5. Roark vs the Mets: Winless in five starts since returning to the rotation in September, Tanner Roark got the nod one last time this afternoon in Citi Field in the Washington Nationals' series and season finale with the New York Mets.
After going back and forth between roles all season, when the free agent deal with Max Scherzer forced him into the bullpen, Roark got the opportunity to start again over the last month, going (0-3) with a 4.91 ERA, a 5.90 FIP, seven walks (2.45 BB/9), 12 Ks (4.21 K/9) and a .307/.376/.520 line against in 25 ⅔ innings pitched.
Those five outings left the 28-year-old right-hander (3-4) in 11 starts this season with a 5.31 ERA, a 5.61 FIP, 13 walks (1.97 BB/9), 30 Ks (4.55 K/9) and a .296/.346/.496 line against in 59 ⅓ innings pitched.
Last time out, Roark threw 104 pitches in 6 ⅔ innings on the mound in Turner Field, giving up five hits and two runs in a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams talked after that outing about Roark's ability to command his fastball better while not throwing it quite as hard as he had been at times this season in both roles he was asked to fill.
"90-92 [mph] tops," Williams said. "Locating, ball down in the zone. Generally, if he's not throwing as hard the ball is lower and sinks a little bit more and I thought he executed well tonight, not enough for him though."
"His velocity comes down but his location gets better because he gets in better rhythm and locates better," Williams explained.
"Coming out of the bullpen for an inning or whatever," Roark told reporters, "you feel great all the time -- not all the time -- but you feel great for the most part and you have a little extra one or two miles per hour to your fastball and of course you see that and it kind of tricks you into, 'Man, I can blow everything by them.'
"But then you lose your location."
"Letting the ball move," was ideal, Roark said, "... use the sinker more and command down in the zone."
This afternoon in Citi Field, in his first start of the season against the Nationals' NL East rivals from New York, Roark got off to a good start, working around a leadoff single by Curtis Granderson in a 14-pitch first.
Roark hit Lucas Duda with a 2-2 slider in the first at bat of the Mets' second, but erased him from the basepaths with a 6-4-3 DP off Travis d'Arnaud's bat in the next AB. Michael Conforto's groundout to second ended a 17-pitch second that left Roark at 31 total after two.
Curtis Granderson doubled to center on an 0-2 pitch with two down in the bottom of the third, but Roark got help from catcher Pedro Severino on a swinging bunt by David Wright that ended a 19-pitch frame. 50 pitches total. Still 0-0.
Yoenis Cespedes doubled to right-center with one out in the fourth, and Travis d'Arnaud took a two-out walk, but Michael Conforto K'd looking to end a 25-pitch fourth that left Roark at 75 pitches.
Roark retired the Mets in order in a 13-pitch fifth that pushed him up to 88 pitches and was up to 101 pitches after a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth.
• Tanner Roark's Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 101 P, 64 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
4. deGrom vs the Nationals: In five starts against Washington this season, before New York's regular season finale today, 27-year-old Mets' right-hander Jacob deGrom was (2-2) with a 3.26 ERA, seven walks (2.08 BB/9), 34 Ks (10.09 K/9) and a .219/.262/.351 line against in 30 ⅓ innings pitched.
His last start against the Nationals before this afternoon's came on September 9th in the nation's capital when the 2010 9th Round pick out of Stetson University gave up five hits, two walks and two runs in a 5-3 win in which he earned his 13th win of the season and the Mets swept the Nats.
deGrom followed that up with a rough outing at home against the Miami Marlins in which he gave up ten hits and six runs in five innings, but bounced back with a solid start against the Cincinnati Reds on the road, giving up one run in an 8-1 win in which he gave up just five hits while striking out nine.
That outing left deGrom (14-8) on the season in his second major league campaign, with a 2.60 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 36 walks (1.73 BB/9) and 198 Ks (9.53 K/9) in 187 IP, over which he's held opposing hitters to a .213/.257/.324 line.
Earlier this week, deGrom was named the Mets' Game 1 starter for their upcoming NLDS matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"It’s an honor and I’m looking forward to it," deGrom told the New York Daily News. "I think I’m ready for it."
He had to face the Nationals one more time before making his postseason debut, however.
deGrom retired the Nats in order in the first, striking out two (nos. 199 & 200 of the year) in a 14-pitch frame.
Ian Desmond and Michael Taylor took back-to-back, two-out walks in the Nationals' second, but Pedro Severino lined out to third to end deGrom's second scoreless after 30 pitches. 44 total.
deGrom added two Ks for six total in a 15-pitch third that left him at 59 pitches after three scoreless and hitless.
A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth left deGrom at 72 pitches after four scoreless and hitless.
• Jacob deGrom's Line: 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 72 P, 49 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: The Washington Nationals and New York Mets were tied at 82-82 in the all-time series between the divisional rivals after the 2013 campaign, but since then the Nats are 23-14 against the 2015 NL East champs, going 15-4 last season, and 8-10 this year.
• With one game left to play this season, the Nationals are 37-43 on the road.
• Their win in the first of two games yesterday, snapped a six-game losing streak to the Mets, and the Nationals handed their divisional rivals their fifth straight loss in the nightcap.
• The Mets are 31-17 in days games this season, including 16 wins in 25 days games in Citi Field.
• In today's Mets-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, New York's 101 homers since the All-Star break are the most by any National League team, and the fifth-most league-wide.
• In a bonus Mets-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, Jacob deGrom is (11-4) with a 2.35 ERA, 24 walks and 161 Ks in 22 starts... since May 16th.
• Bryce Harper sat out of last night's game after a HBP on his left shin in the day game. Harper enters the season finale for the Nats this afternoon ranked first in the NL in AVG (.331), OBP (.462), SLG (.650), runs scored (118), home runs (tied 1st, 42) and Wins Above Replacement (9.4 fWAR).
• In today's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Harper is 32 for 95 (.337/.476/.758) with seven doubles, 11 home runs, 26 walks and 26 runs scored in 29 games... since September 1st.
2. Turning Point(s): The Nationals and Mets were scoreless through seven and a half inning in the series finale in Citi Field, but New York struck first with Curtis Granderson hitting a solo home run to center field off Blake Treinen to put the home team up 1-0. Treinen, of course, has struggled against left-handed hitters this season, starting the day with a .333/.424/.481 line against vs lefties. He's going to have to work on that...
1. The Wrap-Up: Bartolo Colon took over on the mound for deGrom in the top of the fifth and retired to the Nationals in order to keep the combined no-hitter going.
Logan Verrett came on for the Mets in the top of the sixth inning and retired the Nationals in order for the sixth hitless inning.
Jonathon Niese retired two batters before surrendering a hard-hit single up the middle off Clint Robinson's bat that got by the pitcher and bounced off shortstop Ruben Tejada's knee for the Nats' first hit. Addison Reed came on to face Ian Desmond and struck him out on three pitches. 0-0 after six and a half.
Sammy Solis gave up a two-out single by Michael Conforto in the Mets' half of the seventh, but completed a scoreless frame on 17 pitches. Still 0-0.
Tyler Clippard threw a quick scoreless top of the eighth. Blake Treinen came on for the Nationals in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a solo home run to center by Curtis Granderson that put the Mets up, 1-0.
Bryce Harper doubled off Jeurys Familia with two down in the top of the ninth, hustling around to second on a sharp grounder by third. Jayson Werth stepped in with a runner in scoring position and two out and popped out to center to end the Nationals' season.
Nationals finish 83-79