Washington left-hander Patrick Corbin will try to continue his late-season turnaround when the Nationals host the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
Corbin (8-14, 5.98 ERA), a key part of the World Series championship rotation in 2019, struggled through the abbreviated 2020 season and much of 2021 as well. However, in his last two starts, he’s 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA, his best back-to-back efforts since June.
Last Sunday against the Pirates, Corbin allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings to earn his eighth win. It was his second straight seven-inning start.
Corbin said he is “trying to finish this year strong, pitch as deep as I can in the remaining games that I have and end the season on a high note.”
The deeper the better for Washington, as the bullpen continues to struggle, allowing four runs in 3 2/3 innings on Friday.
Manager Dave Martinez attributed Corbin’s success last time out to keeping the ball down and using both sides of the plate.
The former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher is 10-4 with a 4.51 ERA in 23 games, all but one of them as a starter, against the Rockies.
Colorado, which has won four straight, will counter with left-hander Kyle Freeland (5-8, 4.76). He has struggled in his past two starts, going 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA while giving up five home runs. He left in the first inning with a left hip impingement three starts back.
In Freeland’s last time out, Philadelphia got him for four runs in six innings. He blanked the Phillies through the first three.
“It snowballed on me pretty quick,” said Freeland, who added that his hip was not bothering him.
Freeland has made four starts against the Nationals, most recently in 2019. He is 2-1 with 2.49 ERA in those appearances.
The Rockies took advantage of Kyle Finnegan’s second blown save in two games to rally for a 9-8 win in the opener on Friday after Washington had rallied for two runs in the eighth.
Elias Diaz homered off Finnegan to start the ninth, and the Rockies eventually pushed across another run.
“We try to go away on Diaz. He threw the ball in,” manager Dave Martinez said of Finnegan. “He missed his spot by 18 inches. So, we got to get him back. We got to get him back throwing the ball down, away, where he was good, and elevated when he needs to. But he’s just missing his location.”
Brendan Rogers and Sam Hilliard homered for the Rockies, who won despite being outhit 14-8. Hilliard’s homer came just a few days after the death of his father, Jim, from Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“I think there’s no better way to honor his family, his father, than going out there and playing baseball the way he plays it,” manager Bud Black said. “When he performs successfully, it puts a lot of smiles on people’s faces.”
In his last five games, Hilliard is 6-for-15 (.400) with a double, two home runs and four RBIs.
Colorado has won four straight and six of seven on a road swing through the NL East.
Washington center fielder Lane Thomas, who was acquired from the Cardinals for pitcher Jon Lester at the trade deadline, hit a three-run homer.
In his last eight games, Thomas is 11-for-33 (.333) with two home runs, 11 RBIs, seven walks and nine runs scored. Thomas has reached base safely in 17 of his last 18 games.
Juan Soto reached base four times with three walks and a single.
–Field Level Media