Roark The X-Factor?
In my view, the biggest key to the Washington Nationals success this postseason is how well Tanner Roark does. He’s the X-Factor as we know Max Scherzer will matchup against Clayton Kershaw in his NLDS starts.
Although he pitched two years ago against the San Francisco Giants, both of his games came as a reliever. This year, he gets to start. Hopefully at home and not down a game in the series.
Roark is a legitimate Cy Young candidate, but he has yet to start a game as important as this. The trick is getting those playoff butterflies out of the way as fast as possible and settle in. If the Nats do their job the rest of the way, he will have the luxury of pitching in front of a friendly crowd. That will help.
In case he draws a Dodger Stadium start, it comes down to trusting his stuff. If television says it’s a twilight game, all the better. The shadows of a California sunset are his friend.
With Strasburg out, Roark has the chance to show the rest of baseball what we already know. He is a legit number two starter who will cause nightmares for the opposition. In a best-of-five series, his start will be huge.
Next up is staff writer Grant Thomas, with his thoughts on the depth of the Washington Nationals roster: