Washington Nationals: The old Tanner Roark is back just in time

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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 05: Tanner Roark #57 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park on August 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 05: Tanner Roark #57 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park on August 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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After the Washington Nationals rotation struggled over the summer, they are delighted to see Tanner Roark looking like his old self once again.

During the summer months, nobody epitomized the struggles of the starting pitching of the Washington Nationals more than Tanner Roark. But after his recent mechanical change, he looks like he’s become the Tanner Roark of old again.

On Sunday he went seven strong innings, allowing one run on seven hits using just 88 pitches. However, it could’ve been a lot worse had he not wriggle out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning.

But he got out of it by keeping the Reds hitters off balance and inducing soft contact. He struck out just two hitters, recording eight via soft ground balls.

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It’s just the latest in a long list of positive outings for Roark. Now, in his last three star,ts he’s allowed just two runs over 22 innings, allowing 14 hits, and striking out 20.

The team’s rotation was one of the worst in the NL in July, and will still need a longer sustained stretch to become a strength again. However, Tanner Roark is doing his part to rectify this and looks set to continue to do so moving forward.

Wieters goes deep early

The Nationals struggles at catcher aren’t going away in a hurry, but Matt Wieters did at least come up with a huge hit on Sunday. He got the team on the board in the second inning with a missile into the Nats bullpen.

It was just his fourth home run of the season and only raised his batting average to a measly .197 on the year. So by no means does this indicate an uptick in form is coming for the catcher. But every contribution helps from that standpoint, especially when it’s in a one-run game.

Rodriguez announced as second DH starter

The team now turns their focus to a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves this week. And it was announced that rookie Jefry Rodriguez will get the ball for the second game of the doubleheader on Tuesday.

So far in 2018, Rodriguez has shown some promise but holds a 6.86 ERA and hasn’t yet looked up to major league standard. With the team’s lack of movement in the starting pitching market, they’ve dug their own hole by starting Rodriguez. Now we’ll see if he can somehow manage to replicate his tremendous relief performance against the Braves in his mqajor league debut.

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The Washington Nationals series against the Atlanta Braves is going to go a long way to deciding whether they can get back into the playoff hunt. It feels like they need at least a 3-1 series win to keep the good feeling going in the clubhouse.

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