Tanner Roark held San Francisco Giants’ hitters to one run on four hits over seven innings of work on the mound last week in AT&T Park, earning his 10th win of the season in what ended up 4-2 game in Washington’s favor.
Roark, 29, finished the month of July with a 2.97 ERA, a 3.44 FIP, nine walks (2.23 BB/9), 24 Ks (5.95 K/9) and a .222/.285/.294 line against in six games and 36 ⅓ innings pitched.
Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker praised Roark’s ability to escape the trouble he found himself in and limit the damage the Giants were able to do.
“He got out of some jams. He was throwing quite a few breaking balls which isn't really him too much and he got out of a couple jams with runners on third, less than two outs, and that's big when you do that because you see we end up winning the game by two runs and if those two runs score on a sacrifice fly or whatever it is, then it would be a different ballgame.”
Before tonight’s game in Phoenix, Arizona’s Chase Field, Baker compared Roark to one of the all-time great starters in terms of his build ... and ... fortitude?
“He doesn’t have that prototypical-type pitcher’s body, but he’s strong,” Baker said.
“He’s built kind of like Roger Clemens was a little bit and the guy’s got some big — you know — some guts, big guts.”
“I think he’s returning to where he was two years ago when he won 15 games, he’s on that same pace now.”
Heading into tonight’s start, Roark was (10-6) on the year with a 2.96 ERA, a 3.39 FIP, 41 walks (2.70 BB/9) and 113 Ks (7.44 K/9) in 22 games, 21 starts and 136 ⅔ IP.
Roark found himself in a jam again early tonight just three batters into the second game of three in Arizona as the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with no one out, but the right-hander got a double play grounder out of Jake Lamb and limited the D-Backs to just one run to keep it tied at 1-1 after one.
The only other runs Roark allowed in 6 ⅓ innings of work came on solo home runs by Yasmany Tomas and Jake Lamb in the second and sixth, respectively, as Roark earned his 11th decision of the season in what ended up a 10-4 win.
Roark gave up seven hits, two walks and the three runs total, on a night when he was not particularly sharp but battled, throwing 103 pitches total before he was done on the mound.
“That’s Tanner,” Baker told reporters. “That’s vintage Tanner. He’s a battler, he doesn’t give in. That was a big play, big double play that [Wilmer] Difo and [Danny] Espinosa turned [in the first], cause that could have — this club they can hit and they would have been off to the races... nobody out, two runs in, first and third. And they only scored one that inning and that kept us in the game until our offense did something.”
Roark finished the night with a 3.02 ERA, a 3.52 FIP, 43 walks (2.71 BB/9) and 119 Ks (7.49 K/9) in 143 IP.