Washington Nationals: Tanner Roark comes back down to earth with a thud
By Blake Finney
There was a lot of attention to what the Washington Nationals were doing off the field on Friday, but on it, Tanner Roark came back down to earth.
While the Washington Nationals were making some trades in the build-up to the game, they had to prepare for a stern test on the field. In the end, Tanner Roark a rude awakening from dream stretch, at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers.
They pounded him for three home runs, which accounted for all four runs that the Brewers’ offense could muster on Friday. It was the first time that Tanner Roark hadn’t recorded a quality start since July 13th against the New York Mets.
Against a team that’s very home run and strikeout prone, it’s fair to chalk this up as a mulligan. After all, he did only allow six hits and didn’t walk a batter, usually for Roark, that would be enough for a quality start.
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In years past, the prolific Nats offense would’ve been able to bail their starter out of an outing like this one. But consistently inconsistent has been the phrase of the season for this team.
As we’ve seen numerous times this campaign, the offense then comes along with too little too late when put in an early hole. The Nats loaded the bases in the ninth inning but couldn’t get their starter off the hook by getting some runs home. But you probably know the routime by now.
Gio’s emotional farewell
The big news throughout the day was the trades that the Nationals made. First, they dealt Ryan Madson to the Dodgers, but then it really hit home when they sent Gio Gonzalez to the opposing Brewers. You can see his post-game press conference below.
An emotional moment from the lefty who, as he said, “grew up here”, but now must leave for a new challenge in Milwaukee. Nats fans will certainly miss him, as he was a key part of the revival of the team in 2012, but was also a valuable member of the D.C. community.
Overall, the return in the trade was a pretty good haul with two high uoside prosoects coming across as well as the Brewers taking on all his remaining salary. While it’s tough to see him leave, it was the right move to deal the rotation stalwart.
Bullpen perfect at the end of the game
Despite losing Madson from the backend of the bullpen, some of the lesser guys were able to put in three perfect innings. Koda Glover, Jimmy Cordero, and Matt Grace each fired 1-2-3 innings.
Even though Glover has been back for a while now, this was his first perfect inning since returning. It was a perfect chance to get him in a low-leverage spot, given he was thrown into the fire of the eighth and ninth innings immediately after his recall.
Then Cordero and Grace wrapped the game up, with the former even having a rare three-pitch inning. Both have impressed on the whole in the bigs, and could be big parts of the bullpen next season and beyond.
On Saturday, the Washington Nationals send Stephen Strasburg to the mound to face Chase Anderson. The offense will need to turn up to this one and back up their second ace to have a chance of salvaging the series.