May 25, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT
Tanner Roark was among the best starting pitchers in the NL last season, a 15-game winner with a 2.85 ERA over 31 starts. But when the Nationals signed Max Scherzer to a record-setting contract in January, Roark found himself the odd man out of a jam-packed rotation, relegated to bullpen duties to begin 2015.
Today, though, Roark finally gets to make his first start of the season. With Doug Fister on the DL with a strained forearm, Roark rejoins the rotation, pitching the opener of a 3-game series against the Cubs. A native of nearby Wilmington, Ill., the right-hander will have a large and rowdy group of friends and family members in attendance at Wrigley Field.
Roark will be facing a very good, young Cubs lineup that features rookie phenom Kris Bryant (.836 OPS through his first career 35 games), not to mention one of the best hitters in the game in Anthony Rizzo (1.015 OPS). Of course, the Nationals have this Bryce Harper kid, who is kind of decent himself. And with the wind blowing out of the Friendly Confines this afternoon, watch out when Harper comes to the plate.
Unfortunately, I’m not with the team on the road this week. But please enjoy the game and the conversation, not to mention your Memorial Day plans…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CHICAGO CUBS
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago
Gametime: 2:20 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, Ch. 9, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 186
Weather: Chance of rain, 75 degrees, Wind 22 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
SS Ian Desmond
3B Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Michael Taylor
RHP Tanner Roark
CF Dexter Fowler
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
SS Starlin Castro
RF Jorge Soler
LF Chris Coghlan
C David Ross
LHP Tsuyoshi Wada
2B Addison Russell
HP Ryan Blakney
1B Mike DiMuro
2B Hunter Wendelstedt
3B Bob Davidson (cc)
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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