Must-click link: What does a "No. X starter" mean, exactly?

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When talking about pitchers and rotations people throw around terms like “No. 1 starter” or “No. 3 starter” constantly because it serves as a sort of common understanding about ability and upside.
However, one of the problems with using that terminology comes when not everyone has the same definition of how great a pitcher has to be to qualify as a “No. 1 starter” or how low the threshold is for a pitcher to fit the bill as a “No. 5 starter.”
Bryan Smith at Fan Graphs crunched the numbers and put together a very interesting, detailed look at exactly how each spot in the rotation tends to perform.
Bryan Smith: Numbers for the Numbered Starters
Many of the results surprised me quite a bit and my main takeaway from the analysis is that people tend to dramatically overstate how good third, fourth, and fifth starters are on most MLB teams.

Joe Maddon: “I have a defensive foot fetish.”

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The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Well then.

The Nationals have scored 62 runs during four Joe Ross starts

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If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.

Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.

Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.

Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.