Although most two-game losing streaks are not reasons to be concerned, the way Washington was humiliated Saturday and lost Sunday puts pressure on Monday’s starter Tanner Roark. He has to go deep, 100 pitches and seven innings to stop the bleeding.
Last Wednesday against the Marlins, Roark was sharp in his first regular season start. He gave the Nats six innings and 97 pitches, fanning six. In his first win, he scattered three hits and two walks, allowing two earned runs and nabbing a quality start.
If there were any concerns over his lack of pitching in the World Baseball Classic and his last exhibition start washing out, they were put to bed after a spotty first inning. Since his start, the Nats dropped three of their next four.
Roark became the de facto second starter last year when Stephen Strasburg went down to injury. In a funny way, Roark comes into his start needing to fill that role again. A strong performance sets the table the rest of the series.
If we are to forget the past weekend, Roark can take a step in the right direction by handcuffing the Cardinals and give the pen some needed rest.
Whatever record Roark has against the Cardinals is old. His only start against St. Louis came on September 23, 2013, a 4-3 loss and his only loss of the year.