Washington Nationals: Harper, Roark share Player of the Week

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 22: Tanner Roark
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 22: Tanner Roark /

A great week from the Washington Nationals deserve co-Players of the Week. Read on to find out why Bryce Harper and Tanner Roark deserve it.

Successful road trips make it easier to find Washington Nationals players of the week. After a 7-1 romp through Cincinnati and Phoenix, District on Deck found two for you starting the second half.

When you boast a career-best 16-game hitting streak it is easy to take home fake hardware. Again, Bryce Harper has done just that.

From his mammoth moon shot above the swimming pool Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks to his .441 since the All-Star Break, Harper has placed this team on his back. Beer-league softball masters drool at his slash line of .441/.525/1.029. His OPS of—gulp—1.554 adjusts to 299. Folks, that is triple the league average in production.

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With five more homers in his pocket, mixed with three doubles and a triple, Harper started the second half like he is Chuck Norris out of bubble gum. From the three-hole in the lineup, he has added 14 runs to the scorecard in eight games.

Hopefully, ESPN has forgiven him for taking the Wednesday night game off against Mike Trout.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the week comes on the mound and not the plate.

The pressure on Tanner Roark to perform after Joe Ross went down for the year was huge. With Roark’s confidence literally flagging between innings, the Nats were unsure if they would need to add a starter along with repairing the bullpen.

Those fears are gone, at least in Roark’s case.

Pitching twice since his much-needed vacation, Roark has dominated. In six innings against the Cincinnati Reds on July 16, he did not allow an earned run in the Nats 14-4 victory. As the offense unloaded on Reds pitching, Roark established the strike zone and pitched his best game since the end of May. His confidence built throughout the game, fanning five and scattering four hits.

Saturday’s start in the desert against the Arizona Diamondbacks turned into vintage.

Fanning 11, and throwing a full seven for the first time since June 4, Roark shut down the powerful D-Backs offense. He held the Snakes to two hits and a walk on 103 pitches.

The pair of wins dropped his ERA from 5.27 to 4.83 while making him an eight-game winner. His ability to get hitters to miss his stuff is the big reason. For the first time this year, he had back-to-back starts featuring 15-plus swing-and-miss strikes.

Next: Strasburg injury worrisome

We focus on the bad. It is human nature. The performance of Harper and Roark shows just how far the Nats can go and is worth the focus.