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Tanner Roark is 7-0 with a 1.08 ERA for the Nationals

Sep 18, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals - Game Two Getty Images

As the Nationals’ cling to their playoff lives with a dramatic late-season run an unheralded 26-year-old rookie is piling up victories.

Tanner Roark, a former 25th-round pick acquired from the Rangers for Cristian Guzman in mid-2010 who didn’t make his big-league debut until last month, tossed seven shutout innings against the Braves last night to improve to 7-0 with a 1.08 ERA for the Nationals.

To record seven wins in less than two months is pretty remarkable, especially considering Roark was in the bullpen for most of that time. He went 4-0 with a 1.19 ERA in nine relief appearances totaling 23 innings and then moved into the rotation at the beginning of this month, going 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts totaling 19 innings.

Obviously he’ll come back down to earth eventually, but Roark’s raw stuff has also been very impressive with an average fastball velocity of 92.6 miles per hour and a mid-80s slider that has been nearly unhittable. And yet before turning into a cross between Pedro Martinez and Mariano Rivera for the Nationals he posted a 3.87 ERA at Triple-A and a 4.21 ERA at Triple-A.

Baseball, you try to explain it.

  1. goskinsvt - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Baseball is fun.

  2. unclemosesgreen - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Roark is unconcerned with Wins or statistics, he simply wants to design innings in the fashion he feels is best suited to the wedding of form and function. Purist, that lad.

    • snerdblurter - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      What can be done with one pitch must never be done with another. No two 92 mph fastballs are alike. No two batters are alike. The purpose, the batter, the pitch determine the outcome.

      • unclemosesgreen - Sep 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        Every pitch in a sequence must be true to its own idea, have its own form and serve its own purpose.

      • cur68 - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:11 PM

        Similarly, each at bat must be like one’s first at bat ever. There was no preceding strike out 3 innings ago. There is only the home run that must be.

  3. greymares - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    I choose to believe this says more about he futility of the Braves

    • Todd Boss - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      Futility of a team with the best record in the NL??

  4. sumerduckman - Sep 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    He definitely has the right attitude. Jordan Zimmermann, Craig Stammen and Mr. Roark are the bulldogs on that staff.

  5. DelawarePhilliesFan - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    He is the second best Tanner in Baseball History – after the legend of course

  6. jrobitaille23 - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Three starts against the Mets, Marlins and Braves. Three woefully awful offenses. All his other wins are from relief appearances. When he does well against LAD, STL, COL, or CIN then we can talk.

  7. nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    And for those wishing to read this aloud to their dog, Tanner’s last name is pronounced ROE-ark.

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