Washington Nationals: Tanner Roark regressing back to mid-season form
By Blake Finney
Washington Nationals starter Tanner Roark has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for a time. But in his last two starts, he’s fallen back to old ways.
Tanner Roark looked to have turned his season around towards the end of July. But now, he seems to have settled back into his struggles, leaving question marks for the Washington Nationals.
On Wednesday night, he allowed four straight hits to open up the first inning, giving up three runs in the process. Those runs were delivered on a three-run blast from former National Matt Adams, who reminded the fans exactly what they were missing.
As it usually does with Roark, he lived and died by the movement on his two-seam fastball in this game. In the first, Matt Carpenter and Yairo Munoz collected hits off it while it was flattening out, before Adams’ bomb off the curveball.
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Even in the second inning, the two hits by Jose Martinez and Carpenter were both on two-seamers that didn’t move much. Then he figured it out afterwards and settled in a bit to sit down 10 of the next 14 batters he faced.
Roark’s next start comes against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday evening as he looks to bounce back. This year has been the opposite of the consistent Tanner Roark we’re used to seeing for the Nats, and he’ll look to keep his case for a 2019 rotation spot alive.
Robles electrifies in short stint
Top prospect Victor Robles continues to flash his immense potential in short spurts since his recall on Tuesday. In his 2018 MLB debut, he smacked a line drive to centerfield that was snagged, but on Wednesday he went one better.
In this game, he dropped in his first big-league hit of the season to get on base for Adam Eaton. Then when Adam Eaton doubled into the gap Robles showed off his best tool, his speed, scoring from first base after a review overturned the initial call.
While he hasn’t had his first start of the season as yet, that could be about to change in the upcoming Chicago Cubs series. The north siders will throw out three left-handed pitchers in that series, giving Robles a perfect chance to fill-in for Juan Soto or Eaton. We can’t wait to see more Robles.
Zimm puts bases loaded bugaboo behind him
One of the more bizarre stats of the season was just how poorly Ryan Zimmerman did with the bases loaded. Entering Wednesday’s game, he was just 1 for 9 with three strikeouts, and only three RBI in that situation.
But in this game, he flipped the script when he came up with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Zimmerman ripped a two-out double that centerfielder Harrison Bader couldn’t quite get to clear the bases, doubling that bases-loaded RBI total.
Bizarrely, it’s a situation he’s not done well in during recent seasons, as he was 2 for 27 (including postseason) between 2016 and 2017. Hopefully, this huge base hit can be the turning point in this situation as he attempts to rewrite the theme of the last few seasons with the bases loaded.
The Washington Nationals now play host to their third NL Central team in a row as the Cubs visit D.C. this weekend. Daniel Murphy will make his return to the stadium for the first time after he was traded this August.