Nationals: Washington Faces Old Teammate Roark on Saturday
The Washington Nationals will matchup against their former teammate Saturday when they take on Tanner Roark and the Cincinnati Reds.
When you talk about former Washington Nationals who have left a longlasting legacy before moving onto another team, starting pitcher Tanner Roark likely would not come to your mind. Roark spent the first six years of his Major League career in D.C. moving between roles in the starting rotation and in the bullpen.
Probably his most memorable season was in 2016 when he went 16-10 with a 2.83 E.R.A. in route to helping the Nationals rebound from an awful 2015 and win the National League East. After what seemed like a down year in 2018 the Nationals made the decision to move on from Roark and his contract, sending him to the Cincinnati Reds for pitching prospect Tanner Rainey.
While Rainey has shown good stuff in his brief stint in the Major Leagues so far, Washington really could use Roark in their rotation and it seems thye may have underestimated how important he was to their team.
Even though stat wise Roark did have a down year in 2018, one thing he always did was eat innings. In 21 of his 31 starts in 2018 Roark went at least six innings. Even when he was struggling, he was able to fight through it and almost always keep his team in the game.
Almost always being able to go six innings into a game was also huge for the Washington pen. As we have seen this season with the Nationals fourth and fifth starters frequently being unable to go more than four or five innings, it takes a toll on your bullpen.
The move to Cincinnati has been beneficial for Roark to this point as he is off to a great start to the season. Currently, the right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.20 E.R.A. and has struck out 59 in 56.1 innings. Although he has not been going as deep into games this season, Roark has only given up more than three runs one time in his 2019 season. Roark has started six games at home in Cincinnati, which is a very tough place to pitch and has only given up 13 runs in those six starts.
When Tanner Roark trots out to the mound in the top of the first on Saturday afternoon it sure will be weird to see him wearing a uniform other than the curly W. As the game goes on Saturday the question will likely pop through everyone’s head, would the Nationals be better off if they kept Roark?