Last week, Tanner Roark was working on a shutout until Braves rookie Ozzie Albies took him deep in the 6th inning for 2 earnies to ruin Roark’s shutout. Since the All-Star break, Roark got back on track with a much better 3.18 ERA bouncing back from that 8.31 ERA he had in June. The starts that were skipped before the All-Star break did the trick for Roark and now he looks ready to dominate in the post-season.
The one warning sign for Roark that should not be ignored is that he has struggled under heavy pitch loads and in the 6th inning and beyond his ERA is 5.46 and that Albies home run in the 6th inning is part of those issues. On the other side of the game, Roark has pitched to a 5.79 ERA in the 1st inning this season. In between, Roark has been lights out in the last 2 months pitching to a 1.82 ERA from innings two to five.
What we have seen in our scouting of Roark is that he sometimes doesn’t show his full repertoire of pitches in his first innings of work against the other teams best hitters, and the opposition has taken advantage too often. Some pitchers can get away with saving some of their pitches for later in the game. In the post-season, Roark should not holdback with his best pitches from the start of the game and should keeping going until he is pulled which could very well be after he completes 5 innings of shutout baseball and then he can hand the ball off to the bullpen.
The Nationals will go back to the original Tuesday night line-up before Daniel Murphy was scratched. Howie Kendrick is back in leftfield and the counting continues to exactly a week since Victor Robles last played when he went 2-for-4 with a triple against these Braves.
For the Braves, they turn to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tonight for what could be his last home start for the Braves as he is on a one-year $7.5 million contract with an $8 million team option next year. The Braves can certainly spend that money elsewhere as Dickey will finish this season with an ERA in the mid-4’s, and there will be other veterans available in free agency and via trade who will provide greater upside next season.
Not only have the Nationals clinched this series against the Braves, they have also clinched the season series against the Braves as the Nationals are now up 10-to-8 against them.
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves
Stadium: SunTrust Park
1st Pitch: 7:35 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, FOX Sports SE, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® (Internet 869)
Line-ups subject to change (without notice):
Going for the sweep tonight! pic.twitter.com/rAjN9EpCH6
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 21, 2017