Washington Nationals News: Joe Ross Going To The Bullpen, Tanner Roark In Rotation


With Stephen Strasburg set to return to the Washington Nationals’ rotation tomorrow against the New York Mets, manager Matt Williams made one more change to the rotation. He announced before tonight’s game that 22-year-old Joe Ross will be heading to the bullpen and Tanner Roark will be in the starting rotation for the remainder of the season:

Ross, who was acquired by the Nationals this past offseason in the deal that also got them Trea Turner, was first called up by the Nationals in June. In 13 starts, he is 5-5 with a 3.79 ERA, but his last two starts have not been great. During those outings, Ross went a combined 6.1 innings, gave up seven runs on six hits, struck out three batters, and walked nine (has 20 total walks this season).

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The main reason that Ross is moving to the rotation is because of his innings limits and the lack of control he has shown in those last two games. If you count his stints at double-A Harrisburg and triple-A Syracuse this year, Ross has thrown 149.2 innings. Last year, when he was in the Padres’ system (high-A), he threw 121.2 innings. While Ross is now in the bullpen, he will not be available to pitch in tonight’s game:

As for Roark, he made his first start since June 28 last Friday against the Braves. The 28-year-old right-hander went 4.1 innings, gave up one run on five hits, struck out one, and walked three on 69 pitches. As a starter this season, Roark is 3-1 in seven starts, but he has a 5.21 ERA. The question for Roark is how high his pitch count can go right away since he only threw 69 pitches on Friday after having his outing cut short at double-A Harrisburg on August 31 at 34 pitches.

This year, Roark had to move to the bullpen because of the signing of Max Scherzer after going 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts. Roark has done everything for the Nats this season, including picking up a save back on May 4 against the Miami Marlins. With Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister (who is currently in the Nats’ bullpen) hitting free agency this winter, it is possible that both Ross and Roark could end up being in the 2016 rotation for the Nats.

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