Usually Max Scherzer is the pitcher who takes the hill trying to bring a win to his team after they suffered a loss the day before. Recently, Joe Ross took the ball following a Scherzer loss. Mad Max pitched great, though the offense failed to supply runs again, in the 2-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in the opener. Ross pitched masterfully, using just 55 pitches through four scoreless innings before the skies opened up and game was suspended because of rain. Hopefully the abbreviated start doesn’t affect Joe long term, as the Washington Nationals need more starts like this to climb out of the cellar in the National League East.
Ross has had the preverbal Jekyll and Hyde start to the 2021 season. His first two starts saw him pitch a combined eleven innings without allowing an earned run. He surrendered ten earned runs in just over four innings his next time out. Then Ross had three starts allowing two runs or less before giving up eight earned to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Nationals pitcher Joe Ross needs to find consistency in his pitching for team to be successful.
The efficiency with which he was pitching in his most recent start against the Reds was encouraging. After winning four of their last five games to draw within striking range of .500, the Nationals dropped a close one to a Reds team who would be in the basement of their respective division if not for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Winning games against the league’s worst teams is a must, for a Nationals team who thinks they can compete for the NL East title. With Jesse Winker and Nicholas Castellanos both hitting near .350 for the season, this Reds team does offer some pop in the lineup. Through four innings Ross scattered three hits and a walk, while striking out four in what was beginning to look like a seven/eight inning for the right hander.
In the eight starts Ross has made this year, the Nationals have walked away winners in just two of them. If Ross can continue to keep the team in games, the Nats will be getting the results they crave from the veteran of six seasons. The results they need, to be successful. For Ross, we just need to see more of Dr. Jekyll and less of Mr. Hyde.