and opponents are hitting just .207 against him.Whether or not the weighty workload will eventually catch up to | Forum

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The Ivy League has proposed tightening NCAA rules to prevent coaches from recruiting high school athletes before their junior years. Javier Hernandez Jersey .The NCAA already has rules against coaches making early contact with prospective athletes pre-junior year, but holes in the regulations have accelerated the recruiting process and led to nonbinding scholarship offers, contact during camps and unofficial campus visits.Under the Ivys proposal, coaches would not be allowed to make verbal offers of financial aid or provide support in the admission process before the prospective athletes junior year. Coaches would be prohibited from initiating or receiving telephone calls, planning unofficial visits and having recruiting conversations at camps and clinics before the start of a high school athletes junior year.The proposal will be considered for legislation by NCAA membership in January. Carlos Pena Jersey . Meanwhile, there were huge victories for Sunderland and West Ham over fellow relegation rivals, leaving the battle to avoid the drop up for grabs with the bottom 11 teams separated by just six points. Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres scored second-half goals to seal a fourth straight victory for Chelsea, which climbed above Arsenal and Manchester City in the standings ahead of their games on Monday and Sunday respectively. Paul Aguilar Jersey . President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest was fired Friday after 12 years with the Marlins. The move came as the team neared the end of its third consecutive last-place season in the NL East. http:///...amirez-jersey-mexico . Louis Blues teammates who would also be participating in the Olympics, Alex Pietrangelo felt right at home, no different in some ways to the travel experience of any old road trip – save for the length of the journey, that is. Note to reader: Theres nothing worse than when you read a story only to find out afterward that, in your head, you were mispronouncing the name of the central character the entire time. To that end, you should know that its pronounced RO-ark, not Rork. Tanner Roark has arrived. We know this not because of the 13-6 record that puts him on pace to win 17 games. Not because of the sparkling 2.87 ERA. Not because he starts home openers, stops seven-game losing streaks and humbles Jake Arrieta. We know that Tanner Roark has arrived because of the locker.Like most locker rooms, the Washington Nationals clubhouse is segregated by position. When you walk into D.C.s other oval-shaped office, youll find the relievers on the front left side, followed by the position players, whose territory begins on the back left side and wraps around to the back right. The starting pitchers, who are and have been the lifeblood of Washingtons success these past few years, occupy the front right. This is the way it is. This is the way it has been. This is the way it will be.Prior to this season, Tanner Roarks locker was on the front left. Smack dab in the middle of reliever country. And why wouldnt it be? Although Roark was a starter in the minors, he initially found gainful big league employment in the bullpen. When he debuted with the Nats in August of 2013, his first nine appearances came in relief, where he was effective enough (1.19 ERA in 20-plus innings) that in September, the club gave him a test drive in the rotation ... where he was effective enough (no earned runs in three of five starts) that in 2014, he broke camp as the teams No. 5 starter ... where he was effective enough (15-10, 2.85 ERA) that you wouldve expected him to get (A) a spot in the 2015 rotation and (B) a locker relocation. But neither of those things happened.In January of 2015, when the Nationals signed free agent Max Scherzer to a seven-year, $210 million contract to be their ace, Roark was suddenly on the outside looking in. It didnt matter that he was second on the team in wins the year before. Didnt matter that his 1.09 WHIP was eighth best in the NL. Or that he won his final three starts down the stretch as Washington marched into the postseason for just the second time in Nationals history. None of it mattered. And so Roark found himself relegated to relief. Again. The fact that he didnt need to relocate -- that his locker was already in the low-rent district -- was no consolation.It was not easy, says the 29-year-old righty of the demotion. I felt like I did pretty well in 2014, and suddenly Im headed to the bullpen. But I did what I had to do.What he had to do was damn near everything. He pitched in short relief. He pitched in long relief. He entered some games in the early innings, others during crunch time. He made spot starts when the Nationals needed him to, and closed when they needed that. He even spent time toiling in the minors so that he could get stretched back out to being a full-time starter, which was his role for the final month of the season, but only because the team didnt have any other healthy options. Not surprisingly, his