Manager Davey Johnson is not yet ready to hand over the fifth starter role to Tanner Roark, following hints that he might send Ross Ohlendorf back to the bullpen following Tuesday’s win over the Marlins.
However, he is leaning that way because he would like to give Roark a shot.
“It is still premature because I need to see if there (are) any problems coming out of the ‘pen today or tomorrow,” Johnson said. “But I did have a conversation with both of them. We will see how things go. That is a possibility.
“I would like to give the kid an opportunity to start.”
Johnson pulled Ohlendorf following Christian Yelich’s solo shot to lead off the sixth in a 2-0 game against the Marlins. It was the only run and just the third hit Ohlendorf had surrendered. Johnson was concerned with the wide discrepancy in Ohlendorf’s fastball velocity from when he gave up the homer to when he was hitting 94 mph earlier in the game.
Johnson felt Ohlendorf had run out of gas.
“Yeah, but sometimes he adds and subtracts a lot on his fastball,” Johnson said. “When he came back, he came out of the ‘pen after his start when he threw a lot of pitches and he was throwing real easy. I don’t know. I am not sure if he was taking a lot off his fastball or just feeling a little tired. I don’t know.”
Ohlendorf said he intended to slow his fastball down a lot Tuesday night, calling it a “BP fastball,” but was unable to locate it where he wanted to on the pitch to Yelich. Johnson agreed that was the issue.
“I love pitchers that add and subtract from their fastball,” Johnson said. “But you generally subtract away and add in. You don’t subtract from your fastball and throw it in. That is not a good idea. A BP fastball thrown inside is not a good idea.
“I know he went to Princeton, but I may have to explain that ain’t a good idea at any point and time in the count.”
Johnson described his meeting with catcher Wilson Ramos and Ohlendorf on the mound after the Marlins’ home run made it 2-1. Johnson decided to switch to his bullpen because he had seen Ohlendorf go through this before with bad results.
“When I came out, Willie (Ramos) said it was a four-seamer, I thought it was a changeup,” Johnson said. “But he does add and subtract. He really ran out of gas the time in the sixth inning before, so I was ready for that this time. It was kind of scary. We were getting ready to go through the meat of the lineup.”
Eight of Roark’s last 10 games at Triple-A Syracuse were starts. He went 6-0 with a 2.05 ERA in 52 and 2/3 innings, with 33 strikeouts, four walks and just 12 earned runs allowed.