Joe Ross was 51 batters into his major league career before he issued his first walk in the majors to Adam Lind with two down in the bottom of the eighth this afternoon in Miller Park. Unlike Milwaukee Brewers' right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who gave up home runs in the at bats after each of his two free passes, Ross got a grounder out of the batter he faced after his walk, for his ninth ground ball out of the game. Ross was done after that, having given up seven hits and two earned runs in eight innings in which he struck out eight and threw 108 pitches.
Washington's 22-year-old righty earned his first MLB win in his second major league start as the Nationals bounced back from two straight losses with a 7-2 win over the Brewers.
Ross saved the Nats' beleaguered bullpen with his eight innings of work and impressed his manager and catcher with another solid outing.
"Just command," Matt Wiliams said when asked what he liked. "Throwing the ball over the plate. Aggressive in the strike zone, getting ahead of guys and using the slider too, so, pitched really well. We needed that one."
"I'm impressed," Wilson Ramos told MASN's Dan Kolko after the game.
"I'm impressed with how he threw today. Everything worked good and that's the [kind] of guy we need in the rotation, guys like him [that] attack the hitter. Today was an amazing game for him."
Ross said he really started to feel comfortable as the game went on, and he retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.
"I felt good," he told reporters. "I was kind of feeling for my breaking balls, you know, slider and changeup early on, and then around the fifth or sixth inning it felt a lot more comfortable, like I could throw it where I wanted to. A lot of strikes, I didn't walk anyone until the second-to-last batter, I think. So that helped with pitch count, definitely, being able to go deep."
"It's good to give the bullpen a little bit of rest," Williams said. "It's been taxed lately, so good lengthy start from Joe and Casey [Janssen] came in there and kept his pitches down too, which was good, so freshen up a little bit."
Both Williams and Ramos remarked on how poised Ross was on the mound and his calm demeanor in just his second start above Double-A ball.
"When he's on the mound he looks like he's got a lot of experience," Ramos said.
"It's not easy," Williams said. "He doesn't know these guys. We've got scouting reports for him, but, you know he's throwing it where he wants to, that's the most important thing. Down in the zone, quality strikes down, got some ground balls today, pitched really well."
Through two starts, Ross now has a 3.46 ERA, a 1.48 FIP, one walk (0.69 BB/9) and 12 Ks (8.31 K/9) in 13 IP.
So does he get another start in the majors? Doug Fister is looking like he's close to coming back, after another successful start on his rehab assignment. Do the Nationals option Ross out? Do they move Tanner Roark back to the bullpen?
Fister has to work his way back before a decision has to be made, but Ross certainly gave the Nationals something to think about with today's outing.
• We talked about Ross earning his first major league win, Danny Espinosa at first, Bryce Harper's three hits and the hit by pitch which ended his day and more on Nats Nightly after the game: