Ross wins tuneup for the post­sea­son

Baltimore Sun - - BASEBALL - By Chelsea Janes

WASH­ING­TON — The next time right-han­der Joe Ross takes the mound for the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als, he will al­most cer­tainly be mak­ing his ma­jor league post­sea­son de­but. When ex­actly that will come, and whether he will be start­ing, re­mains to be seen — though he seems a good can­di­date to start Game 4 of the Na­tional League Di­vi­sion Se­ries against the Los An­ge­les Dodgers, if nec­es­sary.

The next time Ross takes the mound, he will not have the lux­ury of build­ing stamina, thrust into the post­sea­son in­ten­sity he has yet to ex­pe­ri­ence. The four onerun in­nings he threw in a 5-3 win over the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs on a sleepy Septem­ber af­ter­noon Thurs­day could not sim­u­late what is to come. But with a week to go be­fore the play­offs and many ques­tions unan­swered, rainy out­ings like these are all the Na­tion­als have to go on as they build their post­sea­son plan.

Though he lasted only those four in­nings be­cause his pitch count climbed, Ross looked as ready for a full-blown start­ing role as he has since re­turn­ing from the dis­abled list ear­lier this month. Rookie catcher Pe­dro Sev­erino, who might just find him­self start­ing Game 1 of the di­vi­sion se­ries against Clay­ton Ker­shaw, home­red. The makeshift mid­dle of the or­der pro­duced. Rookie Rey­naldo Lopez shone in long re­lief.

The Na­tion­als won their 93rd game, three more than the Dodgers had en­ter­ing their late game Thurs­day night. With any com­bi­na­tion of Na­tion­als wins and Dodgers losses to­tal­ing two, the Na­tion­als will clinch home-field ad­van­tage in the NLDS.

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