While Patrick Corbin has enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2013, he's fallen off the pace down the stretch.
Stephen Strasburg has been steady all season, but he doesn't have much to show for it.
Leading the team in wins, innings pitched (203 1-3) and strikeouts (171), Corbin (14-7, 3.28 ERA) has emerged as the Diamondbacks' ace in his first full season in the majors. The left-hander, who was named to the NL All-Star team, tied the franchise record for consecutive wins to open a season by going 9-0 with a 2.06 ERA in his first 11 starts.
Corbin, though, has since gone 5-7 with a 3.98 ERA, including 1-4 with a 7.84 ERA in his last six outings.
"He just doesn't have a lot of life on his pitches right now," manager Kirk Gibson told MLB's official website.
After allowing six runs over two-plus innings in the shortest start of his career Sept. 17 in a 9-3 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers , Corbin surrendered four runs and a career-high 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings Sunday in a 13-9 win at Colorado.
"I left some breaking balls up today, I thought it was my worst all year," he said. "My slider is not as sharp right now. I know that and I'm just not as consistent with it. I don't know why."
Corbin is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts versus Washington (84-75). He yielded two runs in seven innings opposite Strasburg in a 3-2, 11-inning road win June 27.
After getting shut down early last season, Strasburg (7-9, 3.02) has struck out 187 over a career-high 176 innings while posting a .206 opponents' batting average, among the lowest marks in baseball.
Despite those numbers, Strasburg will head into the offseason with a losing record. The Nationals have provided him with a combined 11 runs of support in his defeats, though.
"I think for me, there's a lot of things that I've learned this year," he said. "A lot of improvements to be made. And I'm going to work harder than I did the last offseason, and that's all you can really do."
Strasburg, 2-0 in his last eight outings, gave up three runs over six innings in a 5-4 walkoff win over Miami in the back end of Sunday's doubleheader. He struck out six to become the third-fastest player to 500, doing so in 426 1-3 innings. Only former Cubs' starters Kerry Wood (404 2-3 innings) and Mark Prior (421 2-3) were quicker.
Strasburg is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts versus Arizona (80-79), which just dropped three of four at San Diego by a combined 20-7 score. Martin Prado hit a two-run homer in Thursday's 3-2, 11-inning defeat.
Paul Goldschmidt singled and scored, extending his hitting streak to 16 games. The first baseman, batting .406 with five homers and 17 RBIs during that stretch, is hitting .395 with a homer and nine RBIs in his last 10 games versus Washington.
The Nationals are hoping to avoid losing four straight for the first time since Aug. 4-7 after getting swept at St. Louis this week. Washington managed one run in the final two games of that set, falling 4-1 in Wednesday's finale.
"There's pride that comes into it when you play these games," manager Davey Johnson said. "This club is used to being a spoiler but we didn't play that well."
Washington has taken six of eight from Arizona.
|September 08, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Left hip soreness|
|August 22, 2013||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|August 17, 2013||Taylor Jordan||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|August 13, 2013||Wilson Ramos||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left hamstring|
|August 11, 2013||Jayson Werth||Day-to-Day||Right knee|
|August 01, 2013||Ross Ohlendorf||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|September 07, 2013||Martin Prado||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|August 24, 2013||J.J. Putz||15-Day DL||Dislocated right pinky finger|
|August 24, 2013||J.J. Putz||15-Day DL||Dislocated right pinky finger|
|August 12, 2013||Cody Ross||60-Day DL||Dislocated right hip|
|August 11, 2013||Cody Ross||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right hip|
|August 10, 2013||Eric Chavez||15-Day DL||Hip and knee injuries|
PHOENIX (AP) -- Stephen Strasburg was allowed to finish his season this time, and he finished it in fine style.
Supported by three-run homers from Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos , the young right-hander went seven strong innings in the Washington Nationals ' 8-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.
Strasburg (8-9) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings with four strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter.
Manager Davey Johnson, who is retiring at the end of the season, said Strasburg's win-loss record in no way reflects the way he pitched.
"He had a great season. He's a phenomenal young man, going to have a great career," Johnson said. "We didn't score him any runs. He should have won 15 ball games, at least. Certainly he was consistent all year long. `'
Strasburg, whose season is littered with no decisions, had a solid finish after being shut down in the late stages of last season to rest his arm even though Washington was on a playoff run.
"I'd say I learned a lot," Strasburg said. "It's all about whether I can learn to apply it.
Werth, who missed the early part of the season with a hamstring injury, sent a pitch from Patrick Corbin (14-8) soaring to deep left field for his 25th home run. Ramos' 16th homer was off Chaz Roe in the seventh.
The victory came after the Nationals were swept in three games in St. Louis. The loss Monday eliminated the Nationals from playoff contention after they had the best record in baseball a year ago (98-64).
It was another tough outing for Corbin, who started the season 12-1, but was 2-7 in his final 12 starts. He went five innings, allowing five runs, six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. The young left-hander allowed 32 earned runs in his last 34 innings.
"This last month has been difficult for me and something I want to get over," Corbin said. "The team didn't like how the season ended, but at the end of the year when I get back home I will try to improve and get better and make sure it doesn't happen again next year."
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson defended his young pitcher, noting that Corbin's slider was not as effective late in the year as it was early, when it could be devastating.
"He left with his head down but I told him to keep his head up," Gibson said. "He had an outstanding year for us."
Strasburg was 3-0 in his last eight starts. The Nationals won seven of them.
"I think physically I held up pretty well," Strasburg said. "I think one thing I learned is sometimes less is more. I like to work really hard and when you reach a point in September you've really got to back things off or it's going to be counterproductive."
Arizona broke a scoreless tie in the third when Didi Gregorius drew a leadoff walk and Corbin was hit in the foot by a pitch. Adam Eaton 's single loaded the bases, then Gerardo Parra singled home the game's first run. Paul Goldchmidt grounded sharply into a double play, but a run scored to make it 2-0.
Washington got a run in the fourth on Bryce Harper 's RBI double, then took over with a four-run fourth.
Consecutive doubles by Tyler Moore and Anthony Rendon tied it at 2-2. Jeff Kobernus walked and, with two outs, just after he had broken a bat he had used for weeks, Werth hit one long and hard off the pitch-count scoreboard just below the Friday's Front Row Sports Grill in left field. The three-run shot put Washington in control 5-2.
Ramos blew the game open with his three-run shot in the eighth.
Down 8-2, the Diamondbacks scored twice in the ninth on Gregorius' groundout to short and Matt Davidson 's double to center.
Goldschmidt singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, matching his career best set earlier this year.
NOTES: Strasburg threw 183 innings this season, Corbin 208 1-3. Strasburg is 25, Corbin 26. ... Johnson says LHP Gio Gonzalez could start the season finale Sunday but indicated the situation remains in flux. ... The run that scored when Goldschmidt hit into a double play does not count toward his NL-leading total of 124 RBIs. Goldschmidt leads the NL with 36 HRs, one more than Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez . ... Washington has four players with at least 20 HRs: Ryan Zimmerman (26), Werth (25), Harper (20) and Ian Desmond (20). ... Arizona dropped to .500 (80-80). The Diamondbacks have not been under .500 all season. Last year they finished 81-81. ... On Saturday night, Washington sends RHP Dan Haren (9-14, 4.87) to the mound against Arizona's RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-10. 4.64).