Nationals hope skipping start will help Patrick Corbin get back on track

Nats hope skipping start will help Corbin get back on track originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin will skip his turn in the team’s pitching rotation and sit out his next scheduled start. 

After failing to get out of the first inning in two of his last three outings, Corbin will take the extra time to tweak his delivery and potentially get to the bottom of his continued struggles on the mound.

“It’s so difficult to work on things during the season because you’re always in constant preparation for your next start,” Mike Rizzo told the Sports Junkies Wednesday. “I think this will give him a little time to step back. We can really dive into the video and the film and give them a chance to do a little tweaking with our pitching people in a less competitive venue where you could come out, pitch a bullpen, work on some things and try and tweak his delivery a little bit and just get back on track where we need him to be.”

Corbin simply hasn’t been himself since helping the Nats win a World Series in 2019, but he’s been even worse lately as Washington enters the final two months of the 2022 campaign. 

Over his last three starts, Corbin has a 25.41 ERA and only made it out of the first inning once during that stretch. Two promising starts against the Pirates and Marlins in late June and early July are a distant memory now. Corbin’s season ERA has climbed to 7.02.

Could his struggles be a confidence issue? Rizzo isn’t ruling anything out as the team moves forward through this challenging time with a high-priced arm. 

“[Confidence] is a tremendous factor in the success and performance of these athletes,” Rizzo said. “And it doesn’t matter how much success you’ve had in the past or what your paycheck says or what kind of car you drive. Confidence is a fleeting thing, and when things go bad you have to really dig deep into your mental fitness and try and come out the other end of it still feeling good about yourself.”

The Nats still owe Corbin $59 million over the next two seasons, so it behooves them to help the lefty figure things out. To take it even further, as Washington rebuilds its roster and continues to call up young pitchers as potential pieces of the next great Nationals rotation, they’ll need veterans like Corbin to eat innings. 

Right now, he’s struggling to even do that, so it’s time to reset. 

“He takes the ball every five days and when things don’t go right, he faces the media like the professional that he is,” Rizzo said. “This guy’s had a lot of success in his career. He’s been in the top 10 in Cy Young twice in his career and we all know what he did in 2019, and 2018 for that matter with the D-backs. He knows that he’s a healthy pitcher and he’s way better than this, and he’s got to figure out a way to get back to where he has been at in the past and to take us into the future.”

Corbin’s next start is scheduled to come on August 16 against the Cubs at Nats Park.

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