well enough as he is the 5th starter now. If Ross cannot go, it would be Erick Fedde on an extra day’s rest.
On a different note, MASN’s Bob Carpenter who calls all of the Nationals game will be on a leave of absence as his wife, Debbie, is having a tumor removed from her leg that has not been biopsied. We send our thoughts and prayers to the Carpenter family as they have been mainstays in our Nats family, and to that we will see – you – later!