Tanner Roark threw 38 pitches in three scoreless, then threw 43 in a nine-run fourth before he was lifted from what ended up a 12-5 Nationals’ loss to the Mets in Port St. Lucie, FL’s First Data Field.
Roark vs New York: Tanner Roark walked three straight, threw a wild pitch, and gave up three runs total in the second inning of his last start, which was against the same New York Mets he was facing tonight.
That second inning ended up being a long frame for the righty, who threw 39 of his 75 pitches on the day in that frame, some of which he thought were closer than the home plate umpire did.
Roark’s manager, Dave Martinez, agreed that a few of the pitches were close.
“Balls were pretty close, so it wasn’t like he was all over the place,” Martinez explained, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, when asked what he saw from his starter.
“So I was pleased he got his work in. He went out there and finished 70-some pitches, and I was happy.”
That outing left the right-handed starter with a 3.60 ERA (6 ER in 15 IP) and a .207 BAA on the Spring after five starts and 15 IP. He took on the Mets again tonight in First Data Field, where the NL East rivals met up in Grapefruit League action, in his final Grapefruit League start of the Spring and worked around a one-out double by Yoenis Cespedes in a 20-pitch first.
Roark needed just nine pitches in a quick, 1-2-3 second, and he worked around a single by Tomas Nido in a nine-pitch third, getting a 5-6 double play out of Brandon Nimmo for the second and third outs of the frame which left him at 38 pitches total after three scoreless innings of work.
Cespedes doubled the first time up vs Roark, and homered in his second at bat, taking a 1-2 change low and away to left field for a solo home run that got the Mets on the board, down 5-1 in the fourth, and a walk to Jay Bruce, and singles by Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez made it a 5-2 game.
Roark hit Amed Rosario on the elbow, loading the bases up with one out, 21 pitches into the fourth, and Nido kept the line moving with an RBI single to right for the fourth hit of the inning, 5-3, and the opposing pitcher, Seth Lugo, tied it up with a two-run single on a hanging breaking ball, 5-5. Brandon Nimmo was first-pitch swinging in the next AB, and he lined a fastball to left for a go-ahead hit, 6-5.
Cespedes, in his second at bat of the inning, hit a sac fly to left, 7-5, and Jay Bruce ended Roark’s outing with a two-out, two-run home run to right on the 43rd pitch of the inning.
Tanner Roark’s Line: 3.2 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HRs, 81 P, 4/4 GO/FO.
Roark: “I don’t like to do that, ever, even in spring training. But it happens.” Felt like he was leaving pitches up while out of the stretch. But happy with how he felt physically.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 23, 2018
Run Support: Howie Kendrick hit an opposite field single to right, Anthony Rendon sent a dribbler toward third that Todd Frazier bobbled, Matt Wieters lined an RBI single to right-center field, and Michael A. Taylor dropped a bunt down, pushing it toward first base with runners on first and third and reached base safely when Zack Wheeler fielded the ball and found no one was covering first, 2-0 after a 1/2-inning.
Fresh squeezed baseball. pic.twitter.com/nTZlq5mfRa— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 22, 2018
Tanner Roark helped his own cause, lining a double to the base of the outfield wall in left-center with one down in the top of the second, and he scored from third, after a single to left by Wilmer Difo, when Adam Eaton hit an RBI line drive to center, 3-0, and 4-0 on an E:6 when Amed Rosario bounced a throw to second on a Howie Kendrick grounder over to short.
Anthony Rendon followed Kendrick with another RBI single, shooting a grounder back up the middle to drive Eaton in, 5-0, after one and a half.
Bullpen: It was 9-5 Mets when Tim Collins took over for Roark in the fourth, and he came back out in the fifth and gave up a one-out double by Amed Rosario, who stole third but was stranded there when Collins struck Tomas Nido and Seth Lugo out to end the threat.
Yoenis Cespedes’s second homer of the night, a two-run blast in the sixth, made it an 11-5 game in the Mets’ favor, and it was the fourth home run off Shawn Kelley in seven innings on the mound this Spring. Todd Frazier followed one out later with the fifth home run off Kelley, 12-5.
Sean Doolittle worked around a two-out double by Brandon Nimmo in a scoreless seventh inning.
Sammy Solis struck out the side in a quick, 1-2-3 eighth, and the Nationals came up empty in the bottom of the ninth.
Final Score: 12-5 Mets.