After losing starting pitcher Doug Fister midway through spring training and catcher Wilson Ramos Opening Day, the Washington Nationals have lost three of their most productive offensive players. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went on the DL April 13 with a big-time thumb injury, and then outfielder Bryce Harper went on the DL April 27 with a thumb injury.
Ramos returned behind the plate May 7, and Fister made his first start May 9, but the club put first baseman Adam LaRoche on the 15-day DL May 11 with a significant quad injury.
The Nats have a deep system and are first rate at player development, but I am not sure even their system has enough ready-to-play contributors to make up for the big three out now.
Here are some interesting MLB stat notes.
The teams who have allowed the fewest unearned runs are the Cincinnati Reds with three and the Tampa Bay Rays with six. The Nationals have already allowed 28 unearned runs to date in 2014, while in the American League, the disappointing Cleveland Indians have given up 22. The O's, for the record, have allowed eight unearned runs to date.
What are the best and worst ERAs? In the National League, the Atlanta Braves' staff has been stingy to the tune of a 2.64 ERA, and, unsurprisingly, the woeful Arizona Diamondbacks show a team ERA of 4.81.
Despite the tribulations of closer Jim Johnson and the loss of two starters -- Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin -- the Oakland A's lead the AL with a 2.91 ERA. The Astros are bad to the bone, and the team ERA is 4.82.
Are you curious about complete games? In all of MLB, 17 out of the 30 teams have zero complete games. Eight teams have one, and just five have two. No team in MLB has three or more.
Another more modern stat that serves as an indicator on the effectiveness of the starting staff, and may have a relationship to a team's bullpen success or failure, is the quality start stat. A quality start is one in which the starter lasts at least six innings and gives up three or fewer runs.
The Brewers and Braves were tied for the MLB lead with 28 quality starts. The A's have 26, while the Reds and Red Sox are tied with 25. The three teams with the fewest quality starts are the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles with 12.
The highest batting averages against a pitching staff are .276 for the Twins, .274 for the Orioles, .273 for the Phillies and .272 for the Rangers. The lowest batting averages against are the A's at .220; the Braves at .229; and the Angels, Reds and Cardinals at .230.
What teams have the most and fewest strikeouts by their pitching staffs? The Dodgers lead the way with 343 Ks, followed by the Indians, who have recorded 338, and the Nationals with 331. The lowest strikeout total for a staff is the Twins' 209, then the Orioles' 252, the White Sox's 258 and the Rockies' 261.
On the other side of that coin, the White Sox have allowed the most walks with 168, and the Blue Jays are next with 155. Meanwhile, the Tigers have recorded the fewest walks with 93, followed by the Braves and Giants with 94 and the Yankees with 96.
Here are this week's rankings.
1. Detroit Tigers (21-12 overall record, No. 2 ranking last week)
2. San Francisco Giants (24-14, No. 3)
3. Oakland Athletics (23-15, No. 5)
4. Atlanta Braves (21-15, No. 6)
5. Colorado Rockies (23-17, No. 9)
6. Milwaukee Brewers (24-14, No. 1)
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (20-19, No. 4)
8. New York Yankees (19-17, No. 8)
9. Baltimore Orioles (20-15, No. 11)
10. Washington Nationals (19-18, No. 7)
11. St. Louis Cardinals (19-19, No. 12)
12. Boston Red Sox (19-18, No. 14)
13. Texas Rangers (19-19, No. 10)
14. Seattle Mariners (19-18, No. 17)
15. Los Angeles Angels (19-17, No. 16)
16. Tampa Bay Rays (16-22, No. 13)
17. Kansas City Royals (18-19, No. 19)
18. Toronto Blue Jays (18-20, No. 21)
19. Cincinnati Reds (17-19, No. 15)
20. Miami Marlins (20-18, No. 22)
21. Pittsburgh Pirates (16-21, No. 24)
22. Minnesota Twins (17-19, No. 20)
23. Cleveland Indians (18-20, No. 25)
24. Chicago White Sox (19-20, No. 26)
25. New York Mets (17-19, No. 18)
26. San Diego Padres (18-21, No. 27)
27. Arizona Diamondbacks (15-25, No. 29)
28. Philadelphia Phillies (17-19, No. 23)
29. Chicago Cubs (12-24, No. 28)
30. Houston Astros (12-26, No. 30)
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