WASHINGTON — Tanner Roark was one of the big surprises of the 2016 Washington Nationals’ campaign, winning a career high 16 games (16-10) with a career-low 2.83 ERA as a full-time starter. He also devoured 210 innings for a pitching staff that struggled with injuries, providing the Nats with fantasies of how good they could be with a Big Three in the rotation.

The first half of the 2017 campaign has been a different story for Roark, who has performed to the tune of 6-6 in 17 starts with a 5.27 ERA. He is on pace to surrender a career-high in hits, earned runs and home runs.

But if you want his manager to blame the World Baseball Classic, which interrupts the typical Spring Training routine, you better talk to him off the record:

Whether or not Baker actually believes he can’t disparage the WBC, it would appear that he A). doesn’t want to talk about it, and B). has at least considered the possibility.

It’s hard to call Roark’s performance this year as a regression after a good season, considering his stellar season last year was more in line with his career numbers.

But if Roark is a cautionary tale of what happens to those who participate in the preseason tournament, look for the Nationals’ interest in participating to dry up on the next go-around.


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