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Nationals turning to Tanner Roark in 2nd game of season

Nationals turning to Tanner Roark in 2nd game of season

WASHINGTON -- Marlins first baseman Tyler Moore is a big fan of Tanner Roark, who will get the start for the Washington Nationals against Miami on Wednesday at Nationals Park.

Moore was a backup first baseman/outfielder for the Nationals when Roark made his big league debut in 2013.

The right-hander was 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA that season in 14 games, with five starts. Roark then won 15 games as a starter in 2014 and last season was 16-10 with a 2.83 ERA in 34 games, with 33 starts.

"Tanner is all about makeup," said Moore, standing at his locker in the Marlins clubhouse. "His stuff is good. He goes after guys."

The new catcher for the Nationals is Matt Wieters, who came over from the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent during spring training. Roark was part of Team USA that won a gold medal last month in the World Baseball Classic.

"I think Tanner is a big makeup guy," Wieters said. "He is going to go out there and compete with whatever stuff he has that day. He is very self-aware of what he is working with that day and what he has to do to get hitters out."

RELATED: PERFECT BLEND OF NEW AND OLD GET IT DONE ON OPENING DAY

The Marlins, after losing 4-2 on Opening Day on Monday in Washington, will send right-hander Dan Straily to the mound Wednesday night against the Nationals.

He was 10-11 with a 5.37 ERA in 34 starts last season for the Cincinnati Reds then was acquired in a four-player trade on Jan. 19, 2017 by the Marlins.

Straily has made two starts in his career against the Nationals and is 0-0 with a 3.21 ERA, allowing just four hits in 14 innings but giving up five runs and five walks with seven strikeouts.

Miami, of course, needs more pitching depth after the tragic death of All-Star right-hander Jose Fernandez last September in a boating accident in Florida.

The Marlins do not have a lefty in the bullpen and all four runs by Washington came off the bats of lefties, with homers from Bryce Harper and Adam Lind on Monday.

"Obviously, you'd like to be set up if you had a couple of them, honestly," manager Don Mattingly of the Marlins said. "But I think we're just not set up like that. And I've seen other teams do without it. Some pretty good left-handed hitters over there. We got some of them out. And then a couple of them got us."

Harper hit his fifth career Opening Day homer off right-hander David Phelps, who Mattingly figures to keep using in key situations.

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"Just trying to make some stuff happen," said Harper, who hit eight homers this spring. "We had opportunities in the first five innings to really get stuff going and get it done."

One of the Washington players who has homered off Straily is third baseman Anthony Rendon, who missed the opener Monday with a sore calf.

"He could have played. I thought it would be best if he didn't," said Washington manager Dusty Baker.

With an off day Tuesday, Rendon could be in the lineup Wednesday.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon is hitting .429 against Roark and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has four homers in 25 at-bats against him. Roark has fared well against Marlins first baseman Justin Bour, who grew up in Northern Virginia and went to George Mason University.

Bour is hitting .182 in 22 at-bats against Roark.

RELATED: NATIONALS MINOR LEAGUER AMONG EIGHT SUSPENDED FOR DRUG VIOLATION

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.

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With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.