The Pitcher: Tanner Roark
At this point, the Nationals have not announced their starter for Saturday. We already know Friday night’s starter was Stephen Strasburg, but we have focused on him already. The only other known arm is Tanner Roark, so we will look there.
Roark has already thrown against the Phils this season and had some success against them. He went seven innings in his home stadium over Easter weekend, giving up two earned runs on four hits and inducing 15 groundball outs. It would be the only game the Nationals would lose in the series.
The righty is currently 3-1 with a 4.04 ERA this season. He has gone six or more innings in four starts this season, and the Nationals have won three of those. Roark has been a steady piece in the Washington rotation for the last four seasons and is currently pitching with the consistency they have come to expect from him.
The 30-year-old comes at hitters with a five-pitch arsenal. His four-seam fastball is his favorite pitch seeing as he has thrown it more than double the amount of his next most used pitch (his slider). The only pitch hitters are having luck against early in the 2017 season is his curveball. Other than that, Roark’s pitches have been difficult on hitters.
The Phillies may need Sunday afternoon in order to take the series, and Roark will be the pitcher that stands in the way.