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  W: T. Rainey (1-1)   L: T. Roark (4-4)   S: S. Doolittle (11)
1:10 PM PT2:10 PM MT3:10 PM CT4:10 PM ET16:10 ET20:10 GMT4:10 1:10 PM MST3:10 PM EST3:40 PM VEN0:10 UAE (+1)3:10 PM CT, June 1, 2019
Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio  Attendance: 27,748

Reds' Roark faces ex-Nats teammates for first time

The Washington Nationals' Erick Fedde and the Reds' Tanner Roark have at least one thing in common before they square off Saturday: Neither has faced the other team going into the middle game of a three-game series in Cincinnati.

Fedde (1-0, 2.18 ERA) has appeared in only 21 major league games over two seasons, 16 of them starts. The 26-year-old is 3-5 with a 5.42 ERA overall.

Roark (4-3, 3.20 ERA) is in his seventh big league season, but he has never faced the Nationals because, through last season, he was one of them.

The 32-year-old veteran went 68-57 with a 3.59 ERA in 182 games (141 starts) for Washington. His best season was 2016, when he went 16-10 with a 2.38 ERA.

In 2018, however, Roark lost a league-worst 15 games, and Washington traded him to Cincinnati in December. He wound up avoiding arbitration with the Reds by agreeing to a one-year, $10 million deal.

"It's going to be a battle," Roark said Friday of facing his former team, his comments coming before the Reds defeated the Nationals 9-3.

"It's going to be strange. But eye contact, I'm going to. I usually don't (make eye contact with hitters), but with guys I know, it's going to be like backyard baseball with your friends."

Roark went 3-2 with a 2.28 ERA over five starts in May. He won his latest game, pitching five shutout innings Sunday in the Reds' 10-2 road win over the Chicago Cubs. He allowed six hits and a walk and struck out nine, although he ran his pitch count up to 102.

"At certain times, when I needed to make pitches, I made my pitches," Roark said afterward. "I don't like to throw 100-and-some pitches in five innings, but (the Cubs are) a tough team, kept on fouling off a bunch of stuff, so I just kept on battling. I wasn't willing to give in."

With Roark gone and Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson out due to a shoulder strain, Fedde is making the most of his time in the rotation after seven relief appearances.

In his two starts, Fedde is 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings. His win came in his last time out, when he shut out the Miami Marlins for five innings on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts. The Nationals won the game 9-6 on Sunday.

Washington manager Dave Martinez said after that start that Fedde is "using all his pitches well. His two-seamer is really effective right now. Plus, he's throwing his changeup, and his curveball and slider are good. He needs to stay right there and he'll be back out there in the next five days."

"We have a good progression going," Fedde said, referring to his transition to the rotation. "Just going to keep that going and hopefully here in the next start or two, I'll be back to full-fledge. They can let me go as long as I can."

Reds first baseman Joey Votto rapped three hits Friday, his fifth straight multi-hit game. He has raised his batting average from .208 on May 19 to .253 thanks to a seven-game hitting streak.

May proved to be a turnaround month for the Reds' offense, which hit .212 in March/April but batted .259 in May, capped by Friday's 15-hit performance.

Juan Soto finished with three of the Nationals' seven hits on Friday, including his 10th home run of the season. He is batting .472 (25-for-53) during a 14-game hitting streak.

--Field Level Media

Updated June 1, 2019

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