Doubleheader sweeps are no easy task. Certainly not when they require a Tanner Roark victory over the Marlins.
Needing their otherwise effective right-hander to reverse his recent trend against Miami, the Nationals instead watched a familiar storyline play out tonight. They lost the nightcap of a split-doubleheader 7-1, with every run charged to Roark.
The Nationals had taken this afternoon's opener 6-4 behind an effective start from Stephen Strasburg, some clutch hits from several members of their lineup and another quality bullpen performance.
None of that was evident in the second half of the day's proceedings. With four regulars sitting, including Bryce Harper (who dropped his appeal and served his one-day suspension), the Nationals were no match for the Marlins.
Roark hasn't been a match for Miami in two years now. After getting tagged for seven runs in five innings tonight, the right-hander fell to 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA in three head-to-head starts this season. (He's 2-0 with an 0.79 ERA in five starts against everybody else.)
Over his last two seasons, Roark is now 0-6 with a 7.14 ERA in nine games (five starts) against the Marlins.
Roark put his team in an early hole tonight, giving up two runs in the top of the second on RBI hits by Miguel Rojas and Derek Dietrich, then a solo homer by Centreville native Justin Bour in the top of the third.
The Nationals still were in the game, cutting the deficit to 3-1 on Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly in the fourth. But the Marlins blew it open in the fifth, getting back-to-back two-run singles from Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto.
The Nats didn't put up much of a fight at the plate, failing to score in three innings against rookie starter Kendry Flores (who departed with a shoulder strain) and managing just one run the rest of the way against Miami's bullpen.
Joe Ross is scheduled to face Marlins ace Jose Fernandez in Sunday's series finale.