Jordan Zimmermann may have posted the best start in Nats’ history

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If you had asked me who had the best start in Washington Nationals history I would have assumed it was Stephen Strasburg, with any of his starts a few years back when his games were dubbed “Strasmas” and the entire world watched qualifying. But that’s not the case says Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:

By one objective measure, it stands as the best start in Nationals history. Bill James’s Game Score offers a way to compare starts . . . Zimmermann’s masterpiece adds up to 95 — the best this season in the majors and the best in Nationals’ brief history. John Patterson had held the mark since August 2005. And now they’re chasing Zimmermann.

Complete games help your game score more than striking out a ton of dudes in six or seven innings, which was Strasburg’s m.o. back in the day.

Zimmermann is on fire in June, posting 17 scoreless innings in his two starts. This after a terrible May. Indeed, all of the Nats starters are coming around. As Kilgore notes, Over their past six games, Nationals starters have struck out 44 batters and walked one.

And more importantly: the Nats are now in first place. Tied with the reeling Braves and the kinda sputtering Marlins. Anyone who picked the Nats to figure it out this year and win the NL East as many expected last year have to be feeling pretty good about their prediction right about now.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.