Washington Nationals vs. Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview (6/15-6/18)

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Jun 11, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark (57) pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Roark (2-2, 3.71) vs. Alex Colome (3-2, 4.21) – 7:10 PM ET, MASN2 + MLB Network

Colome is a 26-year-old right-hander who has been with the Rays since 2013. He has made nine starts this season, which is one more start than he made in the two previous seasons combined. In his last two starts, Colome has given up one run in each of those outings over the course of 11.1 innings.

Like Ramirez, Colome is not a pitcher who is going to go deep into games. He only averages 83 pitches per start and has not reached the 100 pitch mark this year. Due to that low pitch count, he has not had one start where he has pitched into the seventh inning. Even though he doesn’t go deep into games, Colome has given up three runs or fewer in five of his last six starts. He has an average fastball of about 94 mph (Fangraphs) and uses a slider, changeup, and breaking ball.

When you talk about Tanner Roark, he is coming off an outing where he was not able to hold a 5-1 lead against the Brewers. In 6.2 innings, the 28-year-old right-hander gave up five runs on nine hits, struck out four batters, and walked one in an no-decision.

Roark was solid in his first couple starts in the rotation, but he has a 6.57 ERA in his last two starts. He gave up the game-tying home run to Gerardo Parra in the seventh inning in his last start.

Now, some of the blame goes on Matt Williams here because Roark’s stuff has not been sharp as it gets deeper into the game. That Parra home run was the seventh home run that Roark has given up in his four starts. He gave up 16 home runs in 31 starts last season.

Advantage: There isn’t a lot of familiarity against either starter for both of these clubs, so you have to consider this one a toss-up. Even though Roark has given up the long ball, his velocity has been good on his fastball and he can go deeper into a game than Colome as shown. If that trend continues, give me the Nationals in this one as they split the first two games at Tropicana Field.

Next: Wednesday's Matchup