Only one team in the majors has yet to go to the bullpen in the first five innings of a game.
No, it's not the Phillies. Or the Giants. Or the A's.
Keep guessing, and let me know when you get to the Nationals.
Yes, the Nationals.
Last year, they didn't get past opening day without an early departure by the starter. By the end of the year, they had 38, the most in the majors.
Now, they're the only team without one (every other team has at least two, led by the Pirates with seven).
It's all according to plan.
"I'm not a big stat guy, but I firmly believe that the farther the starter goes in a game, the better chance you have of winning," pitching coach Steve McCatty said by phone Tuesday morning. "You try to get guys to know they have to go farther in the game to give you a chance to win."
It's not exactly revolutionary thinking, but McCatty has prioritized limiting walks over striking out batters. Sure enough, Nationals starters have just 45 walks in 173 innings, fewer than any rotation other than the Phillies.
"We're trying to stress it in the minor leagues, too," he said. "One thing the pitch count has done is it keeps guys from going deep in games, but we're telling guys you can go seven innings with 100 pitches or less.
"I was a guy who threw 135-145 pitches every time out, but just because I did it doesn't make it right."
The Nationals have gotten innings out of their starters without running high pitch counts. No Nats starter has thrown more than 109 pitches in a game, and last Friday against the Giants Jason Marquis threw a 96-pitch complete game.
The five-inning thing, as McCatty admits, isn't the best indicator. The Nationals are only in the middle of the pack in starts of six innings-plus (they have 19 in 28 games), and the Nats have just six starts of seven innings-plus (the Rays lead baseball with 15).
But for an unheralded staff -- Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Marquis and Tom Gorzelanny form the Nationals rotation -- the five-inning streak is impressive.
Especially from a rotation no one has paid attention to since Stephen Strasburg got hurt.