Nationals’ Corbin aims to bounce back against Braves

MLB

Washington’s Patrick Corbin will have plenty of motivation on Saturday when he takes the mound against the visiting Atlanta Braves.

Not only is the left-hander looking for revenge from his last poor start against the Braves but he’s trying to improve upon his sterling record at Nationals Park.

Corbin (2-4, 4.34 ERA) will get the start in the third game of the four-game series between the NL East rivals. He will be opposed by Atlanta rookie Ian Anderson (2-0, 2.40), who has emerged as the team’s second-most reliable starting pitcher.

Since joining the Nationals in 2019, Corbin is 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA in games played in Washington. He was beaten the last time out by the Braves in Atlanta, when he was roughed up for five runs in 5 1/3 innings. It was only the second time in eight starts that Corbin has allowed as many as five runs.

“They had a good game plan,” Corbin said. “I thought I made some good pitches and gave up some hits on that as well. I thought my stuff was better.”

Anderson will be making his fourth major league start. It will be his first appearance against the Nationals. His last outing came on Sept. 7 against Miami and, hurt by a high pitch count, he was only able to work three innings. He had given the Braves six innings in his first two starts against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Perhaps Corbin can pitch deep enough in the game to take the pressure off the Washington bullpen. The team’s relievers have stumbled in the first two games of the series and allowed the Braves to overcome a five-run deficit each night. The Braves won the first game with a dramatic comeback, but the Nationals prevailed in 12 innings on Friday.

“Those (relievers) are our horses,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “They’ve been throwing the ball really well. We’ll go back (Saturday), hopefully get the lead again in the seventh and you’ll see those guys out there again.”

For all the dramatic comebacks, the Braves have been leaving plenty of runners on base. On Friday they stranded 22 runners and left the bases loaded in the 11th and 12th innings. Atlanta batters were 6-for-22 with runners in scoring position.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “It isn’t because guys aren’t trying. They want to drive that run in more than anybody wants them to, believe me. It’s just one of those things. … We came back from five down again and scored seven runs. It should be enough to win.”

It is uncertain whether Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. will be able to play this weekend. He fouled a pitch off his left foot and had to leave the game. Acuna asked the trainer to come out and didn’t appear able to put any weight on the foot as he was helped off the field. But X-rays were taken and came back negative. Acuna is listed as day-to-day.

The Braves (26-19) hold a 2 1/2 game lead over Philadelphia, which split a doubleheader with Miami on Friday. The Nationals (17-26) have split eight games with the Braves this season.

–Field Level Media

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