After starting the season at Triple-A, Joe Ross turned lemons into lemonade.
Make no mistake, if Jeremy Guthrie had not coughed up a hairball against the Philadelphia Phillies, Ross would have had a few more starts in Syracuse. The Nats wanted to send the young hurler a message. By his second start on the farm, it was received.
When Washington needed a fifth starter again against the Braves, Ross was ready. Not only did he get a win, he threw seven innings and 100 pitches, giving rest to a bullpen still searching for answers. Colorado figures to be tougher than Atlanta, but the Nats are on fire.
Ross has command issues. He needs pitches to move to fool hitters. Because of that, he is not pitch count efficient. That is one reason his Braves start was successful. They got seven strikeouts and a walk from him. From a fifth starter that is gold.
What makes him key is how will Ross follow up? Expected to start Tuesday, if he can command his pitches and go six deep, it will be a success. What Dusty Baker saw last week had to impress him.
Ross has never pitched against the Rockies. Not at home or Coors Field. Something to keep an eye on.