The year in shutouts

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I wanted to dig into scoreless games for a minute. Here’s a look at the teams throwing the most and fewest and then the teams that are on the other end.

Throwing shutouts

Most
Braves – 8
Brewers – 8
Phillies – 8
Rangers – 8
Tigers – 8
Mariners – 7

Fewest
Blue Jays – 1
Cubs – 1
Astros – 2
Reds – 2
Yankees – 2

Nothing seems especially out of place there, except maybe Detroit’s ranking. The Tigers are just 23rd in MLB in ERA. They do have Justin Verlander, of course, but he’s been on the mound for just two of the shutouts.

Getting shut out

Most
Padres – 11
Angels – 9
Nationals – 9
Pirates – 8
Athletics – 7
Indians – 7

Fewest
Astros – 1
Diamondbacks – 1
Blue Jays – 2
Mariners – 2
Orioles – 2
Rangers – 2
Reds – 2
Tigers – 2

Ah, yes, the Padres. That was my reason for pulling up the numbers in the first place. Baseball’s lowest scoring team has been shut out 11 times. But not making the list were the Giants. They’ve scored just six more runs than the Padres this season (230 to 224), but they’ve only been shut out six times.

Seeing Houston on the second list is a something of a shocker. The Astros rank 18th in MLB scoring at 262 runs, but they always manage at least one or two runs per game. The Red Sox, who lead the majors with 350 runs, have already been shut out five times, while the Yankees, in second with 330 runs, have been held scoreless four times.

Video: Bryce Harper crushes a home run to the Chase Field concourse

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Aaron Judge may be the talk of the town right now, but let’s not forget some of Major League Baseball’s more established sluggers. Take the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, for instance, who jumped on a full count during the first inning of Saturday’s game and postmarked the ball to the center field concourse in Chase Field.

Harper’s mammoth hit was the first career home run allowed by Diamondbacks’ rookie Anthony Banda. Banda quickly recovered with an inning-ending strikeout to Ryan Zimmerman, but was booted from his big league debut after Harper, Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon combined for a three-run spread in the sixth.

The first-inning homer also served another purpose: it extended Harper’s hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in MLB this season. He’ll need four more games to tie the 19-game streak Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield established back in June.

The Nationals currently lead the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Chi Chi Gonzalez to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is slated for Tommy John surgery, according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day disabled list back in early April with a partial UCL tear and was working towards a throwing program before getting sidelined with more elbow pain. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the 2018 season while recovering from the surgery.

This is the second straight season that has been derailed for Gonzalez due to injury. The 25-year-old starter pitched just 10 1/3 innings in 2016 after recovering from a torn UCL, and was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to finish out the year after compiling an 8.71 ERA, 7.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in three starts with the club. He showed more promise in Triple-A with a 4.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 through 24 starts and 138 innings.

It’s a tough blow for the Rangers, who have seen Gonzalez healthy in just one major league season to date. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters that a recent MRI showed signs of weakening in the ligament, which disrupted the team’s plans to have the right-hander stick to a six- to eight-week recovery timetable after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection (via Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). The surgery is expected to take place next week and will put Gonzalez’s earliest return date sometime in September 2018.