Nationals’ Pitcher Tanner Roark …. Wait, Who?


Exactly …. 

Going into tonight’s game between the Washington Nationals and the Oakland Athletics I know I had ever heard of Tanner Roark. Granted I do follow the American League more so than the National League, still I found it odd that I had never heard of the National’s big, although not necessarily tall or heavy, right-hander. The Nationals are a team I have a soft spot for. There’s no real rhyme or reason for it except that they have two of my favorite former A’s, starter Gio Gonzalez and reliever Jerry Blevins. I assumed I would know something about the all of the other pitchers in their rotation besides Gonzalez, which I did with the exception of Roark. When Roark held the A’s to two hits in 7.2 inning, I thought, “alright, what’s with this kid?”
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In a baseball sense he is a kid even though he made his first pitching appearance at the age of 26 last season. He pitched barely over the rookie status limit of 50 innings (53.2) last season in just 14 games, five of them starts. So going into this season he’s like the pitcher he faced Saturday the A’s Sonny Gray. He is still practically a rookie, but is not considered one under Major League Baseball’s official rules. Gray pitched 64.0 innings last season with Oakland. I got a little comfort regarding my ignorance from that, but I still can’t understand why I hadn’t really heard of this guy. Especially since he has already pitched a complete game shutout this year.
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