Tanner Roark's last start against the Atlanta Braves took place on August 9th in Turner Field, where the 27-year-old right-hander held the Nats' NL East rivals to a run on six hits in seven strong innings on the mound in a 4-1 win.
That outing left the second-year starter (2-0) in six outings, four of them starts against the Braves in his two years in the majors, over which he's put up a 2.10 ERA, nine walks (2.70 BB/9) and 24 Ks (7.20 K/9) in 30 IP, holding Atlanta's hitters to a combined .194/.276/.252 line.
Roark, the Nationals' sort-of out-of-nowhere organizational success story gets the start as the Nats take their first crack at clinching the division tonight after reducing their magic no. to 2 with last night win over Atlanta.
Can Roark lead the Nationals to the win they need?
Stephen Strasburg, who threw seven scoreless in Turner Field last night in the Nats' 4-2 win, was asked about potentially clinching tonight, but as he said, securing a postseason berth is only the start.
"One win tomorrow might be to go to the playoffs," Strasburg said, "but that's not our ultimate goal. So we've got to keep playing good baseball."
Celebrating on the Braves' home field will certainly be exciting, but more importantly, it means the Nationals will earn the right to play in the second season.
Can the Nats bring postseason baseball back to the nation's capital for just the second time since 1933?
They have a chance to guarantee it tonight.
• Here's the lineup that will take the field in Atlanta (I know it's an OCD issue for me, but how about road unis on the road?):