Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: No holes in Nats' rotation

MLB Notebook: No holes in Nats' rotation

MLB Notebook: No holes in Nats' rotation
Through Saturday's games, 26 qualifying pitchers in the National League were allowing fewer than 7.5 hits per nine innings.

Five of those 26 hurl baseballs for the Washington Nationals.

The worst of Washington's quintet -- Jordan Zimmermann -- checks in with the NL's 18th best mark of 7.19 hits per nine. Zimmermann makes up for it in the WHIP department, however, owning the league's seventh lowest ratio of walks and hits per nine.

Zimmermann owns the second lowest WHIP on the club, and all five of Washington's starters are among the top-14 in the NL. For some context, at least from this very specific perspective: When the 1997 Braves assembled a starting rotation that is often judged to be one of the very best the game has ever seen, they placed four qualifying starters among the top-nine in WHIP in the NL.

So it's a whole lot of fun to look at the WHIP leader boards and see Stephen Strasburg in fifth place, Zimmermann in seventh, Nats southpaw Gio Gonzalez in 10th, Nationals righty Edwin Jackson in the 11th spot and Washington's fifth starter -- Ross Detwiler -- holding strong at No. 14.

Nationals starters
Zimmermann allowed one run in seven innings with nine strikeouts and picked up his second victory of the year Saturday in Washington's 2-1 win over the Reds.

The Nationals have 16 games this season in which their starter has finished with at least six innings pitched and no more than one run allowed. Those 16 are the most in the Majors, ahead of the 14 from the Cardinals and Dodgers.

The breakdown of the 16 for Washington: Zimmermann, Strasburg and Gonzalez each have four, and Jackson and Detwiler have two apiece.

Before the Nationals, the most recent team to have as many as 16 starts of at least six innings and no more than one run allowed through its first 33 contests was current Nats skipper Davey Johnson's 1985 Mets.

The Mets' David Wright went 4-for-6 with a homer and three RBIs, and he has now collected at least two hits in four straight games, and at least one extra-base hit in five consecutive contests.

The Mets' franchise record for consecutive games with at least two hits is eight, set by Steve Henderson, in 1979. Last season, Wright assembled a streak of seven consecutive games.

The team record for consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit is eight, set by Ty Wigginton in 2004. Wright's career high is six straight, set in 2007.

Josh Hamilton hit his 18th home run for his only hit in four at-bats in the Rangers' 4-2 loss to the Angels. He tied Cy Williams (1923) for the most homers through 34 team games.

Players with at least 17 home runs through 34 team games
Player Year HR RBI OPS Season HR
Cy Williams 1923 18 50 1.195 41
Josh Hamilton 2012 18 41 1.334 TBD
Willie Mays 1964 17 40 1.334 47
Frank Howard 1968 17 34 1.212 44
Albert Pujols 2006 17 41 1.287 49
Hamilton, who has gone deep in five of his past six games, has nine homers and 15 RBIs during this stretch.

The Orioles beat the Rays, 5-3, to improve to an American League East-best 22-12. The 34-game record tied the 2012 O's with four other Baltimore teams for the fourth best mark in franchise history.

• 24-10 in 1970
• 23-11 in 1992, '97
• 22-12 in 1969, '79, '81, 2005, '12

In Baltimore's win over Tampa Bay, the Orioles' bullpen combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings of no-hit ball. Baltimore's bullpen owns the second lowest ERA in the AL, has the third lowest WHIP, and has thrown the third most innings.

Toronto's Jose Bautista went 2-for-4 with his eighth home run -- his third in his past two games -- in a 2-1 win over the Twins.

The three homers have come at Target Field, where Bautista owns a career slash line of .372/.438/1.116 with 10 home runs in 10 games. Bautista's 10 homers at Target Field are the fifth most for any player (home or visiting) at the ballpark since it opened in 2010, and more than Justin Morneau (five) and Joe Mauer (two) combined.

Before these past two games, Bautista had not homered in consecutive games since July 1-3, 2011.

Matt Cain allowed one run on three hits in six innings and got the win, as the Giants defeated the D-backs, 5-2, to end the club's nine-game losing streak vs. Arizona.

The start marked the third time this season Cain had gone at least six innings and allowed no more than three hits. In the other two, he threw a one-hit shutout and allowed two hits in nine scoreless innings.

Cain is one of six Giants pitchers since 1958 (the year the club moved to San Francisco) to have as many as three starts of this kind through the club's first 33 games. Cain himself had four in 2007, as did Toothpick Sam Jones, in 1960. Atlee Hammaker had three in both '83 and '85, and Jonathan Sanchez had three in 2010.

Here and there
• In the Pirates' 5-2 victory over the Astros, Andrew McCutchen collected three singles and hit his third home run of the year. McCutchen now has a trio of four-hit games this season, tying him with six other Pirates for the most since 1918 through the team's first 33 games. The others to have three: Pie Traynor (1927), Paul Waner ('32) Arky Vaughan ('37), Woody Jensen ('37), Al Oliver ('73) and Jack Wilson (2004).

• Playing in his 910th career game, Braves catcher Brian McCann drove in a pair of runs. At this point in his career, McCann has 546 career RBIs as a catcher. Dating back to 1918, that total through that many games is the seventh most for any backstop, behind only Mike Piazza, Roy Campanella, Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench and Walker Cooper.

• Derek Jeter went 2-for-4 and tied Tony Gwynn for 18th on the all-time list with 3,141 hits. Ahead for Jeter: Robin Yount (3,142), Paul Waner (3,152) and George Brett (3,154). Jeter now has 924 career multihit games, 10 behind Eddie Murray for the seventh most since 1918.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.