The phrase “… haven’t ruled out” is one you really gotta take with a grain of salt. I mean, I haven’t ruled out a lot of ridiculous things, mostly because I haven’t considered them in the first place. That said, this is still interesting to me:
Likelihood: outrageously low. Harper only hit .256/.329/.395 in his first look at double-A last year. Which is awesome for someone his age, but c’mon, that doesn’t look like a guy who is going to be able to step into a major league lineup at age 19.
Still: the very fact that this report is out there suggests how well the Nats understand that Harper’s appeal to fans and thus his usefulness as a marquee draw. I’ll bet he stays in the big league camp much longer than your usual minor league kid next spring.
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.
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.