Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Ross Starting To Feel Fatigued?
With the Nationals taking a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the third, the team was looking for starter Joe Ross to put together a shutdown inning. He came into this outing against St. Louis off two solid starts at home, in which he gave up one run over a 13-inning stretch.
For the first two innings, the 22-year-old right-hander did walk two batters, but gave up only one hit while striking out. Then, the third inning happened. Matt Carpenter worked a one-out walk and would come around to score two batters later on a RBI single by Jhonny Peralta.
Then, Ross was all over the place with his command as he could not locate his fastball. He walked Jason Heyward, Yadier Molina, and Kolten Wong on 14 pitches, causing Matt Williams to go to Doug Fister in the third inning. Fister would allow one of the inherited runners to score when he hit Mark Reynolds hit with a pitch, but he was able to get out of the inning with the Nats still ahead.
As for Ross, he went 2.2 innings, gave up three runs on one hit, struck out three, and walked six on 68 pitches. He only threw three first pitch strikes to the 15 batters he faced. According to Brooks Baseball, Ross’ sinking fastball, which averaged at 96 miles per hour, only went for strikes 19 times out of the 50 times he threw it (38%).
After the game, Ross told the media about how he wasn’t using the rosin bag on the mound, which didn’t help his command:
With Ross now at 145.1 innings on the season, if you count the minor leagues, you have to wonder if the fatigue is starting to set in. Plus, if the Nats are not in contention a couple weeks from now, you could shut Ross down and give other pitchers the opportunity to audition for next year. Ross has made good contributions to the Nats this year, but it might be time to end his 2015 season.
Next: Late Inning Bullpen Decisions Haunt Nats