Phillies stymied by lefty Corbin, go sweepless in D.C. originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
When you looked at Washington Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin’s numbers coming into Thursday’s start, you couldn’t help but think that the Phillies had a pretty good chance to pull off their first three-game road series sweep since April 13-15, 2018.
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Corbin entered the start, his seventh of the season, with an ERA of 7.36 and a WHIP of 1.534, and he’d given up 9.5 hits, 3.1 homers and 4.3 walks per nine innings.
Sweep city, right?
Not so fast.
Corbin, who passed on a chance to pitch for the Phillies when he signed a six-year, $140 million contract with the Nationals before the 2019 season, turned everything around Thursday and pitched his best game of the season to prevent the Phillies from posting that elusive three-game road sweep.
The Phillies lost the game, 5-1, but ended up taking two of three for their first road series win of the season.
The loss dropped the Phillies to 20-18 on the season and 7-12 on the road. They have three games remaining on this trip, starting Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida.
There was another reason beside Corbin’s struggles to like the Phillies’ chances Thursday.
Phillies starter Zach Eflin had allowed two or fewer runs in five of seven starts this season.
Eflin was presented with an early 1-0 lead when Andrew McCutchen doubled in the top of the first inning, moved to third on a ground out and scored on the back end of a double steal with Bryce Harper.
That lead did not last beyond the first inning.
Eflin left two balls over the heart of the plate in the bottom of the first and Kyle Schwarber and Josh Bell clubbed them both for a pair of two-out, two-run homers.
That was pretty much the ballgame because the Phillies did nothing against Corbin the remainder of his stay. He scattered five hits over seven innings of one-run ball, walked none and struck out nine. He had entered the game striking out just 6.1 batters per nine. Corbin helped himself by throwing a first-pitch strike to 20 of 26 batters.
The Phillies began to stir a little after Corbin exited the game. They got the first two runners on base in the eighth against reliever Tanner Rainey but came away empty as Rainey and Daniel Hudson combined to get the next three hitters, Jean Segura, Harper and Rhys Hoskins on a fly ball, a strikeout and a groundout.
End of threat.
End of modest two-game winning streak.
Phillies hitters struck out 11 times and were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Vince Velasquez (1-0, 4.18) will get the start Friday night against the Blue Jays. Lefty Steven Matz, who the Phillies know well from his time with the Mets, will start for the Jays. He is 5-2 with a 4.86 ERA.
Aaron Nola will pitch Saturday night and Chase Anderson on Sunday afternoon.