The Washington Nationals blew a 6-run lead on what looked like a laugher until Tanner Roark gave up 6-runs in the 3rd inning and was pulled at 2 2/3 innings. Dusty Baker had A.J. Cole in his bullpen as he replaced Shawn Kelley yesterday on the roster, and this was Cole’s regular day to pitch. Baker did not pull Roark as he was over 30 pitches in that 3rd inning on his way to a 44-pitch inning. Roark faced Justin Bour who hit a poorly located change-up into the Marlins bullpen for a grand slam completing a 6-run inning and Roark faced one more batter after the Bour grand slam.
To exacerbate the disaster at-hand, Dusty Baker had Enny Romero pitch the 8th and 9th innings as Enny Romero’s pitch count grew over 30 pitches and he lost his location on pitches and finally gave up the walk-off single in the 9th inning. Romero had thrown 31 pitches on Saturday, and Baker left in Romero to throw 37 pitches tonight for a total of 68 pitches over 3 days.
Anthony Rendon left the game with an injured neck after he dove for a groundball that manager Dusty Baker described as a “stinger” in his neck. He was replaced by Stephen Drew.
The Nationals lost this game 8-7, but it was an uphill climb for the bullpen that was challenged with strange matchups and usage. It could have been worse if not for 2 outfield assists for Michael Taylor throwing out baserunners. The bullpen combined for 6 innings in relief of Roark, and they held the Marlins to 2-runs combined while Enny Romero took the loss. The Nationals offense could only plate 1-run after the 3rd inning.
Of note, the official radar readings on Tanner Roark’s fastball was vastly different from what was reported in the stadium as 97 mph on some of Roark’s fastballs. BrooksBaseball reports Roark’s maximum velocity was 95.8 mph. As mentioned, Roark threw an incredulous 44-pitches in his final 2/3 of an inning needing 22 pitches per out in that 3rd inning.
This all begs the question, what is wrong with Tanner Roark?
“I felt great. I still feel great,” Roark said. “Just [bleeped] off. I just need to stop pitching like crap.”