The latest chapter in the saga of Patrick Corbin will play out Tuesday night when the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates meet the Washington Nationals in the second of their three-game series.
Corbin (3-10, 6.60 ERA) was an integral part of Washington's 2019 championship team, going 14-7 with a 3.25 ERAin the regular season and earning a relief win with three scoreless innings in Game 7 of the World Series.
Since then, however, the 32-year-old left-hander is 14-33 with a 5.76 ERA in 57 starts. Corbin's ERA has fluctuated between 6.06 and 6.96 over his last nine starts with every step forward seemingly followed by one or two back.
On June 16 against the Philadelphia Phillies, he was victimized by poor defense and his line read nine runs (two earned) on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings of a loss. Last time out, he allowed three runs on seven hits over four innings of a loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. He struck out six and walked one.
"He's throwing strikes and he's pounding the strike zone, so I want him to continue to do that, and it's just a matter of time before things start going his way," Washington manager Dave Martinez said, "We score a few runs here and there for him, and you'll see him pitch six innings, (allow) two to three runs and start winning ballgames."
Pittsburgh turns to 33-year-old left-hander Jose Quintana (1-4, 3.60 ERA) as it looks to snap a four-game losing streak.
Quintana hasn't won since May 9, though the Pirates are 3-5 in his past eight starts. He allowed two runs over six innings while picking up a no-decision against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. He struck out six and walked one.
"I felt really good," Quintana said postgame. "I felt, today, more economical in my pitches. Quick outs. Get to the sixth inning, throw the ball better."
He is 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA in two career starts against Washington, while Corbin is 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA in 11 starts against Pittsburgh. The pair opposed each other on April 17 at Pittsburgh, but neither factored into the decision.
Washington won for the fifth time in seven games on Monday as Maikel Franco's two-run, eighth-inning homer turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory.
"He's that guy. He's that guy that brings a lot of energy every day. It was electric," Martinez said of Franco. "You saw the guys in front of the dugout, which I'd rather them do it in the dugout, but you know it's a big moment."
Luis Garcia had three hits for Washington, including two doubles, and scored twice.
Rookie Oneil Cruz homered for the Pirates and Hoy Park had two hits. In his first eight major league games this season -- he played in two games last season -- Cruz has eight hits and eight RBIs.
"In the past week, I've noticed that I'm growing a lot more and knowledgeable in the (strike) zone over here at this level," he said. "I'm just becoming a lot more smarter and wiser in what pitches I want to swing at and which ones I want to avoid swinging at."
Pittsburgh's Josh VanMeter, recalled Monday from Triple-A Indianapolis where he had been rehabbing a fractured finger, went 1-for-3 and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
--Field Level Media