Roark’s Great Outing Ruined In The 8th
For seven innings, it appeared that the story of the night was going to be about how dominant Tanner Roark was on the mound. He had held the Dodgers offense to only four hits at that point with two of those being extra-base hit. Plus, he only had one inning where he threw more than 12 pitches (20 pitches in the third).
Then, in the eighth inning, it all unraveled. It started when Joc Pederson drew a seven-pitch walk. Then, Yasiel Puig hit a 1-2 slider into left field for a base hit. At that point, Roark was at 92 pitches and Dusty Baker left him in the game.
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That decision ended up backfiring as Roark gave up a three-run home run to Yasmani Grandal to put the Dodgers ahead, 3-2. While Roark did come back to strike out Trayce Thompson, it was too little, too late.
Baker will be criticized for making that decision, but with the current state of the bullpen and the amount of usage they have had on this road trip, it made sense to give Roark a chance to finish the inning and to get the ball to Shawn Kelley.
The home run by Grandal ended up ruining a good outing by the Nats’ right-hander. He went 7.1 innings, gave up three runs on six hits, struck out five, and walked one on 102 pitches in the loss. Roark did have success getting the Dodgers lineup to hit the ball on the ground as evident by the 14 groundball outs he induced.
While last night was Roark’s first loss in almost a month, you hope he takes a lot of positives from this start and at the very least, he was able to save most of the bullpen for Joe Ross tonight before the Washington Nationals have their final day off of the first half.