Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Joe Ross Loses Command In Loss To Dodgers

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Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ross’ Control Problems Eventually Cost Him

Through the first seven starts of his career, Joe Ross was best known for being a pitcher that would pound the strike zone and not give up too many free passes. Last night, Ross had one of his worst starts of his career.

The 22-year-old right-hander went 4.2 innings, gave up five runs on six hits, struck out one, and walked four on 89 pitches (52 strikes). He was not able to establish strike one as frequently as he wanted to as only 12 of 24 first pitches ended up being strikes.

Early on, Ross was able to escape trouble in the second inning. After back-to-back walks to Andre Ethier and Yasmani Grandal, Ross got out of the inning unscathed by getting Puig to fly out to center, Joc Pederson to foul out behind the plate, and Enrique Hernandez to ground into a fielder’s choice.

Two innings later, Ross would run out of luck. Ethier led off the inning with a triple to deep center field. Two batters later, Ross was looking to get a strikeout of Puig to take the sacrifice fly out of play. He tried to get him to chase the slider, but it stayed out over the plate and Puig crushed it to left center for a two-run homer. That home run was the first extra-base hit Ross has given up to a right-handed hitter this season.

In the bottom of the fifth, Ross gave up back-to-back singles to begin the frame and the Dodgers eventually loaded the bases. Matt Williams made the decision to leave Ross in to face Puig, but Puig blooped the ball past a diving Clint Robinson for a bases clearing triple.

It was the right decision by Williams to leave Ross in, but the 22-year-old definitely did not have his best command last night. The question now is how Ross will handle his next start Sunday against Madison Bumgarner after facing his first bit of adversity?

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