Two Washington Nationals starters — Joe Ross and Stephen Strasburg — turned in elite performances on the mound last week, and the two earn our Player of the Week honors.
In a week in which the Washington Nationals’ lineup often failed to produce runs, it’s no surprise that the team relied heavily on pitching to keep their record at an impressive 17-7 (.708). The Nationals had their first bout of inconsistency last week, dropping three games to the Phillies before earning three big wins against the Cardinals.
While several players deserve credit for helping the team avoid what some thought would be a disastrous week, two players were particularly impressive: Joe Ross and Stephen Strasburg. Both starters dominated last week, and they were undoubtedly the Nationals’ best players during that span.
Ross helped the Nationals win the second game of the three-game series in St. Louis, pitching six solid innings. The right-hander allowed just one run on six hits while striking out four batters and walking two.
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His impressive performance last week was the latest in what has been a stellar start to the season for Ross. The 22-year-old is 3-0 with an 0.79 ERA thus far in 2016 and appears to be primed for a breakout season.
Strasburg was equally if not more impressive than Ross. The right-hander, who is set to hit free agency after the season, pitched seven dominant innings against the Cardinals on April 29. He allowed just two runs and struck out nine batters, bringing his strikeout total up to 40 on the season.
Like Ross, Strasburg has also had a stellar start to the 2016 season, posting a 4-0 record with a 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 36 innings. Based on his performance so far this season, the right-hander would easily be an ace on most pitching staffs in baseball. And if he continues to dominate in 2016, he’ll be in for a big pay day next winter.
Another player who could deserve Player of the Week honors is Tanner Roark, who continued his strong April with a scoreless, seven-inning start against the Phillies. But given that their stellar outings led to victories against the Cardinals — a team that has historically owned the Nationals — Ross and Strasburg were undoubtedly the team’s best players last week.