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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.