Looking at MLB’s least productive positions to date

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Nationals left fielders, “led” by Xavier Nady, have amassed an MLB-low .406 OPS in 101 at-bats to date, hitting just .119 with no homers and six RBI.

Here’s the list of the worst OPSs by team and position so far, along with the player most responsible for the poor showing.

LF Nationals – .406 (.119/.237/.168) – Nady
3B Athletics – .424 (.133/.186/.238) – Josh Donaldson
3B White Sox – .435 (.178/.217/.218) – Brent Morel
2B Tigers – .436 (.148/.208/.227) – Ryan Raburn
SS Padres – .439 (.138/.248/.191) – Jason Bartlett
CF Cubs – .469 (.183/.248/.221) – Marlon Byrd
C Pirates – .473 (.156/.240/.233) – Rod Barajas
SS White Sox – .476 (.196/.217/.259) – Alexei Ramirez
1B Indians – .484 (.150/.234/.250) – Casey Kotchman
RF Twins – .492 (.156/.221/.271) – Clete Thomas
2B Athletics – .493 (/165/.229/.264) – Jemile Weeks
DH Tigers – .497 (.183/.218/.279) – Delmon Young
1B Mets – .503 (.182/.231/.273) – Ike Davis
DH Mariners – .504 (.184/.223/.281) – Jesus Montero
SS Angels – .506 (.211/.259/.248) – Erick Aybar
SS Pirates – .507 (.172/.204/.303) – Clint Barmes
SS Phillies – .516 (.214/.268/.248) – Jimmy Rollins
3B Twins – .515 (.198/.219/.297) – Danny Valencia
2B Giants – .520 (.235/.275/.245) – Ryan Theriot
SS Mariners – .525 (.174/.275/.250) – Brendan Ryan
2B Twins – .532 (.228/.260/.272) – Alexi Casilla
C Padres – .538 (.171/.252/.286) – Nick Hundley
C Athletics – .540 (.217/.257/.283) – Kurt Suzuki
CF Brewers – .540 (.205/.246/.295) – Nyjer Morgan
SS Twins – .542 (.208/.304/.238) – Jamey Carroll

– It’s pretty hard to believe, but in Chase Utley’s absence, Phillies second basemen have still outproduced the shortstops and third basemen. That’s because Pete Orr has been a nice surprise with a .714 OPS in nine games. Freddy Galvis has a .571 OPS in 26 games at second base.

– The Pirates’ big winter signings both appear on the list, as Barajas and Barmes have really brought the offense down. They were picked up more for their gloves, of course, but they’ve made it really tough for the Pirates to get anything going towards the bottom of their lineup.

– If I had a better feeling who to blame among Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan for the Twins’ right field mess, I would have listed him instead of Thomas. Minnesota’s original plan was to play Josh Willingham in right and Ben Revere in left, but Willingham was moved to left late in the spring and right field has been a disaster area since. Revere wouldn’t have been anything special either, but he almost surely would have been better than this.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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I’m taking the day off to go down to Kentucky to watch horses do horsey things (watch for me photobombing equestrian types on NBC Sports Network). Bill will be along later today and Ashley will be here this evening, but I can’t leave you without the recaps because that’s what I do.

Don’t do anything dumb while your mother and I are out. We’ve marked all the bottles. We’ll know if you’re lying to us.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 5, Giants 1: It was 1-1 until the 11th inning thanks to Julio Urias, making his 2017 big league debut, and the Dodgers’ bullpen and Matt Moore and the Giants’ bullpen takin’ care of business. The Dodgers got tired of it being close in the top of the 11th, however, beating up on Corey Gearrin, Steven Okert and Hunter Strickland for four runs. Andrew Toles knocked in the go-ahead run with a single. A sac fly, single and a bases-loaded walk finished the scoring. The Giants wouldn’t have even scored the one run if it wasn’t for the Dodgers throwing the ball around.

