While most of Major League Baseball has been a part of a movement of surging offensive numbers, the Washington Nationals have taken the opposite route in an incredible pitching rotation that may send them into the 2019 World Series tonight, if all goes as planned in Game 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Patrick Corbin takes the mound for the Nationals, as another ace in Washington’s lineup faces off against Cardinals’ rookie Dakota Hudson, according to Sports Illustrated.
Corbin will look to follow in the footsteps of Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg’s starting performances in the Championship series, as the trio secured a 3-0 lead while combining for 21 2/3 innings without conceding a single run. The left-handed Corbin has been a regular during Washington’s postseason, supplementing his single start with three relief appearances. He played well in his Game 1 loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing two runs, with only one earned, while racking up nine strikeouts over six innings of work. His relief appearance in Game 3 didn’t go nearly as well, as he added another loss to his record after giving up six runs in 2/3 of an inning. However, Corbin bounced back in his two relief appearances since, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
During his 33 regular-season appearances in 2019, all as starts, Corbin went 14-7 with a 3.25 ERA. In his 2019 appearances against the Cardinals, Corbin had a 1-1 record with a 4.91 ERA. Over his career, Corbin has had a notable weak spot against St. Louis’ Dexter Fowler, who has a batting average against him of.316 with a double, triple and three RBIs.
While a rookie in a high-pressure situation, Hudson has shown he has the capabilities to get it done for the Cardinals, sporting a 16-7 record with a 3.35 ERA. He possesses a 2.08 ERA against the Nationals in 2019, going 1-1 with the victory seeing him allow two runs on five hits over seven innings.
While Hudson could be enough in terms of pitching, that hasn’t been the issue for the Cardinals in the National League Championship. It’s been a batting lineup that has gone bone dry over the past three matches, picking up a paltry 11 hits, poor enough to register as tied for the 2nd-lowest in the first three games of a postseason series in major league history, along with the lowest total ever in a league championship series.
It’s been an immense drop for a Cardinals team that saw a team that entered the championship series as a slight favorite to embarrassingly facing the prospect of a sweep. While they will be desperate to get a win in the series, the Cardinals face the monumental task of rallying from a 3-0 deficit to pick up a series win, done only once by the 2004 Boston Red Sox in the ALCS against the New York Yankees en route to their World Series victory.