Tanner Roark started Monday afternoon’s series opener in AT&T Park (5-0) in six games and three starts against the San Francisco Giants in his career, over which he had a 2.51 ERA, eight walks, 20 Ks and a .236/.292/.345 line against in 28 2⁄3 innings pitched on the mound opposite the NL West powerhouse.
Roark was coming off a bounce-back start as well, which saw him give up one run on eight hits in eight innings of work against Seattle.
He shut the Mariners down after a couple rough starts against the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates in which he gave up 14 hits, seven walks and eight earned runs over 9 2⁄3 IP.
Roark talked after the start against the Mariners about what was working for him that hadn’t been in the previous two outings.
“Felt like the two-seamer was moving,” Roark told reporters.
“That’s my biggest thing obviously, is my two-seamer working. It was working and I was hitting my spots and [Matt] Wieters called a great game.”
He also got some good advice from his pitching coach, Mike Maddux, about the way he was gripping the ball.
“I think I was gripping the ball too tight, instead of — you’ve got to treat it like an egg, you can’t break the egg,” Roark explained.
“That’s what I was telling myself. I was saying, “One pitch at a time out there on the mound,’ and just hit your spots and attack.”
“Maddux helped me out with it. We talked after my last in Pittsburgh and in Atlanta. We talked for a good while out in the outfield during BP and fixed some things and I feel confident and feel good.”
His fourth career start against the Giants today, was another solid one for the 30-year-old right-hander, who tossed seven scoreless, striking out six batters, working around six hits and a walk in what ended up a 3-0 win.
Roark’s work was overshadowed by the eighth inning brawl between Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland, but before he would address the scuffle, Dusty Baker told reporters he wanted to recognize his starter’s work.
“Tanner threw an outstanding game,” Baker said. “I mean he’s getting himself back right again. The last couple starts have been like Tanner.”
Giants’ skipper Bruce Bochy got a solid start from left-hander Matt Moore, but he lamented the fact that the southpaw didn’t receive any run-support.
“Just couldn’t do much with their starter,” Bochy said. “Roark was good.”
Ryan Zimmerman, who homered early, and scored the second of three runs the Nats scored, talked to MASN’s Dan Kolko about what he’s seen from Roark in his last two outings.
“I think the ball is coming out a little bit crisper, he’s throwing a lot of strikes like he usually does,” Zimmerman said, noting, as GM Mike Rizzo did last week, that Roark did not get his usual work in this Spring because he took part in the World Baseball Classic.
“He didn’t really have a Spring Training, so it seems like he’s kind of rounding into form and I just love the way he competes, it’s fun to play behind him.”
Roark improved to (5-2) on the season with a 3.86 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 22 walks (3.03 BB/9), 56 Ks (7.71 K/9) in 65 1⁄3 innings pitched.