Goss: Tanner Roark proving to be a Nationals sensation
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org August 19, 2013 8:02PM
The Washington Nationals' Tanner Roark doubles to score teammate Tyler Moore in the fifth inning Saturday against the Atlanta Braves. | AP Photo
Updated: September 21, 2013 6:21AM
Tanner Roark could not have scripted the beginning of his major league career any better.
The Washington Nationals’ right-hander and Wilmington graduate has made four relief appearances (through Sunday) since being elevated from Triple-A Syracuse. He was the winning pitcher in two of the first three, but nothing that happened so far can top last Saturday night in Atlanta.
Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg started but was ejected in the second inning for throwing at an Atlanta hitter. Roark was summoned and provided four shutout innings, allowing one hit while striking out six.
But that was not all. He also got his first two major league at-bats. After grounding out to third his first trip, he ripped a run-scoring double off the base of the left-center field fence off Braves right-hander Anthony Varvaro.
“I knew I hit it well. Some of the guys were asking me, ‘Did you think it was going to go out?’ I thought it had a chance,” Roark told Washington reporters. “I got a pitch up and put a good swing on it.”
Roark, 26, received the ball afterward and said he would give it to his parents, Toby and Jodi, during the four-game series that began Monday night against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Under normal circumstances, Roark would have upped his record to 3-0 on his big night in Atlanta. However, Jason Heyward’s two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth forced extra innings. The Nationals won 8-7 in 15.
In 10 major league innings, Roark is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He has allowed five hits and one unearned run while walking one and striking out seven.
The sample size is small, but it appears he belongs in the show.
When we say Roark could not have scripted the early portion of his big-league career any better, the same goes for Tony Cingrani (Lincoln-Way Central).
A September call-up in 2012, the 24-year-old left-hander has spent most of this season with the Reds and has appeared in 20 games, starting 15. He is 6-2 with a 2.78 ERA. In 94 innings, he has allowed 63 hits and 38 walks while striking out 111. Any time you allow six hits and strike out nearly 11 for every nine innings pitched, you are getting the job done.
Around the minors
Shortstop/second baseman Dean Anna (Lincoln-Way East), a candidate for a September call-up, continues to hit for Tucson, San Diego’s Triple-A affiliate. He is at .333 with 37 doubles, five triples and nine homers to go with 67 RBI.
Right-hander Zach Petrick (Morris, Joliet Junior College), signed as an undrafted free agent last year, is 2-2 with a 4.35 ERA for St. Louis’ Double-A team in Springfield (Mo.). In six starts covering 31 innings, he has allowed 29 hits and 13 walks while striking out 29.
However, counting his remarkable stints for Class A Peoria and A-Advanced Palm Beach, he is 6-2 overall with a 1.76 ERA. In 97 innings, he has struck out 107 and yielded 74 hits and 25 walks.
Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (Minooka) is 5-3 with a 2.76 ERA for Houston’s Double-A affiliate Corpus Christi. He has struck out 91 and allowed 71 hits and 48 walks in 972/3 innings.
Outfielder Joe Benson (Joliet Catholic) had a stint on the disabled list with Texas’ Double-A team Frisco. Since his return, his average has slipped to .215. He has three doubles, three triples and five homers among 23 hits and has driven in 12.
Right-hander Ethan Hollingsworth (Plainfield South) had two starts recently for Pittburgh’s Triple-A team at Indianapolis, then returned to Double-A Altoona and made one more start before going on the disabled list with a right elbow injury. He is 6-5 with a 3.55 ERA at Altoona and 6-6 overall with a 3.65 ERA. He has 11 starts in 26 appearances and has pitched 93 2/3 innings.
Outfielder John Ruettiger (Joliet Catholic) is hitting .249 for Frederick, Baltimore’s A-Advanced affiliate. He is 40-for-47 in stolen bases, 41-for-48 including a brief early stint at Double-A Bowie.
Ryan Quigley (Joliet Catholic) is 1-0 with a 7.23 ERA in 18 2/3 innings for San Diego’s A-Advanced afiliate at Lake Elsinore. He has struck out 20 and walked 11.
Right-hander Tony Bucciferro (Minooka) is 2-4 with a 2.83 ERA for Class A Kannapolis in the White Sox organization. Righty Derek DeYoung (Plainfield Central) is 5-5 with a 4.22 ERA for Beloit, Oakland’s Class A team.