San Diego Padres pitcher Tyson Ross is set to make his final start of the 2015 season Tuesday night in Milwaukee. He is within six innings of besting his career innings pitched mark of 195 and his next spot in the rotation would come the final day of the regular season. That said, the Padres are probably not inclined to risk any injury especially with his injury history and high innings load unless that game ends up having playoff implications for the Dodgers and Giants.
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The 2015 season will likely be looked at as an overall mixed bag for Ross. He enters the game today with a 10-11 record so a definite shot to at least end up with a .500 record, we all know that a win-loss record does not tell too much of a story. Digging into the peripherals however can get deceptive as well.
For example, his ERA this year is 3.17 compared to 2.89 last year, but on the plus side he has only allowed 8 home runs this season (3 in one game last week!) compared to 13 last year, so that is a step in the right direction. That said if you look at his Fielding Independent Pitching number, which essentially tries to take a team’s defense out of the equation in regards to run/hits allowed he comes in with a career best 2.94. This is important – especially when the Padres take a look at their defensive alignment throughout the year and what personnel plans they have for next season particularly in the outfield.
The downside is that he is tied for the league lead in walks allowed with 81 at the time of this writing (+9 from last season) and in one that makes sense but is tougher to explain he is also tied for the league lead in wild pitches. This means that as far as the walks go he is not “nibbling” and not getting the calls…he is likely way off. He also set a career high in strikeouts with over 200 for the first time in his career. He enters Tuesday’s game at 205.
Last season he set a career high in innings pitched with 195 and his consistent health was a big part of him making the All Star Team along with that slider. This season he set a career high in starts with most likely 33 unless again he gets the ball the final day of the season. This is a great sign for the Padres future if he prove he can be a dependable starter along with James Shields as the Padres keep their best starters on the field.
So how do we judge it? I think while it wasn’t an incredible year of growth for Ross, it wasn’t a regression too far either. He proved that last year was no fluke with his strike out numbers, and if his control can be better managed through mechanics or mental exercises or something – he should stand for an even better season next year.
Facing off against Ross tonight is Milwaukee rookie Jorge Lopez making his MLB debut. The Brewers of course are also playing without superstar Ryan Braun who is getting ready for back surgery to be at 100% for the start of 2016. Lopez is the Brewer’s Number 8 ranked prospect and extends a franchise record as the 12th player to debut for the Brewers as reported by Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. This series will be the final one of the season at Petco Park.