Tanner Roark snapped a six-start winless streak with a six-inning, 84-pitch outing against Tampa Bay last week in Washington, D.C., holding Rays’ hitters to six hits, a walk, and two earned runs in an 11-2 win.
“Two-seamer was really moving,” Roark said after the win, the rare outing this season in which he received some run support.
“I tried to utilize that a lot. Offspeed was so-so. I felt the slider was pretty good, but overall we scored five in the first, which is always good, just give you a little breather and relax a little bit and go out there and do your thing.”
Roark still had the ninth-lowest average run support per start of any National League pitcher (3.83) even after that offensive outburst.
Going up against another AL East opponent last night, Roark gave up an early home run by Didi Gregorius, who got all of a 1-1 curve and put it into the bullpen in right-center field in Yankee Stadium, 385 feet-plus from home, for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
It was 2-0 Yankees later in the second inning. Aaron Hicks walked, and a single to right by Neil Walker bounced off of Wilmer Difo’s glove at second and rolled into short right, where Bryce Harper picked it up before making an ill-advised throw to third that went by the bag, setting Austin Romine up with a runner on third he brought in with a sac fly.
Gregorius got Roark again in the sixth, hitting a 3-2 fastball into the second deck in right for his second home run of the game and 13th of the season, 3-0.
Tanner Roark’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs 106 P, 61 S, 3/6 GO/FO.
“Bad curveball, and bad two-seamer, so yeah, he hit them out,” Roark told reporters when asked if he missed his location or if it was just good hitting on Gregorius’s part.
After the 3-0 loss, Roark’s average of 3.54 runs of support per start were the second-lowest among NL pitchers and 10th lowest amongst all pitchers in the majors.
“It happens,” Roark said of the lack of run-support. “I stay optimistic. I’m not going to let it get to me. I’m just going to pitch my game, and go out there every time I go out there and give it all I can until I’m out of the game. I just stay optimistic.
“Once you let the bad thoughts creep in your head, then it just goes downhill from there, so continue to work hard and trust it, have faith.”
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said Yankees’ lefty CC Sabathia, who threw 5 2⁄3 scoreless before handing it off to NY’s bullpen, was able to keep Nationals’ hitters in check, though his pitch count got up high enough that he was out relatively early.
“He kept us off-balance,” Martinez said. “CC’s smart. He’s a really, really good pitcher, so he pitched well. Like I said, he kept us off-balance, we got his pitch count up, we just couldn’t get nothing going.”
With the Nationals’ offense once again struggled to score runs, Roark’s two mistake pitches cost him.
He was asked if he approached things any differently when starting in the Yankee’s home, with the relatively short porch in right field.
“No,” he said. “You’ve still got to use your stuff and you’ve got to pitch with confidence.
“You can’t let the short porch dictate how you pitch. You just pitch how you’re capable of pitching and once the ball leaves your hands the rest is in their hands, the hitters’ hands.”