Joe Ross has been nothing short of interesting this year. He started the year in the minor leagues which nobody really understood given the fact that he is obviously one of the Nationals 5 best pitchers. Joe's interesting year started without him even being on the 25-Man roster.
The first game Joe was supposed to start was started by Jeremy Guthrie. A game that nobody wants to talk about. Joe was then called back up while Guthrie's career ended with a horrible taste in everybody's mouth. 9 Days after the Guthrie incident Joe was quality when he made his first start this year, throwing 7 quality innings against the Atlanta Braves striking out 7 in a 14-4 win. Everything was going well for Joe until April 25th in Colorado. The Nats won the 27 run nail biter thanks to a cycle from Trea Turner and 5 runs driven in by Daniel Murphy, but Joe wasn't Joe. His pitches weren't moving, his velocity was down. Joe got through by the skin of his teeth throwing 90 pitches in 4.2 innings giving up 5 runs, but it was not easy in the least bit. Joe's next start was one for the books. A game where Noah Syndergaard goes down and the Nats drop 23 runs on what was thought to be their toughest opponent in the division this year. Joe still wasn't Joe however, sure the Nats won 23-5, but Joe got a no decision giving up all 5 of the Mets runs in 4 innings. he was back in the minors.
When Joe finally came back, he was money. A 10-1 win against a tough Mariners offense. Joe went 8 solid giving up only 5 hits and 1 run. He was back. Or so we thought. Joe went into his game against the Padres with confidence. Coming off a 8 inning game playing one of the leagues worst teams has to be good. Wrong. Joe gave up 5 runs in less than 5 innings for the 3rd time. His second going no further than 4. The Padres took 12 hits off Joe. A career high for him. The Nats fell 5-3. Joe had hope though, his next start was the Athletics. Another bottom of the barrel team. The Nats were 4-0 on a 9 game road trip, they wanted momentum going into their first series against the Dodgers since they eliminated them from the playoffs last October. A 6 game-2 team sweep would've been huge. Joe couldn't deliver. The A's obliterated Joe for 7(6 earned) runs in only 3 innings. He was at a low point in his career. 11 runs in 7 total in 2 games against the Padres and Athletics. People expected him to go back to the minors again. The speculation as to who his replacement would be had started before the game against the Athletics was over.
The Nats kept him up, but things weren't looking good. Joe was in line to play the make-up game against the Baltimore Orioles. A DMV rival and a hard hitting offense. Nats fans were expecting embarrassment. The unxpected happened. Joe put on a career performance. He fanned 12 Orioles. A 7.1 inning, 4 hit, 1 run masterpiece. The O's were without Manny Machado who had been injured the night before and Adam Jones, but Joe was money despite the fact. A phenomenal performance put him right back.
Whats next? There is not a soul on this earth that can answer that. He is in line to play R.A. Dickey and the Atlanta Braves this coming Tuesday. The only thing that's for sure is that we will all be glued to the TV watching to see how the 24 year old Pitcher of the future will do.