May 4, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Tanner Roark (57) throws to the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. The Washington Nationals won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Tanner Roark’s Issue With Giving Up The Long Ball
Right out of the gate, Roark came out with great velocity on his fastball. On his first strikeout of the night, he got the fastball up to 96 miles per hour to get Kris Bryant looking. In the second, he struck out Junior Lake swinging with a 95 mph fastball.
Like his last start in Cincinnati, he did not give up a hit until the fourth inning. That’s when Anthony Rizzo took over. With one out, Rizzo blasted a two-seam fastball deep to right field for a solo shot to put the Cubs on the board.
Two innings later, Rizzo took a 3-2 two-seam fastball to dead center for his second home run of the game (11th of the season). With Roark tiring out in the sixth, he would not end his outing on a great note. Miguel Montero took a 2-1 two-seamer to dead center for a two-run homer of his own.
Even though Roark has been solid for the Nationals in his first three games as a starter, he has been vulnerable to giving up the long ball. In three games, he has given up six home runs. Despite giving up those long balls, Roark did a good job at pounding the strike zone. Out of his 97 pitches, 65 went for strikes. In addition, 18 of the 22 batters that the right-hander faced saw a first-pitch strike.
Even though Roark is a former starter, he definitely isn’t used to throwing 90 pitches per start just yet. You have to wonder why Williams did not have anybody warming up in the bullpen to start the sixth in case Roark got into trouble.
With the Nationals rotation currently having two pitchers on the disabled list, Roark has been able to keep the team in games and prevent the crooked innings from happening on most occasions. Even though he gave up three home runs, the fact that his velocity was up and he was able to control his pitches is a good sign for the 28-year-old going forward.
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