Washington Nationals News: Joe Ross Back In The Nats Starting Rotation
By Ricky Keeler
The Washington Nationals made it official this afternoon when they announced that 22-year-old right-handed pitcher Joe Ross will be back in the starting rotation. He gets the start tonight against the Mets and one of the toughest pitchers in the National League, Jacob deGrom. It will be Ross’ first start with the Nats since his outing on June 19 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, when he gave up one run and struck out 11 over 7.1 innings. Here is the official move that the organization made:
On June 23, the Nationals sent Ross to triple-A when they activated Stephen Strasburg off the disabled list. The Nats needed a fifth starter for their rotation and they were not able to use Tanner Roark because he last pitched on Friday and part of Saturday because of the faulty lights in the Nats-Dodgers game. According to manager Matt Williams, it appears Ross is here to stay in the rotation until Strasburg comes back:
One thing that the Nats found out about Ross when he came up to the big leagues on June 6 was that he wasn’t afraid of the big stage. In three starts, he was 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA and he only had two combined walks in those outings. Ross can also give the Nats length in games since he averaged 100 pitches per outing in June.
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When the Nationals sent Ross down, it was more of a promotion than a demotion because he had not pitched on the triple-A level either with the Nats or when he was in the Padres organization. Ross was acquired by the Nats this offseason in the three-team deal with San Diego and Tampa Bay that also got them shortstop Trea Turner. He began the season at double-A Harrisburg, where he went 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA in nine outings.
In five starts with Syracuse, Ross went 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA. While he only went five innings in each outing, he did not give up more than three runs in any of those starts. In his last start on Thursday against the Gwinnett Braves, he went five innings, gave up no runs on two hits, struck out three, and did not walk a batter. He did walk seven batters with the Chiefs, but three of those came in one start on July 11 against Rochester (Minnesota Twins).
Wilmer Difo is now back with double-A Harrisburg and will get the opportunity to get more playing time after being on the Nats bench and getting rare pinch-hit opportunities. Difo is 1-for-8 with the Nationals this season. This season, with the Senators, the 22-year-old shortstop is hitting .286 with 18 RBI’s. He has a .324 on-base percentage and has stolen ten bases in 11 opportunities over the course of 44 games.