Joe Ross’ gem, by the numbers

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — It was a special night for Nationals right-hander Joe Ross on Friday, as he pitched his club to a much-needed 4-1 win over the Pirates. The 22-year-old, making only his third Major League start, held Pittsburgh to one run on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings, with one walk and 11 strikeouts.

Here are some things to know about Ross’ impressive effort:

  • The only Nationals pitcher younger than Ross to reach double-digit strikeouts in a game is Stephen Strasburg, who did it twice as a 21-year-old in 2010.
  • Ross is the second-youngest pitcher in the Majors this season to have such a game, behind only the Astros’ Lance McCullers.
  • The Nats have struggled to find consistent starting pitching behind ace Max Scherzer this season, but Ross has stepped up during his brief time with the club. His game score of 72 on Friday is tied for the second-best on the team by anyone other than Scherzer, and with a 67 in his previous outing, the rookie now accounts for two of the top five non-Scherzer starts.
  • Ross’ out-pitch on Friday was his slider, which he leaned on heavily. According to PITCHf/x data from, Ross threw the pitch 47 times (out of 102). Of those 47 pitches, 36 (or 77 percent) went for strikes, and the Pirates missed on 18 of the 32 swings they took at it while recording just one hit on six balls put in play. Ross recorded 10 of his 11 strikeouts on the slider
  • Ross, of course, is the younger brother of Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, a six-year big league veteran. Of all qualified pitchers this season, Tyson uses his slider the most, at 46.3 percent. Clearly, the pitch runs in the family.
  • Joe Ross’ 18 whiffs on sliders are the most by a Major League pitcher this year, besting Tyson’s 15 on May 25, according to
  • The 21 total swings and misses that Ross generated were the second-most for a Nats pitcher this season, behind Scherzer’s 25 during his recent 16-strikeout game at Milwaukee.

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