Joe Ross to start Tuesday versus Seattle

Right-hander Joe Ross will make his fourth start of the season Tuesday night for the Nationals when they return home to take on the Seattle Mariners, the team announced this afternoon.

Joe-Ross-white-sidebar.jpgRoss went 1-0 with a 7.47 ERA in three starts for the Nationals in April. His first start at Atlanta on April 19 was solid. He went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits with one walk and struck out seven for the victory.

But in his next two starts - at Colorado and home against the Mets - he gave up a combined 10 runs in just 8 2/3 innings of work.

Ross said his breaking stuff wasn't working as well in Denver. His velocity was also down in those two starts.

Ross was sent to Triple-A Syracuse, where he had started the season. The 24-year-old made three starts there from May 6 to May 17. In his most recent outing, he pitched seven innings for the win at Buffalo, surrendering one run on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts. His fastball velocity hovered around 91-93 mph - still not where he had been last season, but a better average than what he had in Colorado.

Jacob Turner made the last turn in this spot May 17 at Pittsburgh. But with the unsettled bullpen needing a reliable arm, especially one that could go long and piggyback on a short start if things go wrong, the Nationals prefer Turner as a reliever this week in hopes that Ross can put some consistent starts together and stay in the rotation.

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