Tanner Roark posted a 7.68 ERA in 36 1⁄3 innings pitched over the course of his seven-start winless streak, which stretched from June 12th to July 25th, but after tossing seven strong against the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon, over which he gave up just one run, the 31-year-old righty has put up a 0.81 ERA in 22 innings in back-to-back-to-back wins.
Roark led the Washington Nationals this afternoon, and Matt Wieters (solo home run in the second) and Bryce Harper (opposite field, RBI double in the third), provided all the support the starter needed in what ended up a 2-1 win that gave the Nats 3 of 4 in the series against the Reds.
Roark vs the Redlegs: In back-to-back wins in his last two starts, after an eight start winless streak, Tanner Roark held the Brewers and Mets to one run in 15 innings, walking one batter and striking out 18. He told reporters after giving up one run in seven innings against New York, that some mechanical changes he made were paying off after a rough stretch, and he said he was happy to have results match up with how he’d felt in recent outings.
“It feels great. I always have confidence in myself and confidence in the team,” Roark said.
The last two starts left him with a 4.37 ERA and a .254/.324/.409 line against in 22 games, 21 starts, and 129 2⁄3 IP on the season.
Going up against the Reds in the series finale this afternoon in the nation’s capital, Roark put up three scoreless to start, on 30 pitches, as the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Three straight hits to start the fourth loaded’em up for Cincinnati, however, and an RBI line drive to right by Mason Williams got the visiting team on the board, down 2-1.
Roark got an out on a pop-up, and another on a K, from Tucker Barnhart and Brandon Dixon, respectively, and a fly to right from the opposing pitcher, Luis Castillo, ended the threat.
After a 10-pitch fifth, and a 15-pitch sixth, Roark came back out for the seventh and retired the side in order in a 12-pitch frame that ended with the starter diving off the side of the mound to field a grounder off Billy Hamilton’s bat for the third out of the inning. #Athlete.
Tanner Roark’s Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 88 P, 61 S, 7/8 GO/FO.
Castillo vs the Nationals: After dropping four straight decisions between late May and mid-June, 25-year-old Reds’ right-hander Luis Castillo had a seven-start unbeaten streak heading into today’s game, over which he was (2-0) with a 3.35 ERA and a .246/.291/.352 line against in 37 2⁄3 IP.
He was taking on the Nationals for the second time this season after giving up six hits and six earned runs in five innings against Washington in his 2018 debut on March 31st.
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez went with a left-hand heavy lineup against Castillo, who started the day with a .230/.281/.374 line against vs right-handed hitters this season and a .295/.360/.529 line vs left-handers.
One of those lefties, Matt Wieters, who’s a switch-hitter, actually, but hitting from the left side, got hold of a 97 mph 2-0 fastball in the bottom of the second, and hit a solo homer into the second deck in right field for his fourth home run of the 2018 campaign and a 1-0 lead early in the series finale.
Bryce Harper hit a 97 mph 1-2 fastball to left for a two-out, opposite field, RBI double in the Nationals’ half of the third, driving Adam Eaton in after the Nationals’ right fielder reached base on a swinging bunt with one down in the inning. Harper’s 20th double of 2018, 2-0.
Back-to-back one-out singles in the sixth ended Castillo’s outing with the score 2-1 Nats...
Luis Castillo’s Line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 88 P, 61 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
Long wait for Wieters: Before he homered in his first plate appearance of the game in the second, Matt Wieters hadn’t gone yard since April (though he did miss 50 games between May 10th and July 9th following surgery for a torn hamstring).
A total of 95 plate appearances after he’d hit his 3rd HR of the season on April 29th, Wieters connected for his 4th, sending a no-doubter into the second deck in right for the Nationals’ first run of the game on Sunday.
So... to Patient: Juan Soto walked in each of his first two trips to the plate this afternoon in the finale with Cincinnati, leaving him with six walks in 16 plate appearances overall in the series with the Reds, 13 walks in the last 14 games, over which he was 19 for 54 (.352 AVG), and 46 walks (vs 49 Ks) in 276 PAs this season to that point.
Sundays in summer are for laying out. pic.twitter.com/ZWcfWe9Gp8— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 5, 2018
Harper, Harper, Harper: With a one-out single in the sixth, Bryce Harper was 2 for 3 on the day, with his sixth multi-hit game in his last 10. Harper, 25, came into the game hitting .356 (16 for 45) with five doubles, three HRs, 13 RBIs, 10 walks, and 12 runs scored in 14 games since the All-Star Break. His second hit of the night left him with a .235 AVG on the season, up from .214 going into the Break.
BULLPEN ACTION: Wandy Peralta took over with two on and one out in the Nationals’ half of the sixth, after back-to-back singles by Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, and he retired both Matt Adams and Matt Wieters to strand the runners he inherited.
Michael Lorenzen came on for the Reds in the bottom of the seventh inning and retired the first two batters he faced, then threw a first-pitch fastball behind Adam Eaton that the Nats’ outfielder didn’t appreciate. Home plate ump Jeff Nelson gathered his crew for a talk but it didn’t amount to anything, and Eaton lined a single to right five pitches later, but ended up being stranded.
Ryan Madson got the eighth for the Nationals, and retired the side in order, striking out two in a 12-pitch inning.
Michael Lorezen gave up a leadoff single by Anthony Rendon in the bottom of the eighth, so Reds’ skipper Jim Riggleman went to a left-hander, Amir Garrett, who retired both Bryce Harper and Matt Wieters (around a walk to pinch hitter Trea Turner) to keep it a one-run game.
Kelvin Herrera came on for the save opportunity in the ninth and retired the Reds in order.
Final Score: 2-1 Nationals