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Bucs open four game set hosting Nationals

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New York Mets v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals make their 2019 trip to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, sending right-hander Joe Ross (3-3, 5.91) to the hill to face the Pirates’ Trevor Williams (5-5, 5.25) in a scheduled 7:05 p.m. Eastern start.

The 28 year old Ross went down with forearm tightness in July of 2017 and subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery which robbed him of the bulk of 2018. Three times recalled this year from Triple-A Fresno, Ross has made eight starts in the minors with a 4.28 ERA and 22 appearances for the Nationals with a 5.91 ERA, all but four out of the bullpen.

Those four starts have come in his last five appearances since his last recall on July 21. He’s done much better as a starter, with a 1.54 ERA, than his 11.17 in relief. In his last three starts, covering 18 innings, Ross has allowed just one run on nine hits.

This year Ross has been averaging 94.1 mph on his fastball, harder than before his surgery when he was around 92.7. His primary off-speed pitch is a slider with an occasional change.

In limited playing time this year, Ross has been crushed by left-handed batters to the tune of a .945 OPS on a 338/466/479 line, while turning in an average performance vs right-handers, with a .741 OPS on a 247/308/433 line. Five members of the Pirates’ starting lineup will swing from the left side against Ross.

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NATIONALS

1 R Trea Turner SS

2 L Adam Eaton RF

3 R Anthony Rendon 3B

4 L Juan Soto LF

5 S Asdrubal Cabrera 2B

6 L Matt Adams 1B

7 R Victor Robles CF

8 R Yan Gomes C

9 Joe Ross RHP

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PIRATES

1 L Adam Frazier 2B

2 S Bryan Reynolds LF

3 R Starling Marte CF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Colin Moran 3B

6 S Melky Cabrera RF

7 R Kevin Newman SS

8 R Elias Diaz C

9 R Trevor Williams RHP