New father Tyson Ross hopes to stabilize Tigers' depleted starting staff

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News
Tigers pitcher Tyson Ross

Detroit — With all the recent subtractions from his work life because of injuries, it was nice for Tyson Ross to celebrate an addition for a change this week.

Ross welcomed his son, Jordan Anthony, to the world Wednesday and will hit the mound Saturday against the Royals as the most experienced — and healthy — member of the Tigers' starting staff.

The new father told reporters before Friday’s series opener against Kansas City that he’s already realized there’s no equating the pressures and joys of fatherhood with the ups and downs at work.

“Not even close, two different universes right there,” Ross said. “I don't think I'm coming down from that high for a long time. Going home to my family is going to make me smile every day.”

To help lead a depleted staff that’s currently without Michael Fulmer, Matt Moore and Jordan Zimmermann, Ross would do well to take a cue about resilience from his wife, Ashley.

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“Seeing my wife in pain and struggling, seeing my son be born, it’s a whole other level than what goes on with baseball,” Ross said. “My wife went through a pretty long labor, but she’s a champ for having dealt with that. He took his time to come out, but he’s here now.

“That was truly a special moment.”

Ross, who turned 32 on April 22 and is a Taurus like his son, has not started since April 24 and his only win this season came April 7 against Kansas City.

In that game, Ross struck out eight batters and allowed one run over seven innings, his third win in three career games against the Royals, who he has a 2.37 ERA against. It was his one sterling outing mixed with four others that ranged from so-so to shaky this season, compiling a 1-3 record and 4.03 ERA with 12 walks and 22 strikeouts.

With Moore and Fulmer out for the season and Zimmermann’s elbow possibly a long-term concern, Ross is the elder statesman of a rotation that includes Matthew Boyd, Daniel Norris and rookie Spencer Turnbull.

Already, the Tigers will need a fifth starter by the May 11 doubleheader at Minnesota. After 10 quality starts in the team’s first 19 games, Tigers starters had just three in the last nine games entering Friday. Starters entered the six-game homestand with a 3.51 ERA.

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Meanwhile, the only stats for young Jordan Ross are the ones his father provided Friday: 7 pounds, 2 ounces, with an undetermined pitching arm as well.

Given the family history, it's not all that much of a long shot: Jordan's uncle and Tyson's brother, Joe Ross, is a big-league pitcher, too, with Washington. He was converted from the starting rotation to the bullpen this season, his fifth in the MLB.

The Tigers and the newest father are aided by a family-friendly May schedule, featuring 15 of the next 19 games at Comerica Park, where Ross is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts this season for the Tigers.

“It’s going to be a challenge for me every day, leaving home, coming into work, going on the road and leaving my family,” Ross said. “Everyone says good luck with sleeping. I think I’ll get it when I can. I’ll get my rest when I can and enjoy my time with my family when I can while we are at home.”

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.