Tanner Roark, then who?
As of 8 a.m this morning, it is unknown who will start for the Washington Nationals in the final two games of this series. The only sure starter that is known right now is that Tanner Roark will start in today’s opener.
Over the last month, the Nats rotation has been hit with its fair share of injuries. Stephen Strasburg is still on the disabled list with an elbow injury and Max Scherzer had to leave Tuesday’s start with a neck injury. Plus, Gio Gonzalez might have to go on paternity leave.
It is safe to say the rotation this weekend will not be the rotation that lines up for the first three games of the NLDS in two months. However, it could give opportunities for other pitchers to step up in an atmosphere that might feel close to an October game.
If Gonzalez does go on paternity leave, the team could call up Erick Fedde and give him another chance. Also, Edwin Jackson has had two good outings in the three starts he has had as the number five starter. Those pitchers won’t feel the same pressure as Roark.
Last time out, Roark struggled to put away hitters and he paid the price for it against the Rockies. He went five innings, gave up four runs on five hits, struck out eight, and walked four in a loss. The only two hitters in the Cubs lineup to have home runs against him are Bryant (4-for-8, one home run) and Rizzo (4-for-15, two home runs).
The Nats don’t need to rush any of these pitchers back, but let’s just say the odds might be against them this weekend facing Hendricks, Lackey, and Lester.