Washington Nationals: Analyzing Tanner Roark’s Weird Outing Against Diamondbacks

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May 2, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark (57) throws a pitch to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
May 2, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark (57) throws a pitch to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Last night, Washington Nationals starter Tanner Roark threw 125 pitches in six innings and it was a tough start to evaluate. 

It’s been an up and down 2017 season so far for Tanner Roark. Out of the four main starters in the Washington Nationals rotation, you can say that he’s the weakest one. Against the Arizona Diamondbacks last night, Roark helped out a team that had a short bullpen, but it was one of the weirdest stat lines you will ever seen.

Roark went six innings, gave up four runs on six hits, struck out eight, and walked two on 125 pitches (77 strikes). The 125 pitches were a career-high for the right-hander as he made some Nats history last night

When Roark is having success on the mound, he usually shows good command of his pitches. Over the last three starts, he has walked 11 batters. Right now, he is tied with Gio Gonzalez for the team lead in that category (Gonzalez gets the start tonight).

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Also, when the right-hander has his best stuff going, he usually gets a lot of groundball outs. Last night, he had just five groundball outs, which was the lowest of the season and his lowest since September 26 last year against the same team (two groundouts in a 14-4 loss).

On the other hand, it’s good to see a starter step up when the bullpen didn’t have many pitchers available and has been struggling the way they have. Of course, you wouldn’t expect it to take 125 pitches, but Roark was able to keep the team in the game despite not having his best stuff.

If you look at his pitches last night, Roark didn’t have good command on a couple of pitches. According to Brooks Baseball, 16 of his 30 sliders went for strikes and he only threw 10 of his 23 pitches for strikes.

Now, give the Diamondbacks hitters credit for fouling a lot of pitches off last night. They had a good approach knowing that to beat the Washington Nationals, you have to get into their bullpen. But, at the same time, Roark needs to improve on finishing hitters off quicker unlike his last two outings.

It was a tough start to describe last night on the DoDcast postgame because it is a gritty outing to go 125 pitches over six innings and he had more strikeouts than he has in any start this year. But, at the same time, the outing could’ve been better if there were fewer full counts and if his throwing error on a pickoff throw didn’t lead to a run in the first inning.

Next: Ross Controls His Fate

Anytime you are facing 12 full counts in an outing, it’s not great. The Nats need Roark to bounce back in a big way and fix those command issues. With that being said, there’s a lot of baseball left.

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