5. Ross in D.C.: Joe Ross retired the first nine batters he faced last week in San Francisco, California's AT&T Park, striking out six, but the Giants got to the Washington Nationals' right-hander in the third, and knocked him out early after scoring four runs on six hits in four innings what ended up a 5-0 loss for the Nats and Ross.
It was the second straight outing in which Ross struggled, after he matched his walk total for the previous nine starts and 45 innings pitched in just 4 ⅔ innings against Los Angeles Dodgers in his first outing on the Nationals' eleven-day, ten-game road trip out west.
Ross walked four and gave up six hits and five runs in another 5-0 loss in L.A. in that start.
"I think his command with his backdoor breaking ball wasn't as sharp and got him in some behind-in-the-count counts," Matt Williams told reporters after the loss to the Dodgers.
"But he made adjustments when he needed to and again, he went out there and gave us a chance again, so I like the way he's going about it."
After the 5-0 loss to the Giants, Williams said that Ross looked sharp the first time through the lineup, but ran into trouble.
"Early he was really good. Slider was good. Fastball where he wanted it," but after a single and RBI double started the fourth, he hung a slider to Hunter Pence that went out for a two-run blast.
"That gave them the third one," Williams said, "and then the last inning he just fell out of the strike zone."
Ross was back in the nation's capital tonight, however, where he was (2-2) through four starts, with a 2.55 ERA, 1.78 FIP and a .223/.242/.290 line against in 24 ⅔ IP, and he was facing the Milwaukee Brewers for the second time after holding them to two runs on seven hits in eight strong innings back in June in Miller Park in his second major league start.
The second outing against the Brewers in his rookie campaign began with a scoreless, 17-pitch top of the first in which he worked around a one-out single by Jonathan Lucroy.
A two-out grounder off Jean Segura's bat made its way under Danny Espinosa's glove and into right for a single, but Elian Herrera popped out to right to end a 15-pitch frame that left Ross at 32 total after two.
Given a 2-0 lead to work with, courtesy of Michael Taylor's two-run home run in the Nats' second, Ross returned to the mound and set the Brewers down in a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 third. 42 total. An eight-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth left Ross at 50 pitches overall with seven straight outs.
With the score 5-0 Nationals, Scooter Gennett bunted his way on to start the fifth, and Jean Segura singled to right in the next at bat, but after a fly to left for out no.1, Ross got a 5-4-3 DP out of pinch hitter Jason Rogers to end a quick, 10-pitch fifth. 60 total.
Brewers' center fielder Shane Peterson lined a leadoff single to right on a first-pitch change (after Ross shook Ramos off to get to it), but was forced out at second on a grounder to short off Jonathan Lucroy's bat. Ryan Braun K'd swinging in the next at bat and Adam Lind popped out to end another 10-pitch frame. 70 total.
Khris Davis hit a hanging first-pitch slider out to left for a massive blast of a solo home run that nearly reached the concourse and got the Brewers on the board, 5-1, but Ross retired the next three Brewers in order in a 12-pitch inning that left him at 82 pitches.
• Joe Ross' Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 82 P, 58 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
4. Jungmann's Game: Thirteen starts into his rookie campaign, 25-year-old Milwaukee Brewers' 2011 1st Round pick, Taylor Jungmann, took the mound tonight with a (7-4) record on the year, a 2.23 ERA, a 2.82 FIP, 26 walks (2.90 BB/9), 73 Ks (8.14 K/9) and a .218/.295/.308 line against in 80 ⅔ IP.
He was coming off a strong start on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies in which he threw 6 ⅓ scoreless, giving up three hits and two walks in a 6-1 win for the Brewers, and facing the Washington Nationals for the second time in 2015, after taking the loss in a 4-0 game back in mid-June in Miller Park which saw him give up seven hits and two earned runs in five innings.
Unfortunately for Jungmann, he ran into a red-hot Max Scherzer in that start, and took the loss in spite of a solid effort which impressed Brewers' skipper Craig Counsell.
"I was really proud of Taylor," Counsell told reporters, including MLB.com's Adam McAlvy.
"I thought he had to fight for everything he got and he kept us in the game. I think it's one of those starts where you'll look back on it and you'll say, 'I did a pretty good job today. I survived and I gave my team a shot.'"
