(SportsNetwork.com) - Right-hander Tanner Roark gets the call on short notice Thursday when the Washington Nationals try to complete a three-game season- opening sweep versus the New York Mets at Citi Field.
The Nationals had planned to start righty Jordan Zimmermann, who was 19-9 a year ago, but he was scratched with flu-like symptoms. So instead it will be Roark, who had been slated to start Washington's home opener on Friday against Atlanta.
Roark appeared in 14 games (5 starts) as a rookie last season and went 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA.
The 27-year-old hurler won a spot in the rotation this spring, as he allowed 11 hits, five earned runs and three walks over 13 2/3 Grapefruit League innings. He also struck out 11 batters and held the opposition to a .224 BAA.
New York, meanwhile, will hand the ball to 23-year-old right-hander Zack Wheeler, who will be starting his first full big league season. Wheeler went 7-5 a year ago after getting recalled and pitched to a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts.
He also pitched to a 3.42 ERA this spring.
"He's got to realize how good he can be," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "There's going to be times, as we talked about last year, where he can just take over a game. And he knows that."
On Wednesday, Gio Gonzalez homered in his first start of the season for the second straight year, and the Nationals hurler was just as impressive on the mound as Washington rolled to a 5-1 win.
Gonzalez (1-0) surrendered a run in the first inning when Juan Lagares led off with a triple into the right-field gap and scored on David Wright's sac fly.
"Once he established his fastball command everything just kind of worked off that. He did that tonight, settled in and was able to use that command to his advantage. He was good," said Nationals manager Matt Williams of his starter.
Bartolo Colon (0-1) lasted six frames and was charged with three runs on nine hits to take the loss for the Mets, who lost in 10 innings on Opening Day.
New York has also struck out 31 times over the first two games -- eight more than the most in team history.
Washington won 12 of its 19 meetings with the Mets last season.