Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals at Brewers (6/11-6/14)

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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 (2-2, 3.16) vs. Matt Garza (4-7, 5.09), 8:10 PM ET, broadcast on MASN2

 Since Tanner Roark has moved back into the rotation, he has been able to keep the Nationals in the game in all of his three starts. Last time out, against the Chicago Cubs on June 5, the velocity was up on his fastball up to 96 miles per hour. He went 5.2 innings, gave up four runs on six hits, struck out six, and walked none.

While Roark showed great control in his last outing, he has had a tendency to give up the long ball. He has given up six home runs in his three starts this season, including three against the Cubs. While Milwaukee doesn’t have as much firepower on offense as most teams, it is a problem by Roark that has to be corrected.

Another issue that you see with Roark is that when he gets to 90 pitches, he starts to tire out. With more starts in the rotation, that issue should be corrected. Williams may have stretched Roark too far against the Cubs, but he was able to throw 97 pitches. Roark will eventually be at 100 pitches in his next couple starts in the rotation.

Last season, the 28-year-old right-hander made one start against the Brewers (July 19). In that outing, he went seven innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out five and walked one in an 8-3 win by the Nats. No Brewer has seen Roark more than three times, but Carlos Gomez is 2-for-3 against him.

As for Garza, he is coming off one of his best outings of the season against the Twins. On June 6, the 31-year-old right-hander went seven innings, gave up one run on six hits, and struck out three in a win. While Garza did not walk any batters in his last start, he has struggled with control this season. His 29 walks are fifth in the NL and he has walked two or more batters in 10 out of 12 appearances. He only gets 2.82 runs of support per game, which is the fourth lowest in the NL.

Last month, Garza was 1-4 with a 6.34 ERA in six outings. He did have one relief appearance against the Diamondbacks, where he threw five shutout innings in a 17-inning win for the Brewers. He gave up 23 earned runs in May, but ten of those came in a start on May 16 against the New York Mets.

Garza has not had much success against the Nationals in his career. In six starts against them, he is 0-3 with a 7.33 ERA. Last season, he was 0-2 with an ERA of 9.82 as he gave up eight runs in 7.1 innings. Wilson Ramos is 3-for-8 against him with four RBI’s.

Advantage: While Roark has given up more home runs than one would like, most of them have been of the solo variety. If he can stop a Brewer squad that has hit 57 home runs (5th in the NL), he should have the advantage here. While Garza has pitched better as of late, the Nationals should be able to work the count against him and put together at least one big inning, like they did for Roark against the Cubs.