Roark had some command issues at times in his outing against the Royals on Tuesday, but he still found a way to pitch into the eighth inning. He went 7.1 innings, gave up three earned runs on six hits, struck out four, and walked two on 101 pitches in a no-decision. He would’ve got the win if not for the Papelbon blown save.
While Roark did a good job of keeping his pitch count down, he did struggle in the third inning with his command on his two-seam fastball. He walked two of the first three batters, threw 29 pitches, and gave up three runs. Plus, he has walked at least two batters in each of his first six starts.
The Illinois native is 3-2 with a 5.33 ERA in five games (four starts) against the Cubs. Last season, Kris Bryant was 3-for-5 against him with a home run and a RBI.
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Roark is going to have a tall task ahead of him when he goes up against the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. Right now, Arrieta is the best pitcher in all of baseball and has already thrown one no-hitter this season (April 21 against the Reds).
The 30-year-old right-hander has not given up more than three runs in any outing this season. He has an opponents’ batting average of .142, which is the lowest in baseball. In his last outing against the Pirates, he threw seven innings, gave up two hits, struck out five, and waked two in the win.
Arrieta did not face the Nats in the second half of last season when he went 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA. In seven career outings against Washington, he is 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA. Daniel Murphy is 3-for-12 against him, but he did hit a home run against Arrieta in game one of last year’s NLCS (.529, four home runs, six RBI’s in the series).
Prediction: While I would expect Roark to put together a competitive outing, it’s tough for anyone right now to beat Arrieta. Arrieta will throw another dominant outing and the Cubs will take three of four from the Washington Nationals this weekend.