Nationals likely to use Tanner Roark in the bullpen for playoffs

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Here’s how much starting pitching depth the Nationals have: Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that they’re likely to use Tanner Roark out of the bullpen in the playoffs and there’s really no strong reason to argue against it.

Roark was fantastic this season, posting a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts with a 138/39 K/BB ratio in 199 innings. And he was even better as a rookie last season, giving him a combined 2.57 ERA in 252 innings as a big leaguer.

For a lot of teams that’s a No. 1 or No. 2 starter in the playoffs, but the Nationals have Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, and Gio Gonzalez.

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.