Armed with a four-seam fastball that averages 92.1 mph and gets up to 95, a curve (76 mph), changeup (84.4) and two-seamer (91.6), Jungmann took the mound against the Nationals tonight in the nation's capital and got off to a tough start with the first two batters (Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon) reaching base in front of Bryce Harper, who lined into what ended up being an 8-5 DP when Werth got thrown out by Shane Peterson after the Brewers' center fielder caught Harper's sharp line drive. Ryan Zimmerman K'd swinging to end a 21-pitch first.
Wilson Ramos lined a hanging 2-2 curve to left for a two-out single in the second and Michael Taylor followed with a two-run blast to right that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard. 2-0 Nationals. 19-pitch second, 40 total for Jungmann after two.
Anthony Rendon walked with one down in the Nationals' third, and stole second one out later, but was stranded when Ryan Zimmerman sent a fly to deep to center to end a 19-pitch frame that pushed Jungmann up to 59 after three.
Danny Espinosa singled to left on a 1-1 fastball with one down in the fourth and scored when Wilson Ramos sent a screamer by third for an RBI double that made it 3-0 Nats.
Ramos scored one out later on a bloop single to center by Jayson Werth, 4-0. Anthony Rendon stepped in next and lined an RBI double to left to make it 5-0 before Werth was thrown out at home. 24-pitch fourth, 83 total.
• Taylor Jungmann's Line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 83 P, 49 S, 0/0 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: Bryce Harper entered tonight's game ranked first in the NL in OBP (.457), SLG (.642), WAR (7.2 fWAR) and home runs (31) and second in AVG (.33) and runs scored (85).
• His 31st home run last night, tied him for 6th on the list of All-Time single-season home run leaders, with Michael Morse, who hit 31 in 2011. Harper was 15 behind Alfonso Soriano's 46, two behind Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche, who hit 33 each in 2009 and 2012, respectively, and Adam Dunn, who hit 38 homers in back-to-back seasons in 2009-2010.
Saturday afternoon in the District. pic.twitter.com/9gSHU0YdC1— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 22, 2015
• For tonight's updated "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, we return to Ian Desmond, who is 33 for 109 (.333 AVG) with four doubles, a triple, eight home runs, 12 walks and six stolen bases in his last 30 games, going back to July 20th.
• Last night's loss left the Nationals 2-3 agains the Brewers this season with two left to play in 2015, and 36-38 overall against Milwaukee since baseball returned to Washington in 2005.
• After his appearance in last night's game, lefty reliever Neal Cotts was traded to Minnesota.
• The Brewers' win last night was their 25th in 57 road games this season.
• Francisco Rodriguez wasn't needed last night, when/if he takes the mound against the Nationals, he'll be trying to extend a streak of 35 straight saves opportunities converted, 30 of them this season.
• When the Brewers score first this season, they're 37-20, and they're 16-50 when their opponents score first.
2. Turning Point(s): Brewers' starter Taylor Jungmann had three straight Ks and two outs in the second before Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos lined a hanging 2-2 curve to left for a single that kept the inning alive. Michael Taylor stepped in next and got hold of a fastball that he sent out to right, over the out-of-town scoreboard for a two-run blast that made it 2-0 Nationals. Taylor's third in the last three games and 13th of the season.
• The Nationals added three runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Wilson Ramos, RBI single by Jayson Werth and an RBI double by Anthony Rendon, 5-0.
1. The Wrap-Up: David Goforth took over for Taylor Jungmann in the bottom of the fifth and retired the side in order in an eight pitch frame.
Michael Taylor was 2 for 2 tonight after a two-out single in the Nationals' sixth, but Goforth got a weak grounder from Joe Ross to end his second scoreless frame.
Anthony Rendon stepped in against Goforth with one down in the bottom of the seventh and hit a 1-2 fastball to left field for a solo home run that made it 6-1.
Cesar Jimenez took over for Goforth and gave up singles by Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond before retiring Danny Espinosa to end the frame.
Blake Treinen issued a two-out walk to Jonathan Lucroy in the Brewers' eighth, but got the third out of the frame with one pitch to Ryan Braun.
Jimenez came back out for more work in the bottom of the eighth and retired the Nationals in order.
Matt Thornton gave up a leadoff double to center by Domingo Santana, but retired the next three Brewers in order to end it. 6-1 final.
Nationals now 61-61