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Pitching staff has been team's backbone

The Sports Xchange
Roster Report · Pitching staff has been team's backbone · Notes, Quotes

There's not much mystery about how the Nationals have pulled their record to .500 despite an offense that's hitting just .228: It's because of their pitching staff.

What is a mystery is how a group of mostly unspectacular veterans and a young prospect in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery has turned into one of baseball's best starting staffs in the season's first month.

The Nationals entered Monday's game with the Giants owning the sixth-best earned run average in the National League and shut out San Francisco on Monday for the second time in four days. They've walked the second-fewest batters in the NL, allowed the second-fewest homers and have managed to get by despite striking out the fewest batters in the league.

Tom Gorzelanny, who made the rotation as the fifth starter this year, is the latest pitcher to turn in a gem, and the Nationals needed their bullpen for just 4 1/3 innings in the four-game series. They won three of those games and start a key nine-game road trip in Philadelphia with a 14-14 record.

"You're not trying to miss bats. You're trying to make quick outs," Gorzelanny said. "Everybody has that same thought. We're not strikeout artists over here. We're out here trying to get guys out. Everybody does a very good job of that."

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2016 Team Leaders
AVGDaniel Murphy , 2B.364
HRBryce Harper , RF9
RBIBryce Harper , RF24
OBPDaniel Murphy , 2B.430
SLGBryce Harper , RF.753
RBryce Harper , RF15
SBBryce Harper , RF5
WStephen Strasburg , SP4
ERAGio Gonzalez , SP1.42
WHIPGio Gonzalez , SP0.99
KStephen Strasburg , SP40
SVJonathan Papelbon , RP8

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