Washington Nationals: Where Art Thou, Joe Ross?

rshinberg
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Joe Ross #41 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Nationals Park on September 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Joe Ross #41 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Nationals Park on September 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals bullpen melted down once again on Wednesday.  Why did Joe Ross not enter the game?  Why hasn’t he pitched in weeks?

The Washington Nationals have the worst bullpen ERA in the MLB.

It was on full display last night as the bullpen did its best to blow a seven-run lead in just one half-inning.

As I sat and watched Davey Martinez try and fail to get Austen Williams acclimated to big league hitters, I could not help but think to myself, “Where on Earth is Joe Ross?”

Jeremy Hellickson did not complete the sixth inning.  With the Nats bullpen already reeling from Tuesday night, it made perfect sense for Ross to pitch multiple innings.

Ross has only pitched twice this season, and his last appearance was on April 9.  What gives?  Why is he not getting more playing time?

What makes even less sense is the fact that Ross pitched well in his new role.  In two innings on April 9 against the Mets, he threw two full innings and allowing only one hit while striking out a pair.

It’s been nearly two years since Ross tore his UCL.  There shouldn’t be any reason to limit his workload significantly.  It makes no sense as to why he isn’t pitching more, especially with the way the rest of the bullpen is performing.

The aforementioned Williams has an ERA of 162.  Justin Miller has a FIP of 10.40.  Matt Grace has pitched in 10 (not a typo) of the Nats’ 16 games this season and has been relatively ineffective.

Do I dare elaborate on the adventures of Trevor Rosenthal?

That brings me back to the original question: Why isn’t Ross pitching?

It seems highly unlikely he is injured.  He is coming off a great outing.  The Nationals have needed length from their relievers of late.  Ross is undoubtedly not as bad as some of the other relievers on the roster.  He needs to get more run and prove he can pitch.

We know he can.  In 2016, before his UCL injury, he pitched over 100 innings and recorded a 3.43 ERA.

Next. Howie Kendrick is Extremely Valuable. dark

In a reliever role, he has the potential to be even more dominant.  Davey Martinez needs to give him that opportunity.

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