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Washington Nationals’ Joe Ross hit hard, out early in 7-3 loss to New York Mets

After a solid month of August in which he earned a spot in the Nationals’ rotation, Joe Ross got knocked around by the Mets on Monday in D.C.

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In five August outings, Joe Ross was unbeaten at (3-0), with a 1.05 ERA, 13 walks, 16 Ks, and a .200/.301/.267 line against in 25 23 innings pitched, though his last two outings ended up being relatively brief, with the right-hander hit in the shin by a comebacker after 3 13 scoreless innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park and lifted after 4 13 innings and 88 pitches in the series with the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field, after he’d given up six hits, four walks, and a total of two earned runs.

Sixty-seven of Ross’s 88 pitches, five of the six hits, and all four walks against the Cubs were in his final three innings of work, though he managed to limit the damage, with a little bit of help from Wander Suero, who stranded two after taking over with two on and one out in the fifth.

“Joe gave us what he had today and then our bullpen was outstanding,” Davey Martinez told reporters. “Starting with Suero who got two big outs for us, two big strikeouts, and then the rest of the guys were phenomenal.”

“I kind of worked myself out of the jam there in the fourth inning,” Ross said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “I just tried to execute the big pitches in the big counts and big situations. It paid off.”

The outing against the Cubs was on August 24th. Ross didn’t start again until yesterday, a nine-day layoff between outings. It didn’t go well.

Ross struggled to get out of a jam in the second on Monday, giving up a leadoff double and a walk that put the first two Mets he faced on, (J.D. Davis and Brandon Nimmo), and both of the runners ended up scoring, Davis on an RBI double by Joe Panik, and Nimmo on a single to right field by René Rivera, 2-0.

Rivera walked with one out in the fourth, and he scored one out later when Jeff McNeil sent a first-pitch sinker down the pipe out to right for a two-run blast that made it a 4-0 lead in the Mets’ favor.

Back-to-back singles, by Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto, and a two-run double by J.D. Davis followed, 6-0, before Austin Voth took over for Ross, and gave up an RBI double to right by Nimmo, 7-0.

Joe Ross’s Line: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 85 P, 53 S, 3/2 GO/FO.

Ross took the loss in what ended up a 7-3 win for the Mets in the series opener in D.C.

“I feel like just rushing down the mound a little bit, getting ahead of myself,” Ross said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the game.

“The sinker gets a little flat, and I feel like I back up my slider a little bit. I wasn’t really executing today, and obviously they made me pay for it.”

“His command was a little off today,” Ross’s manager said, “left a lot of balls up in the zone, and he got hit. He got ahead of hitters, and then would work the count to 2-2 again. And then I said when you’re ahead, you’ve got to stay ahead and try to get outs quick. He didn’t do that today.”

“Just one of those days for Joe,” Martinez added, while noting that the rough outing didn’t have him thinking about making any changes at the back of the rotation.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said, “but Joe has been throwing the ball really well. He’s had one bad outing. He pitched in Chicago, which I know his shin was bothering him a little bit, but he kept us in the ballgame, but he’s throwing the ball well, he really is. So we’ll have to see, let him go through his routine this week and see where he’s at.”