Nationals starters set franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings

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Doug Fister tossed seven scoreless innings against the Braves this afternoon as part of a 7-0 victory. In addition to extending the team’s winning streak to six games, he helped Nationals’ starters set a new franchise record along the way.

As noted by Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Nationals starters haven’t given up a run in their last 41 1/3 innings. The streak started with Joe Ross against the Pirates last Friday and followed with Max Scherzer’s no-hitter on Saturday and seven scoreless innings from Gio Gonzalez on Sunday. It has continued this week against the Braves, as Stephen Strasburg threw five shutout innings Tuesday and Jordan Zimmerman turned in eight scoreless last night before Fister kept it going today.

The previous franchise record was set by the 1981 Expos, who had 39 consecutive scoreless innings. This is the longest overall streak in MLB since the 2008 Indians, who had 44 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Scherzer will start tomorrow night against the Phillies, so the Nationals have a pretty good chance to surpass that total.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.