After another romp against the Washington Nationals on Friday night, the Braves are back in action on Saturday afternoon, with Kyle Wright set to square off against Patrick Corbin.
Wright’s had a weird last few starts, dating back to the middle of June. I can just take a screenshot and you’ll see what I mean.
In three straight starts, he suffered from some combination of unfortunate BABIP, HR/FB, sequencing (LOB%), multiple of the above, leading to 12 runs yielded across three starts. (For comparison, Wright had yielded just eight runs in his prior five starts.) But in his two most recent outings, he’s had some meh-to-bad peripherals, yet allowed just two runs in the process.
With that said, it’s a little hard to tell what implications this has for Wright’s immediate future. He still has a sparkling 68/78/86 overall line, and remains a top-20 starter despite the not-so-great recent run. His pitch mix hasn’t really changed too much, so these are probably just the weird pseudo-ups-and-downs any pitcher experiences over the marathon that is the MLB season.
This will be Wright’s first start against the Nationals since his ascension to his current iteration, as he missed them in both series earlier this season. He did face them in September 2020 (four runs, a homer, 4/2 K/BB ratio in six innings), but that was clearly a different pitcher than the guy the Braves have now. The Nats also torched him for seven runs in 2 2⁄3 innings back in 2019, and there were a couple of relief outings mixed in there as well, if we’re being comprehensive.
Dueling Wright today will be Patrick Corbin, the 32-year-old lefty who’s having a pretty unlucky season. Corbin’s 135/111/103 line isn’t good, but he certainly doesn’t deserve the spoils of a sub-65 percent strand rate. Of course, the Nationals’ dreadful defense has a big role to play in that. With that said, Corbin is coming off a mini-run of effectiveness — he’s allowed just one run in his past 15 innings spanning two starts, with a 16/3 K/BB ratio (driven by a 12/2 against the Pirates). Still, he had allowed six homers in the three starts before this run, so don’t quaver in trepidation or anything.
The Braves already thwacked Corbin this year, forcing a 3/3 K/BB ratio and six runs upon him in 2 2⁄3 innings, and have consistently fared well against him. Since he became a Nat, he’s had two or three good starts against them, and gotten hit hard in six others.
As always, you kind of have to wonder what’s going on with the Nats and their pitching strategy. Corbin is throwing more sinkers and changeups this year at the expense of his slider, but comparatively, his slider has consistently been his best pitch. Both the sinker and changeup are allowing .400+ xwOBAs this year — you have to go back to 2019 to find a pitch that he A) threw more than 10 percent of the time and B) didn’t have an xwOBA-against of .390+ that wasn’t the slider. In any case, this isn’t really the Braves’ problem: the Nats still owe Corbin another $71 million or so; they’ve gotten a decent 6.9 fWAR for $55 million spent so far, with most of that coming in 2019, but Corbin hasn’t really built much of a buffer to compensate for the latter half of his contract.
Washington Nationals @ Atlanta Braves
Saturday, July 10, 2022
4:10 pm ET
Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan
XM Radio: Ch. 181