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October 7, 2016

Tanner Roark

Washington, DC - Pregame one

Q. Two years ago, you were in as a reliever, you were a reliever in the post-season. Tell us the feeling now, getting a chance to start.
TANNER ROARK: It's definitely a dream come true. You know, to get your first start in the post-season. But you've got to go out there and be confident in everything that I do, and, you know, be aggressive and keep doing what I did all during the season. Not change anything and just be myself.

Q. When were you told you would be getting a Game 2 start, and what was your reaction?
TANNER ROARK: It was yesterday. You know, I was obviously very excited to get the Game 2 start at home. And to pitch in front of 42,000 people, it's always a good feeling.

Q. The Dodgers lineup has a bunch of lefties with a lot of power. What kind of challenge does that present and how confident are you you can get those lefties out?
TANNER ROARK: I'm very confident. Just got to use all my pitches and, you know, keep them off balance and keep them guessing. You know, keep being aggressive in the zone and not trying to nibble or do anything like that. Go right after them.

Q. I know coming out of the bullpen last year, you mentioned sometimes you were better at lower velocities even though you could you get that extra edge. Do you anticipate trying to calm yourself down tomorrow or how do you plan on kind of handling the emotions and trying to settle down the velocity a little bit?
TANNER ROARK: Well, emotions already are pretty high right now. So, you know, Game 1, it's just very exciting, and like I said, if you're not nervous, you're not human, and you don't care, I feel like.

So for me, being nervous is a good thing. And I'm not starting till tomorrow, so just got to go out there and do my thing. Just be confident and trust my stuff.

Q. When Stephen went down to the injury a few weeks ago, did you in your own mind sort of understand that your significance was going to go up and kind of take it upon yourself to think of yourself as a more significant part of this rotation?
TANNER ROARK: I never really thought of it as that way. Just wanted to, you know, still be myself. I didn't really -- I knew having Stephen down was a huge blow and guys needed to step up.

So I'm right there to do my best and help out as much as I can, and you know, just honestly, just keep doing my thing and be confident in myself and not worry about distractions and just keeping, basically, blinders on and every fifth day go out there and do my thing.

Q. Happy belated birthday.
TANNER ROARK: Thank you very much.

Q. Big birthday, but big week. Curious, how did you celebrate?
TANNER ROARK: My wife threw a great surprise birthday party for me after the last day game here at home. And she did a heck of a job and I had no idea that she was doing it. So she hid it pretty well. I mean, a lot of the guys from the team came up there and it was a lot of fun.

Q. Knowing how much starters can be creatures of routine and what you need to do to get ready in between each start, when you were throwing live BP the other day, was that your expectation that you were going to start Game 2, or how did you go about preparing if you say you weren't told till yesterday?
TANNER ROARK: I just thought it was a good -- if I started Game 3, I would have nine days off, and if I started Game 2, I would have a week off. So I wanted to get out there and be up on the mound and see live hitters.

Q. You had a strong start out in L.A. against the Dodgers until, I believe, the eighth you gave up the homer. But until that point, you were pitching really well. How much do you look back on that start, maybe watch film of the way you were approaching them, or is it something now that you're facing them at a completely different time and it's a completely different approach or way of attacking?
TANNER ROARK: I mean, they have faced me before and I've faced them before and I've faced them in previous years. You just have to go out there -- I remember a lot of the things, the pitches I've thrown and stuff like that to the particular hitters and stuff.

So go back and definitely watch a little video and read the scouting report, because obviously we've come a long way since June. So they have made adjustments and I've made adjustments myself. So just got to go out there and, again, pitch with your full confidence and not be afraid to make a mistake and be aggressive.

Q. What about the fact that you won back in 2014 and had to be into the bulletin in 2015, but what's the sense of satisfaction for you to set a career high in wins this year and go back to being the starter and the pitcher that you know you are?
TANNER ROARK: It feels good. 16 is a great total, that I guess is better than 15. But I wouldn't obviously have 16 wins without the other guys in the clubhouse and the locker room and Dusty giving me a lot of chances to stay in the game when I had a high pitch count or with guys on and one out and stuff like that. He trusted me and that built confidence in myself, you know, to go out there and keep pitching.

Q. You've had some big moments this year, you pitched against Arrieta on Mother's Day in front of your hometown people, beat Bumgarner, all big moments. The game obviously hasn't happened yet, but this assignment, where does that rank in your mind as far as big moments?
TANNER ROARK: For this Game 2? It's definitely, it will help us to do our best to try to move on, and it's definitely a big game tonight, first of all. Game 1 is most important, and then, you know, Game 2 tomorrow is going to be even higher expectations for myself, just to go out there and do the stuff that I know I can do. You know, pitch with confidence and go as long as I can in the game and literally leave everything out there on the field.

Q. Just curious, what have your impressions been of Clayton Kershaw in the little time you've gotten to see him from across the field or on TV or whatever; what do you think of him as a starter in general?
TANNER ROARK: I mean, he's definitely, basically, a household name. If you hear Clayton Kershaw, you know exactly who he is. He's made himself known for how competitive he is and how much he goes out there and competes.

He's not afraid to -- he doesn't walk any guys. He's going right after you, and that's -- I would love to be that way. So as time goes on, hopefully I can get that, get out there and be as aggressive and even more aggressive as he is.

Q. What do you think the next 24 hours are going to be like for you, knowing you have to watch tonight, and talking about what a big moment it is? I'm sure you wish it goes really fast.
TANNER ROARK: Yes and no. I'm very excited. Like I said, I already said before, I was already nervous before I woke up this morning. And I'm not pitching till tomorrow (laughter).

It's just the kind of person I am to, you know, want to win and the will to win, and to go out there and see everybody succeed is the ultimate goal.

Q. Have you taken any extra time this week to work with the backup catchers that will now be, one of them, starting with you tomorrow?
TANNER ROARK: Yes, I've been working with both of them, just how I see guys and the lineup, we went through the whole entire -- all the guys that they have for the post-season roster, who they have on the bench and stuff like that, who they will have in the lineup. We have gone through and talked about them and what I want to do to a lot of the hitters.

Q. You're up over 200 innings for the first time in your career. Do you do anything physically and do you change your maintenance at this point in the season?
TANNER ROARK: No, I haven't changed anything. Kind of stay on top of your work and not do -- that's the main thing. You've got to keep working hard because it's not going to just be given to you. You've got to keep going out there, day-in, day-out, for four days before -- leads up till the fifth day and you've got to get your work in in the weight room, running, and do everything to be willing to go and feel 110 percent come day five.

Q. I remember in 2013, your first start, they made a huge deal back home, projector screen in the cul de sac in the garage and all that. What's it going to be like tomorrow?
TANNER ROARK: I haven't really -- I know that my buddy just passed the bar, so he's going to be having a huge party at one of our local establishments (laughter.) There's going to be a bunch of people there, so I'm sure they will have the game on there. But other than that, I haven't heard much. But I'm sure there will be people everywhere watching.

Q. I know you weren't part of the team in 2012, but the two times this team made the Playoffs before, just the accomplishments of what you have achieved in the regular season but losing in the first round each time. How much have you thought about that and how much has it bugged you that you have not advanced past the first round?
TANNER ROARK: It does, and it irks a lot of guys that this Nationals team has not made it past the first round.

But you know, the main thing is we've got to take it one game at a time and not worry about the next game and the next two or three games. You've got to go out there -- Game 1 is most important. Win Game 1; Game 2 is most important. You've just got to take it game by game.

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