Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Tanner Roark Has Short Outing In Harrisburg

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Last night, down at double-A Harrisburg, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark was able to get the start for the Senators against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants). Back on August 26, Roark threw four innings for low-A Potomac, where he gave up three hits and struck out five batters. Last night, his outing was much shorter.

Right out of the gate, Roark gave up a run in the first inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Rando Moreno. He would score two batters later on a RBI groundout by Juan Ciriaco. Roark went two innings, gave up one run on two hits, struck out two, and walked one on 34 pitches (21 strikes). It may seem as something went wrong that would make his outing too short, but that is not the case, according to Senators’ manager Brian Daubach.

"“They told us the plan was one or two innings, 30-40 pitches,” Daubach said. “It worked out perfect as he got a big hit for us.” (h/t Mick Reinhard, PennLive.com)"

The hit that Daubach was referring to occurred in the bottom of the second inning when Roark drove in the team’s first run on a single to left that drove in Pedro Severino. The Senators would score three runs in the inning en route to a 6-5 win over the Flying Squirrels.

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It is a little surprising that Roark’s outing was so short last night when you consider that most thought he would replace Joe Ross in the rotation due to an innings limit. Ross makes the start tonight for the Nats against the Cardinals. It’s contrary to the comments Matt Williams made last week after the 28-year-old’s first minor league outing this season:

"“Next time out he’ll (throw) 75, depending on how it goes and he should be ready to go.” (h/t Byron Kerr, MASN.com)"

While Roark has been one of the key pieces in the Nats’ bullpen this year, the month of September could be used to get him a few starts and get him on track to be one of the starters in the rotation next season. It remains to be seen whom the Nats will call up on the 40-man roster, but could they look to some of the younger starters on the team to make a handful of starts since they might already know what they have in Roark?

Roark could still replace Ross, but the Nats also have Doug Fister, who they could easily plug back into the rotation. As for Ross, he has given up two earned runs in his last 13 innings and has held opponents to a .216 batting average in his last eight starts.

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