Must-Click Link: Phil Coke the janitor, Phil Coke the chimney repairman

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Jonah Keri has a great story up about Phil Coke’s long strange trip through the minors. A trip that included weird odd jobs and no small amount of determination.

The big takeaway here, as Jonah mentions, is just how criminally underpaid most minor league players are. We hear about the big bonuses, but that’s only a handful of guys in the bush leagues. The rest make do on extremely small wages which force most of them to find odd jobs, all the while being expected to keep themselves in top physical condition and to work on their craft.

Coke notes, correctly I assume, that such hardship focuses the mind and drive and helps teams figure out who really wants it bad enough.  But it’s also worth noting that major league teams’ primary motivation here is so save some meager bucks because they can.

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.