performance suffered.I just felt like there wasnt any routine, says Roark, who posted a 4.38 ERA in 40 appearances, including 12 starts. Through it all he never griped because, well, thats just not how he rolls. But looking back, he admits that the identity crisis messed with his head. I didnt know when I was going to be pitching, what inning, if I was long relief, if I was one inning, if I was a one-batter guy, so it was hard for me to prepare myself. Mentally, I was in limbo.Physically, he was in flux, too. As a reliever, without the need to conserve his energy for a long outing, his velocity spiked. Instead of 91 or 92 mph, where his sinking two-seam fastball typically sat when he started, the radar gun was routinely registering 94s and 95s. Even when he found himself back in the rotation, he had trouble dialing it down. Just like that, hed turned the clock back three years -- and not in a good way.That sinking feelingBack in the summer of 2012, Roark was a not-so-hot prospect toiling away at the Nationals Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse. A former 25th-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers, hed had some modest success in low-level pro ball. But after being dealt to Washington in 2010, he struggled as more mature hitters started teeing off on his flat four-seam fastball. That season at Syracuse, he compiled a horrific 6-17 record. But when Greg Booker, the Chiefs pitching coach at the time, looked at Roark, he saw a guy with sound mechanics, a live arm and off-the-charts moxie. Says Booker: He was the best 17-game loser Id ever seen.So midway through that 2012 campaign, Booker, a former big league hurler whose bread and butter had been a sinking two-seam fastball, decided it was time to tweak Roarks repertoire. His stuff was always good, says Booker. It was just a little bit straight. So the coach schooled up his hurler on the sinker. They practiced pronating. They fiddled with finger pressure. They goofed around with grip. At first, the burly right-hander couldnt make the thing do what it was supposed to do -- move down and in toward righties, down and away from lefties -- because he was giving it too much gas. He was throwing through the sink, not allowing aerodynamics to run its natural course. Eventually the teacher convinced the pupil that, when it comes to the sinker, less is more. Once he smoothed it out and didnt throw through the movement, Booker says, thats when he figured it out.After working to a 5.71 ERA in his first 18 starts during that 2012 season, Roark rode his new sinker to a 2.31 ERA over his last eight starts. Ever since, he has been a different pitcher. Even though his diverse repertoire also includes a slider, curveball and changeup, its the sinker that gives opponents fits. Its the sinker that allows him to avoid barrels (his 23.6 percent hard-hit rate is the lowest among big league starters) and keep the ball on the ground (his 50 percent ground-ball rate ranks 11th in the NL). Its the sinker thats become his calling card. Having a new cubby doesnt hurt either.Even though Roarks story is the kind of underdog tale that Disney movies are made of, the moment when he found out he was finally moving across the locker room had all the cinematic sizzle of a documentary about the history of the paper clip. There was no team meeting. There was no inspirational speech. There was no deliberate applause where one teammate starts clapping unnaturally slowly and then all the others join in, inevitably chanting Tan-ner, Tan-ner, Tan-ner ... Instead, it went like this:INTERIOR, NATIONALS SPRING TRAINING CLUBHOUSE IN VIERA, FLORIDA -- DAYY Country music plays over the receiver in the middle of the room. Cheap Mexico Jerseys 2018. Several dozen grown men in tight pants sit in folding chairs in front of their lockers, checking their phones and chitchatting with one another.MIKE WALLY WALLACE, bespectacled, mustached, 50-something clubhouse manager, walks up to TANNER ROARK, 29, bearded and perpetually sweat-soaked pitcher.WALLY Hey, do you wanna move over to the starters side?TANNER Yeah.That was it. A month later, when Roark headed north for the 2016 regular season, he walked into the home clubhouse at Nationals Park to find that his locker was no longer on the front left side of the oval office with all the relievers. Instead, it was on the front right with the starters, right next to Stephen Strasburg, the former No. 1 overall pick who would soon sign a $175 million contract extension. Just like that, Tanner Roark had finally made it to the high-rent district.To be clear, during the two-plus seasons that Roark was in the low-rent district, he didnt care about that one bit. After all, hes about as grinder as it gets. The Midwestern son of a truck driver dad and a school nurse mom, frills are not his thing. Youd never know he was a professional athlete, and even if you did, between the beard and the thick build, the Great Lakes accent and the hyper-humble demeanor, youd swear he played hockey -- the ultimate grinder sport. But just because he didnt aspire to the high-rent hood doesnt mean hes not happy to be there.Absolutely, he says, when