Roark just keeps getting the job done

SAN DIEGO - As pointed out by Nationals manager Matt Williams last night, right-hander Tanner Roark has now delivered nine quality starts in his 12 outings this season.

A 75 percent quality start rate? Out of your No. 5 starter? Yeah, that’ll do.

Roark has worked into the seventh inning seven times in those 12 starts. He’s allowed one earned run or fewer six times.

He’s struck out 61 and walked just 18 in 77 1/3 innings.

His ERA on the season is down to 2.91 after last night’s eight scoreless innings, the best ERA of any Nationals starter.

In a rotation loaded with talented, proven arms, Tanner Roark leads the way in earned run average, batting average against and pitches per inning.

He attacks, he works his two-seam fastball down in the zone, and he doesn’t care about strikeouts, even on a night when he set a career high with 11 Ks in a win over the Padres.

“I don’t try to strike guys out,” he said afterward. “I just try to make good, quality pitches. Strikeouts happen.”

Count the Padres impressed after Roark held them to just one hit into the eighth inning, and just three hits overall.

“Even in a hitter’s count, he doesn’t give you much,” Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso told reporters. “He’s not on the white part. He lives on the black, and he’s got late life.”

It really is remarkable how far Roark has come in a short time.

Two years ago, he lost 17 games at Triple-A Syracuse. Last year at this time, he was a name even those who keep tabs on the Nationals’ minor league system barely knew. In August, Roark got his first big league call-up, and he hasn’t turned back since.

In 16 major league starts, Roark has allowed more than four runs just twice. Talk about keeping your team in the game.

Acquired by the Nats as just one piece in the Cristian Guzman trade with the Rangers a few years ago, Roark hasn’t just provided organization depth or found a way to make a minor impact on a big league roster. The 27-year-old has become arguably the Nats’ most consistent starter this season, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

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