Cincinnati Reds: Focus on Tanner Roark’s resolve, not his start

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 01: Tanner Roark #35 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Great American Ball Park on April 1, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 01: Tanner Roark #35 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Great American Ball Park on April 1, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Two of the new starters for the Cincinnati Reds have not gotten off on the right foot. However, Tanner Roark overcame a rough start and finished strong during last night’s loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

If you’ve taken to Twitter or your social media platform of choice, you probably think that Great American Ball Park is caving in around this year’s Cincinnati Reds team and that all hope is lost. While the last two starts for some of the newly acquired pitchers has not been ideal, Tanner Roark showed a lot of resolve after the Milwaukee Brewers jumped out to an early lead.

Tanner Roark was not good during the first inning of last night’s 3-4 loss to the Brewers. However, Roark overcame a rough start and finished strong. While the Reds did not get the results they wanted on the scoreboard, Roark held his own and kept the team in the game until it was handed off to the bullpen.

In the first inning, Roark allowed 3 walks, 3 earned runs, and couldn’t find the strike zone to save his life. The only redeeming aspect of his performance during the start of the game was that he shut down last year’s NL MVP Christian Yelich who’d hit a home run in four consecutive games.

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Things looked bleak and Reds fans were reminded of the rough start that Sonny Gray endured just 24 hours earlier. However, unlike Gray, Roark was able to put the issues that plagued him in the first inning behind him. Over the remaining 3.1 innings that Roark was in the game, he racked up 4 strikeouts, allowed only 3 more hits while keeping the Brewers off the scoreboard.

Roark also didn’t allow another free pass, which is something that’s really tormented the Cincinnati Reds in the first three games of the season. Even Luis Castillo, who was brilliant on Opening Day, issued 3 walks. The first three starters for the Reds have combined for 10 walks and the team as a whole has issued 19 total free trots down to first base.

Every Reds fan was excited to see how the revamped pitching staff would work out. Obviously, to this point, it’s hard to notice a major improvement from last season. However, be patient. We’re only 3 games into a long season and those 3 games represent less than 2% of the total games that the Cincinnati Reds will play by the time the last game of the regular season is played.

Tanner Roark spoke about what it means for a starting pitcher to struggle early and then show the resolve that he did. Here’s a quote from Roark via Reds.com:

"“Starting pitchers should pride themselves on … their job is to stay out there as long as you can. You are going to have blips like that in the first inning where three, four runs, who knows? You can’t just throw in the towel. You have to keep going and not give up.”"

Roark obviously didn’t give up when he was in a jam and neither did his teammates. The Cincinnati Reds rallied from three runs down to tie the game. The lead slipped away late, but the team slowly clawed its way back into contention. I don’t know about you, but that’s the type of player and team that I can cheer for.

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I would encourage fans of the Cincinnati Reds to follow the example set out by Monday night’s starting pitcher. It’s not time to give up and throw in the towel. I know that expectations were high before the season began, but they just went up against one of the best teams in baseball and didn’t back down. Let’s get behind this team.