Patrick Corbin ending Nats’ historic losing streak latest in weird career arc

Aug 29, 2022, 2:44 PM
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin throws during the third inning of a baseball g...

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin earned his first victory in two months on Sunday.

The southpaw pitched six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out five in a quality start against the Cincinnati Reds. As a result, his record improved to 5-17, and his ERA improved from 6.81 to 6.56. On top of the personal success of his Sunday start, the 33-year-old earned the first win by a Washington Nationals starter in 43 games.

That is the longest winless streak for a starting rotation in modern MLB history.

This streak poses as a reminder of just how far Corbin has fallen since his days in the desert — and how weird his career has been. The left-hander was an All-Star in his first full season as a starter (2013). Before the 2014 season, he underwent Tommy John Surgery, keeping him off the field until July 2015. Though his limited 2015 sample yielded positive results, he followed that up with a 4.53 ERA the next two seasons.

It wasn’t until 2018 that Corbin returned to form as a premier pitcher in the National League. With exactly 200 innings and a 3.15 ERA, Corbin finished fifth in Cy Young voting in his final season with the D-backs.

After six seasons, Corbin had a 3.91 career ERA, as well as the third-most strikeouts in team history.

That propelled him into a six-year, $140 million contract with the Nationals.

Corbin’s departure appeared significant for Arizona after 2019; the left-hander finished 11th in Cy Young voting and had the 13th-best ERA among qualifying MLB starters.

However, since 2020, his 5.87 ERA is the worst in the major leagues — and by a comfortable margin. Among starters with at least 250 innings since 2020, he has a 12-loss lead on second-place.

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