Roark pitches around shaky defense, emerges with a win

It’s not particularly fair to evaluate Tanner Roark based on his final pitching line from last night’s game.

Tanner-Roark-throw-white-sidebar.jpgHe gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits in five innings, throwing a whopping 104 pitches in the process. But that doesn’t provide an especially accurate portrayal of his performance.

Roark’s numbers might have looked a whole lot better had the Nationals infield simply made a string of makeable plays behind him.

Officially, there were four errors charged, one to every starting infielder. Unofficially, there were at least six less-than-stellar plays in the field, all of them negatively impacting the right-hander.

“We had a rough night on our infield,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a game with four errors, and everybody on the infield makes an error.”

Roark did still give up some hits in big spots when he had a chance to overcome the defensive mistakes. But he was mostly on his own in this game, left to do whatever he could to make the best of a bad situation.

How did he do that?

“Just keep attacking,” he said. “I’m not perfect, by any means. Nobody’s perfect. Errors are gonna happen. You just try your best to pick up the guy who made the error. I might make the error, so I’ve got to pick myself up at times. You just have to keep going out there and attacking.”

Roark did attack the strike zone, considering 70 of his 104 pitches were strikes. He didn’t walk anybody. He struck out three, again deploying the high fastball he threw with success in his season debut against the Marlins.

“I mean, definitely in the scouting report we were looking at that,” he said. “We were looking at everything. Change eye levels is always good. You don’t want to keep their eyes focused down. Keep them guessing, that’s the name of the game.”

It was hardly his best performance, and the numbers will back that up. But Roark did get through five innings in one piece, and when his teammates rallied to take the lead in the bottom of that frame, he found himself the recipient of a hard-earned (if unconventional) win at the end of the night.

“Tanner battled and battled,” Barker said. “He threw a lot of pitches. He didn’t seem to let the miscues bother him. I’m just glad he got the win to be rewarded for his efforts tonight.”

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