Tanner Roark goes for 15th win as Nationals open final homestand


Sep 16, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher

Tanner Roark

(57) throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After an impressive 9-2 road trip that saw them clinch their second division title in three years, the Washington Nationals return home today to kickoff their final homestand of 2014 against the New York Mets.

Tanner Roark (14-10, 2.85 ERA) gets the start for the Nationals as the right-hander hopes to earn his 15th victory of the season and make his case for a spot in the postseason rotation. Roark has been great all year for the Nationals and has dominated opposing hitters of late, boasting a 2.92 ERA in his last 10 starts.

Roark’s last start was one the young right-hander will likely never forget. Not long after scattering just five hits over seven shutout innings against the Braves, Roark joined his teammates on the field as they celebrated a division title in front of a stunned crowd at Turner Field.

 “More butterflies kept on coming in because I’d never been part of anything like that,” Roark said of the clincher to MLB.com. “It was pretty amazing. After I got out of the seventh, I was just counting down the innings and the outs.”

His last start was the culmination of an excellent season for Roark, who hopes to keep things rolling tonight in the much-friendlier confines of Nationals Park. In his career against the Mets, Roark is 4-0 with a 3.04 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 26 2/3 innings of work.

New York will counter with right-hander Bartolo Colon (14-12, 4.02 ERA), who gave up just one run over 7 2/3 innings against the Marlins on Tuesday.

Colon last faced the Nationals in a tension-filled game Sept. 11 at Citi Field. In that game, the Mets’ right-hander hit Ian Desmond with a pitch immediately after Adam LaRoche had hit a home run. A few innings later, Colon surrendered a home run to Anthony Rendon and immediately hit Jayson Werth with a pitch. Colon and Mets manager Terry Collins were both ejected, and the Nationals went on to win, 6-2.

In his career against the Nationals, Colon is 2-0 with a 3.07 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 41 innings.

Prior to tonight’s game, the Nationals are 91-64 on the season and are riding a four-game win streak. With the Dodgers’ loss to the Giants last night, the Nationals’ magic number to clinch the best record in the National League and home field advantage in the playoffs is down to 3.

Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:

New York Mets @ Washington Nationals, 7:05 P.M. ET

Lineup not yet available. 
  1. CF: Denard Span
  2. 2B: Asdrubal Cabrera
  3. RF: Jayson Werth
  4. 1B: Adam LaRoche
  5. SS: Ian Desmond
  6. LF: Bryce Harper
  7. C: Wilson Ramos
  8. 3B: Kevin Frandsen
  9. SP: Tanner Roark