Joe Ross is the forgotten member of the Washington Nationals starting rotation.
Ross hasn’t been overwhelmingly dominant this season, but even during bad outings, he’s pitched well enough to keep them in games and that kind of heart and dedication to the team can’t be quantified in this new world of analytics.
On Sunday, Ross was able to take advantage of an offensive barrage by Nationals standards early to win the matinee’ 5-0 in the District and capture a split of their four-game set against the National League West, division-leading San Francisco Giants.
D.C.’s all but forgotten MLbbro put the Bay Area bats on ice by shutting out the Giants on five hits while striking out nine before Davey Martinez pulled him going into the bottom of the ninth inning.
Ross also became the first pitcher to throw more than seven innings against the Giants this season. For his career, Ross is now 13-0 in 14 starts when he pitches at least seven innings.
“I felt pretty good commanding the ball,” Ross said. “I’m just glad I gave the bullpen a little more rest today.”
Ross was just what the doctor ordered for the Nats who split a seven inning doubleheader and put a strain on its bullpen Saturday. His 3-6 mark doesn’t adequately describe his season to this point. Ross entered with a 4.12 ERA. However, after Sunday’s performance, he has struck out 70 batters in 70.1 IP and has a WHIP of 1.25.
Washington was staked to a 5-0 lead with help from early fireworks which allowed Ross to attack the Giants aggressively throughout the afternoon.
Fellow MLBbro Josh Harrison helped Ross out with a lethal 4-for-4 day. Ross also helped himself at the plate with three sacrifice bunts.
Ross grew up in Berkeley, CA and played his high school baseball at Bishop O’Dowd in Oakland. His friends, family, and homies had to wake up early to enjoy the locally televised performance that started around 10am PT.
Those who woke up early to make the waffles and expresso will remember Sunday’s brunch with morning Joe Ross as a good spot.
Two years removed from the Black Knight moment that legitimized baseball in the Nation’s Capital, the Washington Nationals are waiting for a few Howie Kendrick moments by Josh Bell and Josh Harrison to propel them out of the cellar in the National League East Division
Manager Davey Martinez said the entire team “has been taking too many good pitches” which is leading to an overall slump in the District. Washington is a team that looks caught up in analytics at the plate, swinging late on pitches they should be driving.
Their offensive struggles continued in a 5-1 loss to division-rival Atlanta Braves on Friday.
Washington ranks 5th in MLB in batting average, but just 25th in homers (53) and 27th in RBI (198). These numbers reflect the squad’s inability to get key hits and drive in runs.
The MLBbros on the left side of the infield shoulder some of the blame as the Nationals continue through this tough June schedule, where they are facing division rivals Atlanta and Philadelphia.
After a hot streak, The Josh Boys have contributed to the team’s inability to score runs and simply get on base.
The Nationals have been waiting for Harrison to take charge at second base, but his inconsistency at the plate has kept the platoon in order. Despite batting .270 with four home runs and 18 RBI for the season, Washington’s incumbent starter is slumping badly with four hits in his last 32 at-bats.
He was blazing in early May and fizzled out with his team as June came around.
Bell has been showing flashes of his All-Star brilliance from his days in Pittsburgh but is yet to string together consistent stretches of productivity. After his return from the COVID list in April where he batted .113, he rebounded to hit .289 in May.
But as the calendar changed to June, Bell’s struggles returned. He’s batting .125 (2-for-16) and managed just one hit in five at-bats in Atlanta as they broke even with the Braves in that recently concluded four-game series where they split despite having chances to win games behind stellar pitching from Patrick Corbin, Joe Ross, and Jon Lester.
The Nationals offense is wasting quality starts from the pitching staff and now must dig themselves out of a cellar-dwelling hole that may be too deep to climb out of and get back into playoffs.
Not only was he on fire at the plate in his Royals’ debut, but he got it done in the field as well. He threw out a runner at the plate to show that he can do it all.
That’s how you make an introduction to your new team right there.
The 2020 shortened season was not a pleasant one for Taylor as he finished with a .196 batting average in 38 games with the Washington Nationals.
So Taylor was on a mission when the 2021 season started. Not only did he want to have a better start than the previous year, but he was on a new team and wanted to show that he can make an impact on the Royals.
After that hot start to the season, Taylor cooled off at the plate. There was a period in April where he was hitless in four straight games, but quickly turned that around and went on a six-game hitting streak.
One thing Taylor knows how to do is put the bat on the ball and he can run too. Through 44 games, Taylor has four stolen bases and is Top 50 in the league in that category.
His style of play fits the Royals well. He’s a threat on the bases, can man the outfield and chase balls down, and he can hit, too.
Now the Royals are one of the top teams in the league when it comes to stealing bases. According to ESPN, through 48 games, the team has a total of 36 stolen bases, which is second in the league.
This team likes to run and Taylor fits right in. The most stolen bases Taylor had in a season were 24 and that came in 2018 during his tenure with the Nationals, which ended with Taylor being a huge contributor to a WS championship.
