Joe Saunders exits early with bruised left ankle; Rangers remain snakebitten

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In early March, the Rangers made an emergency signing of Joe Saunders to patch up their injury-ravaged rotation, having lost Derek Holland and Matt Harrison. The Rangers had another scare when Yu Darvish was forced to miss his Opening Day start due to a neck injury, though he didn’t require a stint on the disabled list. This is pitchers only, mind you, as the Rangers have also lost top prospect Jurickson Profar and catcher Geovany Soto. How much worse can it get?

Saunders was metaphorically hit hard by the Rays in his start on Friday night, allowing five runs (four earned) over 3 2/3 innings. But he was also literally hit hard, taking an Evan Longoria comebacker off of his left ankle. The Rangers removed him from the game and sent him to have X-rays taken. They turned up negative, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Saunders was officially diagnosed with a bruised left ankle.

It remains to be seen if Saunders will have to miss his next start, but you can bet the Rangers are holding their breath.

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.