Corbin, Nationals aim to even series with Phillies
There is not as much buzz regarding Bryce Harper during the current series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the visiting Washington Nationals as there was when the teams met in a pair of series last month.
The Nationals, who won three of five meetings with the Nationals in April, have more pressing issues as pitching coach Derek Lilliquist was fired Thursday and replaced by Paul Menhart. And Washington has now lost 10 of 14 after a 4-2 setback Friday as pitching moves in the sixth inning backfired.
Menhart and manager Dave Martinez will send lefty Patrick Corbin (2-1, 3.58 ERA) to the mound Saturday in the second game of the series, while right-hander Jake Arrieta (4-2, 3.46) will go for the Phillies.
"I have a unique way of doing things, which is very difficult to explain," Menhart said before Friday's game, sitting in the third base dugout. "I am a big believer in getting guys out as quickly as possible. This is something we have to (do) a little bit better -- attack the zone."
Former Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson made the first start under Menhart, and he went 5 1/3 innings on Friday against Philadelphia. He gave up just one run on three hits but did not get the win as reliever Dan Jennings, a lefty, gave up a three-run homer to Rhys Hoskins in the sixth to give the Phillies a lead of 4-2.
Washington, without four regulars, will now have to deal with Arrieta.
The Texas native is 1-2 with a 5.26 ERA against the Nationals in 13 starts in his career.
Current Washington batters are 35-for-135 (.259) against Arrieta. First baseman Matt Adams is eight-for-24 (.333) with a homer against Arrieta.
In his last start, Arrieta got the win on Saturday against the Marlins in a 12-9 contest. He got through five innings but could not get an out in the sixth before manager Gabe Kapler yanked him.
"It was a pretty clean game until the sixth," Arrieta told reporters after the game. "I just let it get too close and they were able to scratch out a few more runs and we had to use a couple more guys out of the bullpen than we anticipated at that point in the game."
Arrieta allowed five runs on nine hits.
Corbin will make his third start at Citizens Bank Park. His first two came with the Arizona Diamondbacks, in 2013 and 2017.
Corbin is 3-2 with a 3.41 ERA in five starts overall against the Phillies in his career.
Current Phillies are 26-for-96 (.271) with one homer against Corbin. That includes Harper, who is 4-for-10. Harper, who played in Washington from 2012-18, was 1-for-3 Friday and is now hitting .234 with six homers and 20 RBIs.
The Nationals have lost nine of 10 games to begin a series this season while the Phillies have won five of the last six overall. Washington entered the series with a 4.82 ERA.
Washington left fielder Juan Soto did not start again Friday, as he is dealing with back spasms. It was the third game in a row he missed.
The Nationals have three other Opening Day starters on the injured list: first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, third baseman Anthony Rendon, and shortstop Trea Turner.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 4, 2019