As I mentioned yesterday, the Nationals have decided to skip Tanner Roark’s spot in the rotation after yesterday’s rainout against the New York Mets. The team will be keeping the top three starters on schedule through Saturday, but haven’t announced who will be pitching on Sunday in what would normally be Joe Ross’s spot.
Roark has been struggling as of late, so this move doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. In his last start against St. Louis, for instance, he was only able to last three innings. In those three innings, however, he managed to throw 85 pitches on his way to giving up three earned runs on four hits and five walks. Clearly he didn’t have his best stuff.
This wasn’t just a one time thing, however, as Roark hasn’t won a single game in his last five outings. In those five games, he’s pitched 22.2 innings he has a 9.53 ERA and opponents are hitting .382/.453/.578 against him. That’s a far cry from the 2.83 ERA he had over 210 innings pitched last season.
With the poor results that Roark’s been having so far, it’s easy for fans to wonder if something is physically wrong with him. The team, however, keeps insisting that nothing is wrong.
While the main concern is obviously the bullpen, the topic has made it’s way to sports talk radio programs and other media platforms. A couple weeks ago, for instance, Mike Rizzo was on 106.7 the fan and had to address Roark’s health.
“As long as Tanner says that he’s healthy — and he says he feels really, really good — I’m fine with it,” Rizzo said. On top of that, Roark told Mark Zuckerman of MASN after his last start that he’s “fine.”
The organization also seems to feel as though he’ll eventually get back to last year’s form. Rizzo has expressed support for him and Dusty Baker they’ll be able to figure out what’s going on and fix it.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in this guy,” Rizzo said during another interview on 106.7 The Fan yesterday. “I’d take him on my club any day of the week, because he leaves it on the mound and gives you 100%.”
Between skipping this start and the upcoming All Star break, perhaps the extra time will help Roark figure out what’s going on.