asked if theres a sense of home to his new digs. He takes a moment to think about it, looks across the clubhouse to where his old locker used to be, then turns back and leans into his current cubby. Home is a great way to put it. I feel comfortable. I feel confident. His teammates notice the change, too.He just seems more comfortable, says Scherzer, whose locker is at the opposite end of starters row. He belongs here. He knows he belongs here. He knows hes good enough to get these guys out. Hes going to go out there and do his thing. Once you choose to have that type of confidence, thats when you pitch your best.Ace-assinRoarks best has been a revelation. A year after getting bounced to the bullpen, he has established himself as a mainstay in Washingtons rotation and is even beginning to make a name for himself outside the District. His 13 wins are tied for fourth among National League starters. His 2.87 ERA is top 10. His 163 innings pitched are top five, and hes had seven outings where he has thrown at least seven scoreless frames, tied with Arrieta for the most in the majors. As confident as Roark is in his own abilities, his manager is just as confident, if not more.Even though Roark is listed as the teams fourth starter on the depth chart, Dusty Baker has gone on record as saying that if the playoffs began today, his top three would be Scherzer, Strasburg and Roark. Depending on what happens with Strasburgs health -- the Tommy John survivor was placed on the DL earlier this week with a sore elbow -- Roark could even end up being the Nats No. 2 guy come October. Its a gig hed be well prepared for, seeing as how Baker has made a habit of sending his resilient righty out there against some of the games top hurlers. In return, Roark has made a habit of making his skipper look smart.On Mothers Day in Chicago, with dozens of family members looking on (Roark is from nearby Wilmington, Illinois), he drew Arrieta and outdueled the 2015 Cy Young winner, allowing no earned runs over six innings and leaving with a 3-1 lead (Washington ended up losing in extras). On July 28 in San Francisco, he tossed seven innings of four-hit ball to beat Johnny Cueto. Two starts later in D.C., facing the first-place Giants again, he hung an L on Madison Bumgarner by going eight scoreless to lead the Nats to a 1-0 win.I love it, says Roark of his growing reputation as an ace-assin. I love facing their best guy. I get off on it, a hundred percent. Why not go out there and compete against their best pitcher and beat him?Of all the big moments that Roark has had this year, and there have been plenty (he started the teams home opener in April, stopped its season-long seven-game losing streak in June, and had a 15-K outing in between), its the Bumgarner game that hes most proud of. But not for the reasons youd think.Yes, beating one of baseballs best is a feather in the cap. Sure, slaying a postseason legend is a measuring-stick moment. But more than whom he defeated, what matters most to Roark is how he defeated him.As a starter, you have your great games where you feel untouchable and you have your awful games, but the bulk of them are the in-between games. The grinders. Those are the ones that make you. Against Bumgarner, I didnt have my best stuff. But sometimes you dont have to have your best stuff if youre competitive enough to not want to give up that first run. I just didnt wanna lose.Games arent the only thing that Roark refuses to lose. After having his spot in the rotation taken away once, hes not about to let it happen again.Hes hungry, Baker says. Hes like a warrior. He wanted this spot and he got it, and he doesnt plan on giving it up.Even if it means subjecting his body to the kind of abuse that lawsuits are made of. In April, when Washingtons home opener was halted by an 85-minute rain delay after the first inning -- about 40 minutes longer than the industry norm for not sending a starter back to the mound -- Roark went out and picked up where he left off. In July, when a fatigued Nats bullpen needed a blow, Roark came to the rescue and tossed two-plus innings of scoreless relief. On the season, he has thrown more pitches (2,575) than any NL hurler not named Bumgarner, Scherzer or Cueto and is on pace to fire nearly twice as many bullets as he did last year. Through it all, Roark has kept right on grinding -- and then some. One of those freaks who seems to get stronger as the game wears on, he has gotten better as the season has worn on, too: During the first half, he posted a 3.01 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .244 average. Since the break, he has worked to a 2.51 ERA and opponents are hitting just .207 against him.Whether or not the weighty workload will eventually catch up to Roark remains to be seen. If it does, it wouldnt be the first time a starting pitcher has buckled on Bakers watch. But Washingtons manager is convinced that Roark can handle it.If you wanna tackle this guy, Baker says, you better bring a lunch, dinner and some snacks.A tent might not be a bad idea either. Just make sure you set up camp in the high-rent district. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '