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.
The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.