Washington Nationals: 5 to watch back home against the Reds

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Jun 20, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA;Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price (38) comes to the mound to take out Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Amir Garrett (50) during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 20, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA;Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price (38) comes to the mound to take out Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Amir Garrett (50) during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Tanner Roark

Arguably, the biggest concern from the Marlins series was the struggles that Tanner Roark had on Monday. The Nats had a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third and Roark didn’t even finish the inning after giving up a grand slam to Justin Bour.

Over four starts this month, Roark has a 8.02 ERA, has given up 31 hits in 21.2 innings, and teams are hitting .341 against the right-hander. The location on his pitches has not been good and there hasn’t been much movement on his two-seam fastball.

If the Washington Nationals are going to make a deep run in October, they need Roark to find his great stuff again. Only three pitchers in the National League have given up more hits than Roark this month. Two of them are on the last place Giants (Ty Blach and Matt Moore) and the other is Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo (on the DL).

Roark doesn’t have the best numbers against the Reds in his career. In five starts, he is 1-1 with a 3.41 ERA and he gave up seven runs in ten innings last year. There aren’t many Reds hitters with a large sample size against Roark, but Adam Duvall is 3-for-5 with a RBI.

Sunday afternoon isn’t a make-or-break start for Roark, but the Nats need him to right the ship and get his confidence back. If he struggles again, then the offense will have to put up a crooked number against Scott Feldman and the veteran right-hander has given up four runs in three of hls last five starts.

With Sunday being the final game of the series, keep an eye on whether or not Dusty Baker decides to play Stephen Drew and Adam Lind, who have a combined five home runs in their careers against Feldman.

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