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Nats 8, D’backs 3: Desmond, Ramos deliver a win for Ross

Aug 6, 2015, 7:38 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After an embarrassing loss Wednesday night, Matt Williams gathered his players together before Thursday’s game with a simple message: Play the game their way, aggressively, and good things would be more likely to happen. They did display some of that in their series finale against the Diamondbacks, swiping some bases and putting pressure on the opposition. Ultimately, though, it was a power display and some dominant pitching that produced a much-needed win.

Ian Desmond and Clint Robinson each homered, with Wilson Ramos driving in two more, to pace a Nationals offensive attack that was spread throughout the lineup. That provided some support for Joe Ross, who again impressed with six innings of 1-run ball.

Up 4-1 in the seventh, Williams turned to the back end of his bullpen. Casey Janssen, who had been lights-out over the last month, did surrender a pair of runs, but Matt Thornton pitched out of a jam to protect a 1-run lead. Drew Storen then tossed a scoreless top of the eighth, and when Robinson launched a 3-run insurance homer in the bottom of the inning, Jonathan Papelbon was able to take a seat in the bullpen and watch as Blake Treinen finished off this victory.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: Two of the Nationals’ only healthy regulars all season have also been two of their least-productive hitters: Desmond and Ramos. Each, though, has shown some signs of life lately, and each came through big-time in this game. Desmond, given Wednesday night off to clear his head, homered in the second inning, came within a foot of doing it again in the fourth — he settled for a double off the wall — and then drew a walk in the fifth to cap a strong afternoon. Ramos, meanwhile, singled in the fourth and singled home two runs in the fifth, leaving himself 5 for his last 7. Obviously the health and production of the Nats’ oft-injured regulars is key down the stretch, but so is improved production from these two guys.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: What more can be said at this point about Ross, who has been everything the Nationals could have hoped for and more. The calm, collected rookie was at it again Thursday, tossing six innings of 1-run ball, continuing the trend he has established in each of his seven big-league starts. Ross now sports a 2.80 ERA, 1.91 WHIP and incredible 47-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio as a major-league pitcher. The question moving forward: Will he remain in the big-league rotation? With Stephen Strasburg likely to come off the DL on Saturday, somebody has to go to clear a spot. Ross has done everything in his power to earn more starts, but the organization also is monitoring the 22-year-old’s innings, and that can be hard to do at this level. We should have our answer soon.

KEY STAT: Drew Storen’s streak of 19 consecutive batters retired (which ended with Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s eighth-inning walk) was the longest by an MLB reliever this season and the longest in Nationals club history.

UP NEXT: The Rockies come to town for a weekend series that begins at 7:05 p.m. Friday when Jordan Zimmermann (8-7, 3.54) faces Colorado lefty Jorge De La Rosa (7-4, 4.87).

  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:41 PM

    I agree with the title and CRob put the icing on the cake and Janssen made us grab for our hearts.

    Ross with another gem. Ramos with another GW RBI. Desi off the schneid.

    • veejh - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:43 PM

      Ross with the win. It’s about time.

      • ArVAFan - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:50 PM

        +1

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:51 PM

        He’s been good enough to win every start and has an Ace ERA.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:56 PM

        +41

    • dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:02 PM

      +8-3

      • natsfan1a - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:04 PM

        lol

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:07 PM

        Bryce heading towards .500 on his OBP with games like this. On base all 5 times.

  2. Danny - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:43 PM

    Rinnytinny anywhere to be found during/after a win?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:10 PM

      Nah. It’s like the End-Is-Coming religious sects; if you think the world is actually getting better, they’ve got nothing to sell you.

  3. npb99 - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:51 PM

    They had to win and they did. Good job. Now go rock the Rockies and let the Mets mess up.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:57 PM

      That’ll work.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:03 PM

      the mets will not win tonight

      • natsfan1a - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:04 PM

        Nope, but they can always lose tomorrow.

  4. manassasnatsfan - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    I followed along with Charlie and Dave got home in the bottom of the 8th.

    I ran into a Nattygoat wants be at lunch talking just line our buddy.

    Noticed he must have had to work today since he surely would talk during a win as he is a big fan and should enjoy the wins

  5. dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    And Fister to the Pen

    • dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:56 PM

      i should have seen that coming but didn’t

    • zmunchkin - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:06 PM

      FP called that during the game when he noticed Fister in the pen with his cleats on.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:47 PM

        but what would he have thought with his cleats off ?

      • zmunchkin - Aug 7, 2015 at 8:29 AM

        He said that starters don’t wear cleats on days they are not scheduled to pitch. So the fact that he was in the bullpen and wearing cleats implied that he was available to pitch.

    • Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:11 PM

      Stinks for Fister given that this will pretty much end his chance to salvage his contract season in any meaningful way. But if reports were accurate the Nats offered him a Gio-like extension right after the trade. There is a reason guys go for the security of taking those extensions, and Fister just found out why the hard way.

      • veejh - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:34 PM

        It’d be an interesting statistic to see what percentage of players that don’t take the deal actually enjoy gambling, i.e. craps, blackjack, poker, horseracing, etc.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:17 PM

      I was shocked that MW had him sitting in the pen for the game as it seemed to me to be a foregone conclusion he was demoted.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:43 PM

        and now the question who goes when stas comes back

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:51 PM

        In my mind Roark or Treinen. I think Roark would benefit from slowing things down in AAA.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:52 PM

        that makes sense.

