Mother Nature wrecked the Washington Nationals plans yesterday. Due to a double-header occurring tomorrow, the Nats will need an additional pitcher on the weekend.
The Washington Nationals game against the Philadelphia Phillies got rained out last night, creating a double-header on Wednesday.
Due to this schedule change, the Nats will play seven games over the next six days before an off day on Monday, June 24. If my math is correct, seven is greater than six, meaning the Nats will need to find a starting pitcher to fill that extra day.
It is a good thing that the Nationals prepared for a scenario like this with Joe Ross.
On May 25, the Nats sent Ross down to Triple-A Fresno. The reason for the demotion was partly due to poor play, but also to get Ross stretched out as a starter.
His most recent start for the Fresno Grizzlies came yesterday, lining him up for a start against the Braves on Saturday. On Monday, Ross threw five innings of no run, two-hit ball en route to a Grizzlies shutout win.
It is good that Ross is getting stretched out as a starter, and hopefully, it is for good this time because his splits are fairly drastic.
In his career as a starter, Ross has a 4.06 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP in over 250 innings pitched. In 16.2 relief innings pitched, Ross has a 7.56 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP.
The Nats put Ross in the reliever role out of need due to positional scarcity, and to protect his arm after his Tommy John surgery. Now that he is about two years removed from the operation, getting him back into a starter’s role certainly makes sense.
Ross had his best season in the Major Leagues the year before he underwent Tommy John. In 2016, Ross pitched 105 stellar innings for the division-champion Nats. He earned a 3.43 ERA and accumulated a 2.1 WAR.
Getting Ross back to even an average starter this season bodes well for the future of the team’s starting rotation.