From 2015 to 2018, Taylor stole more than 13 bases each season. He started his career with the Nationals, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB draft.
Taylor actually started his career off as a middle infielder, but an injury transitioned him to the outfield, where he would make his new primary position.
After the end of the 2013 season, Taylor was added to the Nationals’ 40-man roster. At that time, he was ranked the fourth-best prospect in the Nationals’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He went on to make his MLB debut during the 2014 season.
His best season statistically came in 2017 when he hit .271 with 19 home runs and had a .486 slugging percentage.
Two seasons later, Taylor was a part of the Nationals when they won their first World Series title in franchise history.
Taylor is a winner and he’s looking to bring that winning mentality back to Kansas City, a team that won the World Series in 2015.
Lately, Taylor has seemed confident at the plate. From May 16 to May 22, he went on a five-game hitting streak. Currently, he’s hitting .263 with two home runs in his last seven games.
Taylor’s abilities can certainly help the Royals make a push for the postseason playing in the AL Central. He has a lot of experience and knows what it takes to win. So make sure you keep a close eye on Taylor this season.
After opting out of the 2020 season, Ross and the Washington Nationals were hoping the young hurler could become a complement to Max Scherzer.
Instead, Ross has remained consistently inconsistent.
He had his second consecutive abbreviated outing Wednesday afternoon, going only 3.2 innings and giving up four runs (two earned) in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
This came after the Nats spotted him two runs in the top of the first. After allowing one Cubbie to cross in the second inning, Ross gave up a two-run shot to Ian Happ in the third on a 2-2 pitch that didn’t have much movement.
It was the shortest outing of the season for the 28-year-old Ross, now in his sixth season in the majors.
“Every mistake he made today, they capitalized on,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. “He got the ball up a couple times, and they were able to put the bat on the ball in big situations. And then he gets himself in a hole. He’s got to keep the ball down in the strike zone.”
Over eight starts in 2021, he’s only made it to the sixth inning twice.
You could look at his 2-4 record and 5.72 earned run average and come away with the impression that Ross doesn’t have the talent to perform at this level.
But dig deeper.
In five of his starts, he’s given up two runs or less. And in those games, Ross has a 1.66 ERA.
On April 19th against the St. Louis Cardinals, he gave up five home runs in five innings. Of the 27 runs that have crossed the plate against him, 16 of them came courtesy of the long ball. That accounts for an incredible 60 percent of his total.
In a season where runs have been at a premium, with historic lows in team batting averages and historic highs in strikeouts, serving up dingers like they were smothered hash brown at Waffle House is not something any team can survive.
But Joe Ross is far from the only pitcher on the Washington staff having problems keeping the ball on the right side of the fence. In fact, he doesn’t even lead the team in home runs surrendered, but he is in danger of losing his spot in the rotation.
The competition between Ross, Corbin (2-3, 6.10), and Erick Fedde (3-4, 4.35) hasn’t produced a clear winner.
Ross will get at least one more start to prove himself with Fedde currently out due to COVID-19 protocols.
Time for Joe Ross to seize the opportunity. If not, he may find himself term-limited in Washington.
In Thursday’s afternoon matinee at Nationals Park, two Black Knights got the party started but only one carried a big stick. While Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen scored the first run of the game in the top of the first, Washington’s Josh Bell arguably made the biggest statement with a blast heading towards the Pentagon as it left the stadium.
Bell, who has been slow to recover at the plate from COVID-19 which delayed his start to the season, followed Kyle Schwarber with his own two-run first-inning blast in a four-run first inning which gave Patrick Corbin all he needed to help Washington snap its four-game losing streak with a 5-1 win.
Rarely does a single early May at-bat set the tone for a season but this had the feel of a James Brown moment for the Nats’ first baseman.
Bell had been drawing the ire of talk show hosts on their flagship station inside the District after failing to deliver in a clutch late-inning at-bat one night earlier. He entered the game hitting .202 (17-for-84, 3 home runs) all-time against the Phillies.
“To be able to simplify, work through some things mechanically and have it click that first pitch, I was really stoked,” Bell said. “That was by far the best swing of the year — the most connected, the most behind it, best ball flight for sure. Hopefully, more to come.”
An early wake-up call and the afternoon start was the perfect tonic to help Washington’s prized offseason acquisition make his statement before the team headed to Arizona for the start of a west coast road trip.
Bell, who never seems stressed during his media availability sessions, looked like the pressure of finding his offense was finally getting to him Wednesday night.
He was caught by one of those baseball moments where the fickle hand of fate put him on blast. Bell had a chance to deliver in a pinch-hit situation but struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning as the Nationals lost 6-2 in 10 innings.
“I can’t be striking out at the clip that I’m striking out,” Bell said afterwards. “I’m having way too long of at-bats and not capitalizing on mistakes right now, so it’s just been tough.”