In his last two starts, 27-year-old right-hander Tanner Roark has allowed one earned run (0.60 ERA) in 15 IP, walking two and striking out 15 while holding opposing hitters to a .185/.214/.259 line.
In two career starts against San Diego, after throwing eight scoreless last night in the Washington Nationals' 6-0 win, Roark has thrown 17 innings on the mound in which he hasn't allowed a run. Roark threw his first complete game shutout against the Padres earlier this season in D.C, then went eight innings without allowing a run in the series opener on Friday night in Petco Park.
Roark's 11 strikeouts last night were a career high and he induced 10 ground ball outs from the 29 batters he faced, allowing just three hits total, two of them in his final inning of work in a dominant outing that continued a strong stretch by the Nationals' starting pitchers.
In the last four games, all of which they've won, the Nationals gave gotten seven scoreless innings from Jordan Zimmermann, seven strong innings from Stephen Strasburg in which gave up four runs, two earned, seven innings from Doug Fister in which held the Phillies to two runs and then eight scoreless from Roark last night.
In those 29 innings, the Nats' starter have walked one batter while striking out 31.
"I think that they all take pride in throwing the ball over the plate," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after Roark's outing last night.
"If they can have fastball command, that helps with those kind of numbers. You certainly don't expect that all the time, but the pitching staff has been great. The starters have been fantastic. We're scoring some runs and we have been over the last week or so, that all helps with them relaxing out there too."
The Nationals have outscored their opponents 25-6 over that stretch.
Tanner Roark didn't need any more run support than Anthony Rendon provided with his two-run home run in the first. Roark dominated the Padres hitters and broke a three-start losing streak. Roark allowed just six runs total in 20 IP (2.25 ERA) in the losses, but the Nationals scored just three runs total in those games.
On the year, Roark is (4-4) after last night's win with a 2.91 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 18 walks (2.09 BB/9) and 61 Ks (7.10 K/9) in 12 starts and 77 1/3 IP.
Roark's work on the mound in San Diego was just more of the same from the sort-of out nowhere right-hander who has the fifth-lowest ERA (2.34) amongst National League pitchers with at least 130 IP over the past two seasons since he made his MLB debut. His 2.91 ERA this season is the lowest amongst the Nationals' regular starters.
"He's been pitching like that for us all year," Williams told reporters. "You look at it, I saw a stat today, that will make nine quality starts for us this year. That's really good. So, just continues to pound the zone. All of his pitches. Pretty impressive."
Last night, Roark dominated the Padres while working predominantly with two pitches.
"Two-seamer and changeup and not a lot curveballs tonight," Williams said. "He used it a couple of times, he got one strikeout on it I think, but mostly fastball/changeup. Both sides of the plate. He's really effective when he can do that."
• We talked about the Nats' win, Roark's myth and the 2014 Draft on the latest edition of Nats Nightly: