Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin defeated the Cardinals on Sept. 17 at Busch Stadium by throwing six strong innings and allowing only two unearned runs. He struck out 11 and walked four in a 6-2 Nationals victory. The former DIamondback gets his second start of the postseason tonight in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.
“Yeah, we just played them a month or so ago,” Corbin said. “I’ll just try to go over film and go over what I did do well and what I didn’t do well. At this point, everyone kind of knows what I’ve done. I just need to go out there and execute those pitches. They’re a veteran lineup. They’re going to make you work, throw pitches, throw strikes. You just can’t make a mistake to these guys.”
Corbin’s teammate, right-hander Aníbal Sánchez, won NLCS Game 1 with an incredible start that included 7 2/3 hitless innings. He watched as Corbin made a relief appearance Oct. 12 and knows the southpaw is thrilled about a chance to start in what could be a clinching game tonight.
“I know for sure, as a pitcher, he is excited to be on the mound,” Sánchez said. “I always call all those situations like a domino effect. So I think he’s pretty excited. I don’t have the opportunity to talk with him, but it’s no doubt he just wants to go there and show the best.”
Corbin said his one-batter relief appearance in NLCS Game 2 was treated like it was his normal throw day between starts. With 33 regular season starts under his belt, Corbin has made one postseason start during this run and has appeared out of the bullpen three times. He got rocked for six runs against the Dodgers in = Game 3 of the NL Division Series, but has allowed only one earned run in the other three games. Even with this current detour from his normal five days of rest, he is ready for tonight’s start.
“I feel great at this time,” Corbin said. “Been lucky to stay healthy this whole season and you just kind of continue to do what you’ve done, be smart about things. I think at this point in the season, you’re not lifting as heavy as you would and maybe backing down on some running and things like that. But pretty much the same routine. Body feels great. If you can’t get up for these games, then yeah.”
* Center fielder Victor Robles returned to the lineup Monday night and went 2-for-4 with a homer, an RBI and two runs scored. He played all nine innings on defense. Nationals manager Davey Martinez said he came out of the game fine and his right hamstring, which had sidelined him for the previous five games, felt good.
“For me, it’s getting him back at 100 percent, and once we got there, it’s for him to play, not just play him one day, sit him one day,” Martinez said. “And he felt good. Yesterday, I talked to him before the ninth inning, and I say, ‘Hey, look, I would not mind taking you out right now if you need it. If you feel like (resting), you know,’ and he says, ‘I feel great.’ He says, ‘Don’t take me out. I’m good, and I want to play.’ Obviously, he played the rest of the game. Talked to him today, and he felt great.”
Michael A. Taylor played very well in center field as a substitute for Robles. But Martinez has never replaced a starter after his return from an injury. Robles will start when healthy.
“We want him to play,” Martinez said. “As you all know, he’s an exciting player. He helped us get to this point right now. Having him in the lineup definitely helps us.”
* In NLCS Game 3, Martinez was able to go to Fernando Rodney and Tanner Rainey for the final two innings. Even with a big lead, Martinez said it was important for Rainey to build confidence by finishing a game in the postseason.
“That was part of it, yeah. I wanted him to pitch the ninth inning,” Martinez said of Rainey. “I thought it would be good for him to experience that in a big moment on a big stage, and he did well. Not having to use Doo and Huddy was awesome. We gave them a day off, and now they come back and they’re fresh for today.”
This means Martinez will have Hudson and Doolittle rested enough to pitch tonight and if necessary in tomorrow afternoon’s potential Game 5.