Tanner Roark finally got his big opportunity in the WBC in the United States’ semi-final matchup with Japan.
Before that, the Washington Nationals’ right-hander made just one appearance in relief for the U.S., but after a ten-day layoff in-between outings, Roark tossed four scoreless, allowing a walk and two hits in a 48-pitch effort in a 2-1 win on a rainy night last week in LA’s Dodger Stadium.
Neither the long wait before his second WBC appearance or the weather seemed to affect the 30-year-old starter.
“I felt great. Arm felt good, felt nice and loose,” Roark told reporters after the win.
“The conditions were a little tough sometimes, but, I mean, both teams got to fight through that and deal with it, so there's nothing you can do about that.
“But Japan has a great team. There are always tough outs, and I can't say enough about that team. They're very good.”
So was Roark.
“The key tonight, without question, was Tanner Roark,” U.S. skipper Jim Leyland said following the victory.
“There is no question about that. We needed some innings from him, and he gave us those innings. We stayed right in the plan with the Nationals and Tanner, but had he come out tonight and gotten off to a rocky start, we could have been in trouble.”
It was Roark’s third start and fourth appearance of the Spring.
In two Grapefruit League outings before he left for the WBC, Roark threw seven scoreless innings for the Nationals, striking out seven and holding hitters to a combined .167 AVG.
He returns to the mound in West Palm Beach, Florida’s Ballpark of the Palm Beaches this afternoon when the Nationals take on the Houston Astros in their shared Spring Training home.
Here’s the lineup Dusty Baker is sending out behind Roark at 1:05 PM EDT:
NOTE: Today’s game is available on
MASN MLB.tv (Astros feed) at 1:05 PM EDT in D.C. and