  6. natsfan1a - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    hmmm…interesting

    • natsfan1a - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:03 PM

      Oh, and Ross staying in rotation. I like.

  7. dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:01 PM

    at least KC is done…the curse of the black squirrel worse than the black cat of 1969

    http://m.mlb.com/news/article/141568990/squirrel-gets-loose-on-field-at-comerica-park

  8. Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:06 PM

    Ross pitched around 120 innings each of the last two seasons. He has almost exactly that same number right now. The Nats probably do not want him going more than 160 this year, maybe 170 on the outside. That means he has somewhere around 6 to 7 more 6 inning starts left before he’ll likely be shut down. Wasting those precious innings at AAA would be, in fact, a waste.

    • veejh - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:11 PM

      You, sir, are correct.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:20 PM

      I had the same thoughts earlier today that he was at 122 last year which will limit him into that 160 to 169 range.

      Should get him near mid September. The kid now has a 2.80 ERA which is Ace stats.

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:12 PM

    So if Joe Ross stays up here and starts every fifth day until they shut him down, and he continues as he’s gone so far, does he get ROY votes? Consideration?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:13 PM

      For a high-profile team in a pennant race, I should add.

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:19 PM

      As for rookie of the year Joc Pedersen has really fizzled out and Bryant in Chicago has tailed off a quite a bit.

      My dark horse candidates are the 3rd baseman in San Francisco and Kang in Pittsburgh.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:22 PM

        Kang looks like the guy right now.

      • Section 222 - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:50 AM

        also Syndegaard?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:21 PM

      Yes if he stays at this level. He won’t win but gets votes.

    • Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:32 PM

      Here’s the stats that really amazes me: 47 to 4 SO to BB ratio. That is insanely good.

      He will no doubt hit some speed bumps at some point, but if just for the sake of arguing he finished with the same ERA in 14 starts, with 9 wins (gotta get more run support), 100 Ks and less than 10 walks he’d be a strong candidate even playing less than half a season.

    • tcostant - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:47 PM

      I think there is a guy on the Cubs who might get every first place vote…

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:12 PM

    I’ve been saying for weeks Fister to the DL but I guess the bullpen is better than nothing. Now the question will be the corresponding roster move when Strasburg officially comes off the DL on Saturday.

    Who goes? Can’t be Rivero. Has to be Treinen or Roark.

    • Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:34 PM

      Hate to say it, but Roark is the long man (the role Fister would presumably be taking) and has been very hittable this year.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:39 PM

        Will be interesting. Rizzo is in win now mode.

    • unkyd59 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:37 PM

      I’m hoping Fister gets his mechanics online between appearances… It’s either him or Roark, once Joe Cool runs outta innings, right?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:39 PM

        True.

      • Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:41 PM

        It will no doubt be Fister again. This organization gives preference to the more experienced vets whenever possible–not that it probably matters that much as both have struggled this year.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:49 PM

        and if he doesn’t, he can join the republican race for president

  11. natsfansince62 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:21 PM

    Maybe tanner will go down so they can stretch him out in preparation for possibly starting when Ross gets shut down. Might be better than Doug but I do feel bad for Doug. Can’t be helping his contract situation.

  12. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:22 PM

    I think tonite (this afternoon) was the first pitching decision based on the Rizzo-decreed innings limit. But to get Ross to the end of the season they’ll have to skip his turn in the rotation at least a couple of times. Not to mention the playoffs. He’d be a nice card to have in the deck if Scherzer or Strasburg had to pitch a play-in game or the Wild Card game.

    • Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:37 PM

      Based on history, You’d have to believe Ross will be shut down just like Strasburg was. It would even be a less controversial decision given that the rotation has much more depth than it did on 2012.

      That still leaves them with a playoff rotation of Scherzer-Znn-Strasburg-Gio. If you can’t win with that, you don’t deserve to.

      • veejh - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:40 PM

        Well, that, and the fact that no one even knows who Joe Ross is outside of DC. LOL

      • Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:43 PM

        Very true, that. 🙂

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:20 PM

        Big difference: Strasburg and Zimmermann before him were coming off Tommy John surgery. Ross isn’t. The TJ recovery protocols played a big part in the Strasburg/JZ shutdowns. If Ross is shut down it will be due to the so-called Verducci effect, which is not as scientifically based as the TJ protocols.

    • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:41 PM

      I suspect they’re not going to mess with Ross like that (after all, you have to throw some on the days you _would_ have pitched, etc.) — he’s a very valuable commodity, under team control for years, and only 22.

      And so, I think it’ll be just like SS. He’ll pitch every fifth turn until he hits 160-ish innings, then pack him up in ice, and hopes he continues to dominate next spring . . .

      • veejh - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:46 PM

        i’m ok with this. He’s filled a hole that I though we’d have next season. What a score.

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:22 PM

        Indeed — what a score!

        Is Souza for Ross & Turner the steal of the decade?

  13. janebeard - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:37 PM

    It was a wonderful day at the park. In addition to the win, in addition to Ian and Wilson having a great day and Joe pitching great — I go to take my baby grand daughter for her first MLB game. She arrived in the nick ‘o time for Opening Day, and was a gem today. So fun! Our usher got her a ball, and she got a “first game” certificate. She got to meet some baseball friends. And I got a new item to add to my Top Ten Lifetime memories. And the Nats won. Ahhh!

    • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:21 PM

      + a gazillion!!

      • rlndtln - Aug 6, 2015 at 11:52 PM

        Treinen is going no where.

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