Today was the day that Washington Nationals’ manager Dave Martinez has finally announced who will take the mound on Opening Day. Nationals’ southpaw Patrick Corbin has been named the Opening Day starter for back-to-back years.
Many believe the pitcher is turning his performance around, as he’s had a productive spring thus far. Through four starts this spring, the 33-year-old lefty has thrown 14 innings and 13 strikeouts against one walk. Corbin has allowed six earned runs on 15 hits, with two homers. Some advanced numbers signal Corbin deserves the ace role, as Corbin has a 3.86 ERA, a 1.143 WHIP, and 0.6 BB/9.
The 10-year veteran is a one-time All-Star, starting 260 games while throwing 1537.2 innings and tallying 1,466 strikeouts.
While Corbin was a bargain for the first year of his contract with the Nats in 2019, the rest has been brutal. Corbin will start his fifth year in a Nationals uniform. Prior to the 2019 season, Washington outbid the Yankees for the left-hander and signed him to a 6-year/$140M contract. Corbin showed early potential in D.C. with his unique pitch selection. One of the main reasons the Nationals wanted to sign Corbin was his grueling slider. Corbin prominently used his slider in 2017 and 2018, and he was able to pair the pitch with his sinker. Corbin’s 4-seam faster ball and other pitches were far more effective when his slider caused hitters to swing and miss, but when Corbin lost the feel for his slider, everything when downhill.
Last season, Corbin led a pitching staff with the worst ERA in baseball. Corbin went 6-19 with a 4.85 FIP, 6.31 ERA, 49 walks against 128 strikeouts in 31 starts, and 152 2/3 innings pitched.
Manager Davey Martinez believes Corbin has turned it around in West Palm Beach, and we certainly have seen some progress that must be translated to the regular season.
“He has come to Spring Training a different guy. He has a lot of confidence. He knows he can do this. He has had success before. ” Martinez said, he wants to put everything in the last two years behind him and just move forward,” Martinez said.
As Corbin tries to fix his mechanics and tune up for his 2023 debut on March 31st, Corbin spoke to reporters saying the following.
“It’s always special to get the ball that day. Corbin said, ” I try to come in here, do the best I can, do my job.”
I can’t recall the last time a Skipper trusted a pitcher, coming off a 19-loss season to get the nod to pitch on opening day, but the Nationals don’t have an option. If everyone stays healthy on the rotation, it should line up as follows: