Most A’s fans had no idea who Tanner Roark was before tonight’s game started. After 7 innings, John Jaso was the only member of the A’s team that could still be wondering. The rest of the roster knew he was the pitcher that was dominating them.
Minus Jaso’s solo homer in the 3rd, and Josh Reddick‘s single in the 8th, the Athletics couldn’t get anything going against the Nationals’ Tanner Roark. His final line was nothing short of dominant. 7.2 innings pitched, 2 hits, 1 run and 5 K’s. Tanner Roark answered the question of “who” with authority.
The Nationals and their fans got an answer to their question as well. Who are the A’s? In Friday night’s win, the A’s pounced on starter Doug Fister for 7 runs (5 earned) in his 4.1 innings of work.
In the come-from-behind win on Saturday night, the Athletics, after being dominated throughout most of the game and against all odds (it being a firework night) scored 2 in the bottom of the ninth against Nationals’ closer Rafael Soriano, keeping Soriano’s shirt tucked in for the first time all season. The Nationals got a taste of a dominating victory on Friday, and the fan-favorite walk off win from the, “walk-off capital of baseball” on Saturday.
In the series finale, the A’s send Scott Kazmir to the mound to face former Athletic, Gio Gonzalez. Both lefties are pitching very well this season and this has the workings of a pitcher’s duel. The Athletics hold an advantage because their coaching staff became very familiar with Gio in his 4 seasons with the A’s. Gonzalez has matured into a well-rounded pitcher in his time in Washington, and he should be a completely different pitcher than the one the A’s are most familiar. Sunday’s contest will be a lot of fun to watch regardless.
Finally, in the series preview we did, Pablo Roa of District on Deck said that the Nationals would sweep the Athletics if they met in the World Series. We may have to do a follow-up with Pablo and see if he still feels the same way after the series finale.