Nationals 16, Rockies 5: The Nats came into Colorado and scored 46 runs in four games. Which, damn. They put up 11 runs in the seventh inning here, with Bryce Harper hitting a three-run shot. Trea Turner hit for the cycle on Tuesday, finished a triple shy of another cycle Wednesday and hit a double and two singles and driving in two here. Harper is hitting .418/.535/.823 with eight homers and 25 RBI. That’s a 59 homer, 184 RBI pace. I know Harper has a habit of putting up big Aprils and that injuries have derailed him in the past, but this is shaping up to be a really special year for this guy.

Cardinals 8, Blue Jays 4; Cardinals 6, Blue Jays 4: The first game of the twin-bill ended in spectacular fashion with Matt Carpenter hitting a walkoff grand slam in the 11th inning. They wouldn’t have even gotten to extras, however, if it wasn’t for Randal Grichuk‘s two-run homer with two outs in the ninth which tied it up. So much drama in game 1 it’s a shame they had to suit up for fame 2 rather than just go out for drinks. But they did play game 2 and it went swell for St. Louis. Dexter Fowler, Greg Garcia and Matt Adams each had three hits. Fowler hit a dinger. The Blue Jays are a total mess. But they’re not the only mess in the bigs right now because . . .

Braves 7, Mets 5: M-E-S-S Mess! Mess! Mess! Six losses in a row and 10 of 11. They’re not scoring. Everyone is getting hurt. Just a disaster. The last time the Mets were this screwed up was just after the All-Star break in 2015 and you know what happened then. Oh, wait, they won the pennant. Eh, let’s let the New York press and Mets fans freak out. Maybe it’s actually warranted this time. Who knows. All I know is that Kurt Suzuki hit a big three-run homer here and when the Braves make you look bad, you’re not living your best life.

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander and Hisashi Iwakuma battled. Verlander battled a tad better — allowing only an unearned run in seven innings while striking out eight while Iwakuma allowed only one unearned run in five and two-thirds — but the Mariners got the win anyway. The go-ahead run came thanks to a Ben Gamel RBI single off of Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Can’t trust the Tigers bullpen in a close game. Ever.

Phillies 3, Marlins 2Jeremy Hellickson allowed one run over six innings as the Phillies win their sixth straight. Hellickson is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA on the year. Philly is doing OK right now, but if they aren’t in contention come July, he’s going to be a pretty attractive trade target.

Indians 4, Astros 3: Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Francisco Lindor hit a two-run bomb. And I mean bomb. The thing was estimated to be over 450 feet. Corey Kluber struck out ten over seven innings. In addition to being one of the best shortstops around, Lindor is hitting .301/.368/.614 on the year and he’s on a 40-homer pace. That $100 million deal he reportedly turned down is gonna look positively quaint.

Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: Masahiro Tanaka tosses a Maddux. You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Here it was a three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base. Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. They’ve only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored  only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 2: Taijuan Walker struck out 11 and Chris Ownings hit a pair of solo homers. Yasmany Tomas had a two-run homer.

Angels 2, Athletics 1: I had a dream last night that I owed the Oakland A’s $30,000 in medical bills. Something in the dream made it make sense — baseball teams ran hospitals or something — and for whatever reason, my family had used theirs and I was responsible for the bills. My family, by the way, included Ronald Reagan, who was treated at A’s hospital. Insurance wouldn’t cover a lot of his bills because a man had come out of the woodwork claiming to have been his lover, and the insurance company had a right to discriminate based on sexual orientation. What I’m sayin’ is that a lot was going on in this dream and I’m a little upset with the A’s over it right now.

Oh, by the way, Ricky Nolasco allowed one runs in five and two-thirds and four relievers combined to shut the A’s out the rest of the way. The Angels scored both of their runs in the first.

I probably do need that day off, eh? See you Monday.

Masahiro Tanaka throws a Maddux

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You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Friend of HBT Jason Lukehart invented that little metric and, because Greg Maddux is my favorite player ever, it’s pretty much my favorite stat ever.

In the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight it was Masahiro Tanaka doing the honors, tossing 97-pitch three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base to beat Boston 3-0. He only struck out three but he didn’t walk anyone. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. The Sox have only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven. They scored more runs than anyone last year, by the way.

The game only took two hours and twenty-one minutes. Or, like, half the time of a Yankees-Red Sox game in the early 2000s. Progress, people. We’re making progress.