Tanner Roark’s start is critical if the Washington Nationals are to get past the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If he goes in Game 2, he should face the fragile Rich Hill. For whatever reason Dusty Baker waits until Game 3, he’d face playoff rookie Kenta Maeda. Either way, even with Maeda’s great first-season, the odds stack on the side of Roark.
The preference is a Game 2 start at home. If you figure Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw is even on paper, Roark winning Game 2 puts all the pressure back on Los Angeles when they fly back home for Monday’s Game 3. If Scherzer wins, you may force Kershaw to pitch Game 4 on short rest to save the series and throw rookie Julio Urias to start Game 5 in DC. No way they go Rich Hill on short rest.
Roark has handled the tough assignments all year. He will not baffle the Dodgers as Scherzer will, but in the shadows at home Saturday, his chances are fairly good.
Batting fifth is staff writer Chris Lacey, who talks about the rest of the Washington Nationals rotation: