Washington Nationals Need Another Strong Outing from Tanner RoarkBy David A.
The Chicago Cubs have won every series at home since late May and will clinch another with a win on Saturday at Wrigley Field as they continue their current series against the Washington Nationals.
The Cubs edged past the Nationals on Friday 3-2 and are now 36-21 at home, while increasing their lead to three games in the National League Central over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs’ three runs came on a two-run single off the bat of Jason Heyward and a based-loaded walk by Anthony Rizzo that brought in the go-ahead run. Chicago used six pitchers on the day allowing a combined nine hits.
Rizzo extended his streak to 14 consecutive games of reaching base safely on Friday.
Washington, coming off a home stand of 7-3, could get just 2 hits in 11 opportunities with runners in scoring positions stranding nine on base. The Nationals have scored three or fewer runs in their three losses during a current 1-3 run. With the loss, Washington is six games behind first place in the NL East.
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper had one hit and a walk in Friday’s opener after sitting out Thursday’s game with Atlanta due to a painful knee.
The Washington Nationals will have Tanner Roark, who has pitched very well of late, on the mound Saturday. The right-hander is 6-12 with a 4.21 ERA. Roark in his past three starts is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA, 20 strikeouts and one walk across 22 innings. On the road this season, Roark has a 3.46 ERA compared to his 5.00 ERA at home. Roark has a career record at Wrigley Field of 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance.
The Cubs will counter with their ace lefthander Jon Lester. The veteran southpaw is 12-4 with a 3.44 ERA. Lester has had the opposite results of Roark of late as his ERA in his last four starts is 8.53 since returning from the All-Star break.
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In two starts during that span Lester has mustered just one strikeout. Over that period Lester has allowed six homers. In six regular season starts against the Nationals Lester has a 2.78 ERA.