Tanner Roark tossed four scoreless innings on 47 pitches this afternoon in Jupiter, FL’s Roger Dean Stadium, where the Washington Nationals dropped a 2-1 decision to the St. Louis Cardinals in Grapefruit League action.
Nats’ prospect Andrew Stevenson’s solo home run in the third provided the only run the defending NL East champions scored.
There were, however, other highlights worth noting...
Roark in Jupiter: All three of Tanner Roark’s starts this Spring have taken place in Jupiter, Florida’s Roger Dean Stadium, though before today he’d only faced the Miami Marlins.
In this afternoon’s Grapefruit League matchup, the 31-year-old right-hander was taking on the St. Louis Cardinals, looking to build on his previous outings, which saw him throw two innings each time out, the second time on just three days’ rest.
Roark’s new manager, Dave Martinez, told reporters after Roark’s last start before today’s, that he’s liked what he’s seen from the veteran starter early this Spring.
“I believe he’s going to be really good this year,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“His ball is coming out real good. His breaking ball’s good. His changeup is good. We’ll just build him up in the next few weeks and then we’ll see where we’re at.”
This time out, Roark was on regular rest. He looked sharp early in a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the first, but fell behind a couple times and gave up some solid contact on the way to a scoreless 16-pitch second in which he worked around a one-out single.
Roark was up to 40 pitches after he set the Cardinals down in order in the third, and he came back out for one more inning of work, retiring the side in a seven-pitch, 1-2-3 frame that left him at 47 total on the day.
MAT scratched: Michael A. Taylor was originally penciled is as part of the Nationals’ lineup for this afternoon’s matchup with the Cardinals, but the 26-year-old outfielder, who was to make his sixth start of the Spring, was scratched about a half an hour before the start of the game with what the Nationals told reporters in Florida was “mild right side tightness.”
We’ll have to wait to hear what Nats’ manager Dave Martinez has to say in the postgame meeting with the press to find out about the severity of the issue...
Hair on fire, contact solid: Andrew Stevenson started the afternoon 6 for 23 with three doubles on the Spring, and the 23-year-old, 2015 2nd Round pick hit his first Grapefruit League home run off Cards’ right-hander Luke Weaver, taking a 1-0 fastball outside and down to left-center field for an opposite field, line drive, solo shot that put the Nationals ahead, 1-0. It was Stevenson’s second career Spring homer, after he hit one last year.
Geauxing ... geauxing ... GONE! pic.twitter.com/Kx0gVxWwFo— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 5, 2018
Out at home: Adrian Sanchez singled to lead off the Nationals’ half of the fifth, but the Nats’ infielder was thrown out at home trying to score from first on a Matt Adams’ line drive to right field on a perfect relay by the Cards that allowed Yadier Molina to apply a tag.
Dexter Fowler ➡️ Breyvic Valera ➡️ Yadier Molina = OUT! pic.twitter.com/ebdu71u2cq— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 5, 2018
Benoit debuts: Joaquín Benoit gave up a hard-hit, ground-rule double by Jose Martinez on the fifth pitch he threw after taking over on the mound for Tanner Roark.
Benoit, 40, came to the Nationals on a minor league deal back on February 21st.
Luke Voit reached base on a swinging bunt one out later, moving Martinez over to third base, and Voit then drew a throw toward second by Nats’ catcher Miguel Montero in the next at bat, running himself into trouble intentionally, and allowing the runner to break from third and score when the throw to Trea Turner, charging in front of second, skipped under the shortstop’s glove, bouncing back toward the base as the tying run came in, 1-1.
Voit scored on a two-out, line drive single to left by Adolis Garcia, who lined a 3-1 fastball inside to the wall on a bounce, putting the Cardinals ahead, 2-1.
Every day Enny: Enny Romero walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the sixth inning, then retired two batters, and with help from catcher Jhonatan Solano, caught the runner he put on going for second for an inning-ending out that ended a 10-pitch frame.
Voth as in “both”, not “moth”: Austin Voth struck out the first two batters he faced, with a 3-2 breaking ball over the top to Jose Martinez, and a sinking 2-2 fastball to Jedd Gyorko, in what ended up a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 frame. Austin Adams worked a scoreless bottom of the eighth inning, but the Nationals came up empty in the ninth. Final Score: 2-1 Cardinals.