Losses cannot dull Corbin’s belief in himself

No major league pitcher had more losses in 2022 than Patrick Corbin at 19. And no one amassed more Ls in 2021 than Corbin at 16. Last season’s ERA for the Washington Nationals left-hander was 6.31. A year earlier? 5.82.

It’s hard not to notice these numbers. It’s hard not to comment on them. Corbin is all too aware of this.

“It really doesn’t matter what other people say,” he said Tuesday at his home clubhouse in Nationals Park before Washington beat the New York Yankees 3-0 in an exhibition final. “I just believe in myself and in what I’ve done.”

Most notably, that includes a starring role as a starter and helper as the Nationals won the 2019 World Series championship. If that seems like it’s been forever, it’s probably because it’s sort of a franchise that’s come last in NL East every year since, finishing 55-107 in 2022.

When the Nationals host the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, there are only two players in Washington’s 26-man roster who fought for the title four years ago: Corbin and midfielder Victor Robles.

Standing on the mound will be Corbin, a 33-year-old in season five of a six-year, $140 million contract who earned at least part of it as an NL All-Star with a 3.15 ERA for Arizona in 2018. It’s his second start in a row on Opening Day for a rotation currently missing World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg and top contender Cade Cavalli through injuries.

“Look, he’s a veteran. He’s done it before. Towards the end of spring he threw the ball really well. He really did,” manager Dave Martinez said of Corbin. “We’ve had a lot of conversations about putting everything that happened behind us. In the past. Let’s move on. Let’s start again.”

One thing that hasn’t changed with Corbin has been the ability to be ready for any launch. He made 32 in 2017, 33 apiece in 2018 and 2019, 31 apiece in 2021 and 2022.

Those numbers are treasured by any manager, even if the other numbers that have been linked to Corbin recently have not been ideal.

“He’s not a very demonstrative guy, but it bothered him. He’d be the first to tell you he didn’t live up to his expectations,” said pitching coach Jim Hickey. “But he never pointed the finger or apologized. And give him credit: he took the ball every five days and he never backed down. He never wanted out of a ball game. Hopefully this year will be a little bit better for him – and I think they will.”

Corbin’s success relied on a top-notch slider paired with his fastball. He worked this spring on improving both of those pitches — giving his slider more shape, keeping his fastball down — and incorporating rotation more often.

“Sometimes when things are going well you feel like you can’t go wrong and you just go out there and pitch. And sometimes when things aren’t going well, you might feel fine, or sometimes you might not, but you’re always looking or trying to find a way to turn it around. Maybe that’s how it was,” he said. “We’ve cleaned up a few things. Sometimes you just have to simplify, go back to what you’re good at, go back to what you’ve been good at. For me, this is my slider.”


Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes, who allowed an unmerited run in four innings in his third show start Tuesday, is on track to start the season in the rotation. … After the game, manager Aaron Boone said New York is sending RHP Greg Weissert, RHP Ian Hamilton and OF Willie Calhoun to the minors while OFs Estevan Florial and Rafael Ortega await a decision on the final lineup. … RHP Josiah Gray starts Saturday’s Game 2 for Washington against Atlanta, followed by LHP MacKenzie Gore on Sunday. RHP Trevor Williams will line up Monday night to open a series against visiting Tampa Bay. … 1B Matt Adams will report to Triple-A Rochester after being told he would not be included on Washington’s opening day list.

Source : www.washingtontimes.com

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