Joe Ross was impressive in his rookie season of 2015, showing command and poise beyond his years. In his first outing of 2016, he showed that the best may be yet to come for the talented righthander.
Nationals Record 3-1
WP- Ross (1-0) LP- Koehler (0-1) SV- Papelbon (3)
STARS OF THE GAME
Third Star- Anthony Rendon was had three hits in five at bats and scored two runs on the day. The three hit game was the 25th game of the Nats’ third baseman’s career in which he’s had three or more hits, three coming in 2013, 16 coming in his breakout season of 2014 and four coming in his injury-plagued 2015 campaign. Rendon has scored two or more runs 38 times in his career, the most recent time before yesterday taking place on September 16, 2015 when Rendon scored twice in Washington’s 12-2 rout of the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Second Star- Bryce Harper hit two booming doubles to left center field, driving home the Nats’ first run in the bottom of the first inning and setting the table for the team’s three run rally in the seventh that would put the game away. Harper has 100 doubles on his career, 48 coming at Nationals Park. His two double game was the tenth of his career.
Star of the Game- Joe Ross allowed a first inning run, but escaped more trouble from a two-on, one out situation as Washington turned a beautiful double play behind him. After that first inning struggle, Ross never looked back as he allowed only five hits in seven innings pitched with five strikeouts as he won his first start of 2016.
Unsung Hero- Miami’s Dee Gordon led off the sixth inning with a single off of Ross to give the Marlins hopes of breaking the 1-1 tie, but Washington catcher Wilson Ramos (with some great help by Ross who held Gordon close to first) had other ideas. Ramos gunned Gordon down on a stolen base attempt with a perfect throw to second, marking the 32nd time he’s thrown out attempted base stealers in their last 57 attempts against him. Ramos led the National League in 2015 with a caught stealing percentage of .444, and he’s thrown out two of the four players who’ve tried to swipe bags against him this season.
Gallant in Defeat- Tom Koehler is only 3-6 with a 4.64 ERA lifetime against the Nats, but he pitched well on Sunday despite taking the loss. Koehler showed good command and an ability to work out of trouble for most of the game, but his inability to shut down Rendon and Harper proved to be his undoing in the end.
Jayson Werth and Clint Robinson both picked a good inning in which to get their first hits of the year. Werth fought off a tough 2-2 pitch to drop a single into right center to break a 1-1 tie, and Robinson drilled an opposite field hit to score two more to give Washington a 4-1 advantage.
Blake Treinen needed only nine pitches, seven of them strikes, to retire the Marlins in order in the top of the eighth inning. Treinen retired Adeiny Hechavarria on a ground out, fanned Chris Johnson and got Gordon on a ground ball to short in his dominant inning.
Washington’s Max Scherzer looks for his first win of the year as the Nats take on Bud Norris and the winless Atlanta Braves in the first game of a four game series at Nationals Park.