Jun 28, 2015, 8:01 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After a dazzling performance by Stephen Strasburg in the opener of their doubleheader, the Nationals were hoping for something special out of Tanner Roark in the nightcap. They didn’t get it, nor did they get enough offense against the Phillies’ fill-in starter, Severino Gonzalez, and thus were left to settle for a twinbill split on a long day at Citizens Bank Park.
Roark, summoned out of the bullpen to make the spot start, was tagged for eight runs on 12 hits in only 3 1/3 innings, putting the Nationals in an early hole. They tried to dig their way out of it, but couldn’t take advantage of a laborious Gonzalez (114 pitches in 5 1/3 innings).
The Nats did get towering home runs from Ian Desmond and Jose Lobaton, but not enough to climb all the way back into it. And so they saw their 8-game winning streak come to an end at the end of a really long day at the ballpark.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: It’s been a difficult season for Desmond, but maybe, just maybe, he’s starting to come out of his slump at the plate. His fourth-inning home run certainly was among his best offensive highlights of the season. Desmond destroyed a pitch from Gonzalez to deep left-center field, the ball landing in the last of about 20 rows that make up the bleachers here. At 458 feet, it was the longest home run hit at Citizens Bank Park this season. And it left Desmond 5 for his last 15, with two homers during that stretch. That can only be viewed as a positive sign for the struggling shortstop.
PITCHING LOWLIGHT: This wasn’t exactly an easy assignment for Roark, who entered Game 1 knowing he might be needed out of the bullpen if Stephen Strasburg got knocked out early. And the Phillies didn’t exactly crush the ball against him, certainly not early on; four of their first six hits either never left the infield or were perfectly placed groundballs that sneaked their way through. But Roark also struggled to put away hitters when he had the chance, as evidenced by the zero strikeouts he recorded in 3 1/3 innings. He wound up taking a bit of one for the team, needed to pitch the fourth in an attempt to keep the bullpen from throwing more than absolutely necessary.
KEY STAT: The 12 hits allowed by Roark tied the club record, set six times previously: Jason Marquis, John Lannan, Shawn Hill (twice) and Livan Hernandez (twice).
UP NEXT: The Nationals will take a much-needed day off before continuing their road trip Tuesday night in Atlanta. It’ll be Jordan Zimmermann (5-5, 3.42) vs. Shelby Miller (5-3, 1.94) in the opener at 7:10 p.m.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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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)...
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