Tanner Roark struggled from the start on Wednesday night in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, issuing leadoff walks in each of the first two innings.
Roark worked around the free pass that started the bottom of the first inning, but the Phillies strung together three straight hits in the second with Jorge Alfaro driving in two runs with the third of the three, a bases-loaded double off the wall in right field, before another run scored on a double play grounder off the opposing pitcher’s bat, 3-0.
Roark was up to 60 pitches after he got a strike-em out, throw-em out double play to end a 16-pitch third, and he worked around a single in a 12-pitch fourth, then took the mound with a 5-3 lead in the fifth after the Nationals scored one run in the third and one in the fourth, then rallied for three in the top of the fifth.
He issued his third leadoff walk in five innings, however, then gave up a two-out walk, (matching a career high with five total), before Aaron Altherr drove in two more runs with a triple to right field that tied it up, 5-5.
Odubel Herrera followed with an RBI double through the right side on Roark’s 105th pitch, 6-5, before Dusty Baker went to the bullpen.
• Tanner Roark’s Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks, 104 P, 56 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
“He didn’t have his command tonight,” Baker told reporters after what ended up a 7-5 loss to the Phillies.
“He was either wild or in the middle of the plate,” Baker said. “He just couldn’t get his tempo and we were hoping that it would come because he needed to get his work in, and he just didn’t have his command tonight, which is uncharacteristic of Tanner, cause usually when he gets a lead like that, he really buckles down, but he never really had it or found it.”
“I just feel like I didn’t have anything, really,” Roark said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after he fell to (13-11) on the season with the loss.
“More of a battling myself and trying to throw strikes. I was behind a lot, and they take advantage when you’ve got to throw fastballs. It’s one of those games.”
Baker was asked if, in spite of the rough outing, Roark’s solid second half, (in which he’s put a 3.73 ERA, a 3.77 FIP, 27 walks (3.05 BB/9), 84 Ks (9.49 K/9), and a .217/.286/.391 line against in 79 2⁄3 innings, after he put up a 5.27 ERA, a 4.44 FIP, 36 walks (3.22 BB/9), 80 Ks (7.15 K/9) and a .275/.343/.417 line against in 100 2⁄3 IP before the All-Star Break), could help him forget about a less-than-impressive start.
“It has to,” Baker said. “You have to trick yourself and you have to realize — I don’t think Tanner is lacking in any confidence, and I don’t think one bad outing will take Tanner down, it’s okay to get down for a while, you just don’t stay down and I don’t see Tanner doing that.”