WASHINGTON -- It has been a bit of an uneven 2017 season for right-hander Tanner Roark, who began with a disastrous first half where his ERA skyrocketed to 5.27. He has started to settle into a groove recently, and his latest strong start came in Sunday's 5-4 victory in the
WASHINGTON -- It has been a bit of an uneven 2017 season for right-hander Tanner Roark, who began with a disastrous first half where his ERA skyrocketed to 5.27. He has started to settle into a groove recently, and his latest strong start came in Sunday's 5-4 victory in the nightcap of a split-doubleheader with the Mets.
The Nationals lost to the Mets in the first game, 6-5.
Roark tossed one of his sharpest performances of the season, holding the Mets to three runs in six innings, while mixing an effective curveball and two-seamer for nine strikeouts. It was a performance which closely resembled the pitcher who posted the lowest ERA in the Nationals rotation during a breakout 2016 as he developed into one of Washington's most reliable starters.
"I wouldn't say 100 percent," Roark said about the comparison to last season. "But confidence is a heck of a thing."
Roark has reason to have confidence now. Since the All-Star break, he owns a 3.48 ERA with 27 strikeouts in five starts.
And the Nats have reasons to have confidence in him. For a rotation that already features Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Giovany Gonzalez, Roark's performance is only icing on the cake to what could be one of the postseason's most formidable rotations.
And on a night such as Sunday night when the Nats were dealing with a shortened bullpen with relievers like right-hander Brandon Kintzler unavailable due to recent heavy workloads, Roark delivered a strong start.
"That's kind of what Tanner does," right-hander Shawn Kelley said. "He's a guy that takes the ball for us and figures out a way to do what he needs to do. He picked us up big time. If he goes out earlier, we're in a real big mess. He's the reason we were able to win that game with a depleted 'pen."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.