Two times through the Nats rotation, the starter with the lowest ERA is Joe Ross. In his second season, the 22-year-old right-hander is showing the same strong command and poise that he had last year at the beginning of the season.
In his last start against the Phillies, Ross was given a 5-0 lead before he took the mound, but he did a good job keeping Philadelphia off the scoreboard. He went 7.2 innings, gave up three hits, struck out five, and walked two on 107 pitches (second highest total of his career). Plus, he even had a double in the first inning.
Ross had a strong first outing against the Marlins back on April 10. After giving up a run in the first, he settled down and threw seven strong innings to get the win. He now has a 1.04 ERA in three starts against Miami. Stanton is the only Marlin on the team with a RBI against him (1-for-3) while Dee Gordon (.300, 0 HR, four RBI’s this season) is the only one with two hits.
This offseason, the Marlins added Chen to bring another dependable veteran starter to the rotation. He struggled in his debut against the Tigers when he gave up five runs on nine hits over five innings. He had a sore elbow and had his last start pushed back to last Friday.
Against the Braves in that outing, the left-hander went 6.1 innings, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out six, and walked one in a no-decision. So far this season, he has thrown no more than 83 pitches in a game. However, this is still a pitcher who has thrown more than 185 innings each of the last two seasons.
The Nationals have a lot of familiarity with Chen from his time with the Baltimore Orioles. Chen is 1-3 with a 5.09 ERA in four starts against the Nats in his career. Harper is 3-for-12 with a double, a triple, and two RBI’s against the left-hander.
Prediction: While Ross has been great through two starts and has dominated the Marlins in his career, this could be one of those games where Chen puts up a strong outing against the Nats lineup and Ross has one bad inning. I think the Marlins come out on top in the third game of this series.
Next: Thursday's Matchup