Tanner Roark gave up five hits, four walks, and five earned runs in five innings on the mound in Nationals Park against the New York Mets earlier this month, throwing 100 pitches total in that start.
He followed up on that outing with a six-inning turn in the rotation against the Colorado Rockies in which he gave up three hits, a walk, and two runs, one earned, in a 96-pitch effort in the nation’s capital.
“I felt really good. Me and [Pedro Severino] were on the same page for the most part, and it’s all about just keeping them off-balance, moving around and ... executing pitches,” he told reporters after facing the Rockies.
“The previous start was two pitches that I would love to have back, but that’s the way the game goes. But tonight felt great, body felt great. They’re a good hitting lineup, and just kept attacking and not giving in.”
Going up against New York again tonight in Citi Field, Roark, who was (7-2) with a 3.13 ERA in 18 games, 12 starts, and 83 1⁄3 IP in against the Mets in his career, threw three scoreless and hitless on 42 pitches, but ran into trouble in the fourth, giving up two runs in 25-pitch frame that featured three hits, a hit-by-pitch, an E:3 on a potential DP, and a couple close pitches that were called balls by home plate ump Tom Woodring, leading to the Nationals’ starter barking on the mound and visibly angry.
Why is Roark mad? This is why (green are balls): pic.twitter.com/o5WFChVoZB— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) April 19, 2018
Roark even had words with Woodring after striking out to end the top of the fifth, though he somehow managed to avoid getting tossed, then returned to the mound and set six straight down to complete six innings on 90 pitches with a 3-2 lead, which was up to 4-2 after 6 1/2.
Roark came back out for the seventh, and retired the side in order in a 10-pitch frame.
Tanner Roark’s Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 103 P, 61 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
It was downhill from there, however, as Ryan Madson imploded, and the Mets scored nine runs total in the eighth to complete their eighth come-from-behind win of the season.
“[Tanner] competed,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said after the loss. “He got better as the game went on. He did exactly what we needed, we just couldn’t finish.”
Roark was asked about the difference of opinion with the home plate ump.
“I thought they were strikes. He disagreed. So he’s the one calling balls and strikes, so we talked a little bit and said my piece and just got to do what you’ve got to do and execute your pitches,” Roark said.
Was he surprised he was able to say all he did without getting tossed from the game?
“I didn’t say anything bad,” he explained. “I just told him that I thought they were strikes. And we’re going to disagree at times, and you’ve just got to still take a deep breath. That was a big situation, just step back, relax, get your composure, and execute your pitch.”