Even in a loss against the New York Mets in his last start, Roark put up another quality outing. He went seven innings, gave up two runs (one earned run) on five hits, struck out five, and walked two on 113 pitches. The only mistake he made was in the first inning when David Wright hit a solo home run.
One thing that has been evident about Roark’s season is that manager Dusty Baker has been letting him work up his pitch count in games. The right-hander has thrown over 100 pitches in five straight games and over 110 pitches in three of his last five. He is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts this month.
Roark faced the Phillies at Nats Park back on April 28 at Nats Park. He went seven innings, gave up no runs on two hits, struck out six, and walked two in a no-decision. Ryan Howard is 4-for-12 (.333) against Roark in his career with one home run and six RBI’s.
As for Hellickson, he is coming off a loss in his last outing against the Detroit Tigers. Back on May 24, the right-hander went seven innings, gave up three runs on seven hits, struck out seven, and walked one in a loss.
But, the 29-year-old right-hander has given up three runs or fewer in three of his last four starts after giving up six runs against the Cardinals back on May 2. If the Nats want to get to Hellickson, they have to break out the offense early in the game. He has given up eight runs in the first inning this season.
Heliickson has made two starts against the Nats this season and has had mixed results. On April 15, he gave up five earned runs (six total) in three innings in a loss. 12 days later, he shut out the Nats and gave up only two hits in seven innings of work while striking out eight and walking three. Jayson Werth is 3-for-11 (.273) against him with one home run and six RBI’s.
Prediction: I expect this game to be a close pitcher’s duel between Roark and Hellickson. Even though I think Werth will find a way to have another big game, I will give the slight edge to Hellickson as the Phillies take the series opener.
Next: Tomorrow's Matchup