On July 13, Tanner Roark added yet another loss to his record as the Washington Nationals fell to the lowly New York Mets. This was Roark’s sixth straight loss and his record fell to 3-12 with a 4.87 ERA. Since the All-Star break, Roark has come alive improving his record to 6-12, winning three straight games in three appearances. In that stretch, his ERA is 0.82 with 20 strikeouts. Roark has a history of struggling in the first half of the season and dominating in the second half. Throughout his career, Roark’s performance in the second half of the season is 32-18 with a 2.25 era. Roark would need to rekindle his second-half magic in the remaining games to overcome his abysmal start.
July 25 vs. Milwaukee
Tanner Roark’s first start after the All-Star break was against the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee was 58-45 heading into the game against Roark. The Brewers and Nationals were in the midst of a three-game series where the Brewers took the first two games.
Tanner Roark was trying to find himself as well as help his team avoid a sweep. Roark was able to do just that as he threw eight shutout innings with a season-high 11 strikeouts and only gave up three hits. The Nationals went on to win the game 7-3. In six starts against the Brewers, Roark is 4-1 with a 2.23 era.
July 31 vs. New York
Tanner Roark’s second start since the All-Star break was against a lack-luster New York Mets. Roark’s dismal first half was not all his fault as the bullpen blew a few leads and his offense lacked run support. This time Roark would have plenty of help from his offense and bullpen.
Roark went seven innings, giving up one run and struck out seven. The Nationals went on to route the Marlins 25-4. Roark helped himself out as he went 2-5 at the plate and hit a three-run double. In the first inning with the Nationals up 3-0, Steven Matz intentionally walked Matt Wieters to load the bases so he could face Tanner Roark. Matz regretted this as Roark smacked a bases-clearing double to put the Nationals up 6-0. Roark found his missing magic as he improved to 2-0 since the break.
August 5 vs. Cincinnati
Roark’s third start since the break would come against an inconsistent Reds team. This would be a tough matchup because the Red’s were hitting .299 against Roark.
True to form, Roark came out strong and he never took his foot off the gas. He held the Reds to one run through seven innings as the Nationals prevailed 2-1.
In the top of the fourth, the Reds had four straight singles to cut the lead in half. Roark refocused and was able to get out of the jam with the Nationals still in the lead. He was able to get Tucker Barnhart to pop up, struck out Brandon Dixon and got Luis Castillo to fly out. This would be the Reds’ best chance to score and Roark slammed the door on them.
Roark has settled down and provided stability to the pitching staff behind Max Scherzer. Roark’s resurgence has come at a perfect time when people are needed to step up until Stephen Strasburg can return from the DL and Gio Gonzalez can return to form.
Featured Image from Federal Baseball.