Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Lack of offense spoils Joe Ross’ solid debut

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Jun 6, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Joe Ross (41) throws to the Chicago Cubs during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Ross Solid in Major League Debut

When the Nationals traded outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Rays last winter as part of a three-team deal that also included the Padres, most of the talk about the Nationals’ side of the trade focused on Trea Turner—a promising young shortstop prospect who is currently in the Padres’ minor league system but will soon join the Nationals as the player-to-be-named-later in the deal. But, as impressive as Turner is, he wasn’t the only player that the Nationals got from the Padres in the trade.

While Turner may very well be the Nationals’ shortstop of the future, the trade also brought Joe Ross to the Nationals—a talented right-hander who is considered the team’s No. 4 prospect, according to MLB.com.

Given the Nationals’ stacked pitching staff at the start of the season and Ross’ inexperience, few expected him to contribute at the big league level until at least 2016. But thanks to his success in the minors this season and the Nationals’ dire need for fresh arms at the big league level, Ross was called up to the big leagues and made his big league debut Saturday. And while he came away with the loss, the right-hander did not disappoint.

Ross, 22, allowed three runs  on six hits while striking out four batters over five solid innings. The young right-hander was dominant early on, carrying a perfect game into the fourth inning. While Ross gave up three runs and came away with the loss, the fact that he held his own in a big league game despite never having pitched above Double-A is impressive, and was something the Nationals needed.

"“I was a little nervous, but it’s the same game when you go out there and pitch,” Ross told MLB.com. “I had great defense behind me. There were a lot of balls hit hard that got picked up or caught — and that was a little comforting, knowing the guys were behind me like that.”"

Yesterday’s debut was even more special for Ross because several family members, including brother and fellow major-leaguer Tyson Ross, were in the stands to cheer him on. It’s not clear if Ross will stay with the big league club for a while or head back to Double-A. One thing’s for certain, we’ll definitely be hearing a lot about Joe Ross over the next few years.

Next: Offense Nowhere to be Found (Again)