Roark, Nationals bullpen give up 13 runs in blowout loss
Tanner Roark’s head began to whip around in the top of the first inning. Four of the first five Atlanta Braves hitters reached base. Three scored. The Nationals trailed, 3-0, one out into the game.
That, in itself, would be a troubling tale. But this was not a singular nightmare. It repeated throughout the day. Atlanta pummeled the Nationals, 13-2, Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park. The loss diffused joy from Tuesday’s win, which snapped a four-game losing streak.
Washington has lost five of six. A four-game series with the second-place New York Mets — now nine games behind the Nationals heading into Wednesday night — is on the horizon.
Wednesday concluded a seven-game homestand for the Nationals. They came up with just two wins during the week, undoing the work they had done on the road prior. Washington returned from a West Coast trip with a stout 7-2 record during the journey. One of those defeats was a one-run loss against Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw. There was much to crow about.
However, since they have been back, the Nationals’ ever-lasting bullpen problem has resurfaced, basic plays were muffed and there was no mesh between the offense and pitching. The only thing consistent through the homestand was finding a way to lose to two subpar teams. The Texas Rangers, who completed a sweep of the Nationals last weekend, are just
14-18 on the road despite winning three consecutive games. Atlanta is spending another season being knocked around by the league. It hoisted its record to just 29-36 after winning two of three.
“We were playing so well on the West Coast, then we didn’t play well here at home, defensively, pitching, hit the ball pretty good most days,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “It was a tough homestand. This is not the kind of homestand you want to exhibit in front of your home fans.”
June has not been enjoyable for Roark. He allowed seven earned runs in just five innings Wednesday.
The Texas Rangers came up with 11 hits against him in six innings June 9. His ERA for the season is up to 4.39. Video showed him holding the ball too long prior to its release.
“I know myself pretty well and that was my main issue,” Roark said. “I was obviously struggling to find some things.”
Trevor Gott and Blake Treinen followed Roark with ineffective stints of their own Wednesday. Gott, called up Monday from Triple-A Syracuse to provide an extra bullpen pitcher, allowed five runs in 12⁄3 innings. Treinen continues his tumble from Opening Day closer to untrustworthy. In 2⁄3 of an inning, he allowed two hits, one earned run, walked one and struck out one. His ERA is a troubling 6.51.
Before the game, Baker said he thought a consistent closer would help smooth the bullpen’s woes.
“They’ve all struggled,” Baker said. “Which one would you pick out to replace? I hear people in the stands, ‘Hey, Dusty! Take him out of there!’ OK. Who would you want me to put in there? Everybody in some point of time, has done the job, done well. I honestly feel that a bonafide closer would put everybody in a position where they should be.
“Like [Matt] Albers. He got his first save after 10 years. Evidently, if he was a closer, he would have been there before now. All the other guys have -- we’re asking some of these guys to do something, not that they’re not capable of doing, but we don’t know and they don’t know what it’s like. That sixth and seventh is a lot different than eighth and ninth.”
A lone bright light Wedneday came from Nationals outfielder Brian Goodwin, who hit his fourth home run and third in the last four games.
Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker walks off the field after putting in relief pitcher Joe Blanton during the eighth inning of a 13-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. The Nationals bullpen gave up six runs. “They’ve all struggled,” Baker said. “Which one would you pick out to replace?”
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark allowed seven earned runs in just five innings on Wednesday. Four of the first five Atlanta Braves hitters in the game reached base.