Tanner Roark was pretty darn good today. Yu Darvish was better.
Roark allowed one run over seven strong innings, scattering seven hits. His lone blemish in the run column came on a Leonys Martin solo homer in the seventh.
That was all Darvish needed. The Rangers ace was spectacular, striking out 12 over eight scoreless innings, helping Texas salvage the finale of this three-game set.
Here’s Nationals manager Matt Williams after the loss:
On Darvish: “I saw him a couple times last year. He’s pretty good. Pretty good pitcher. Ability to throw all his pitches for strikes and add and subtract the fastball, too. So when he needs to get to it, he can reach and get 96, 97 (mph). Good pitcher. Had some chances against him, but couldn’t capitalize on it.”
On if hitters are sharing information on Darvish’s stuff in the dugout: “That happens every day regardless of who’s out there, but he made good pitches when he had to. The first at-bat to Jayson (Werth), big slider and made a nice play on it to go back and catch it. We had a couple more shots at it, too, but that’s why he’s done what he’s done. He’s a pretty good pitcher.”
On Roark’s start: “He made one mistake to Martin, a changeup that was up in the strike zone, but other than that, he matched him perfectly. He made pitches when he had to, as well. He just made one mistake and hung a changeup. I think he pitched really well.”
On what Roark has showed in his time in the rotation: “I think over the last year-ish, he’s showed us that he can throw strikes and he competes and can do a lot of things on the diamond. He handles the bat well, fields his position well. So all of those things combined show us that he’s a rotation guy. Three pitches, really, for strikes. An occasional slider, occasional curveball, but fastball-changeup to both sides. Today was a little off, a little command, but he made them when he had to make them. He pitched well.”
On Roark making an adjustment after the first couple of innings: “I just think he found it a little bit. He was missing early with the fastball, but found it. Everything else works off of that, so he was able to go deeper in the game.”
On there being two challenges on the same play, one by each manager, in the first inning: “He’s got the right to challenge anything he likes, the opposing manager does. But I just wanted to make sure that my eyes weren’t deceiving me, that I thought the signal at second base was before the runner touched home plate. So that was my challenge.”
On how Gio Gonzalez came through his simulated game today: “Gio’s good. After the session today, he reported that he felt great. So we’ll look to a rehab start in the coming days. But he came out of it great.”
On Ryan Zimmerman’s rehab game at Single-A Potomac: “Two-for-4, an RBI single and a double. He ran the bases effectively, went first to third. Was caught in a rundown between third and home, I believe, and slid headfirst back into third with no issues. (Deep sigh.) As he takes a deep breath.”
On Zimmerman in left field: “He had three chances. One fly ball, a couple of balls went out there. Did fine. So he’s got another one tomorrow.”
On if Zimmerman will play a full nine innings tomorrow: “That’s the plan.”