Angels 1, Nationals 0.
As we were reminded again Wednesday night, for the 11th time this season, Washington, D.C., is the Shutout Capital of the Major Leagues. Halfway through the schedule, the Nats are halfway to breaking the franchise record for whitewashings (as they used to call them) – 21, set by the 2008 club. Ouch.
Losing, after all, is one thing, but failing to score is a particular skill, something D.C.’s baseball teams have depressingly good at since, well, the end of World War II. Here, for instance, are the clubs that were shut out the most from 1946 to ’60 (at which point the Original Senators became the Minnesota Twins):
And here are the clubs that were shut out the most from 1961 to ’71 (the lifespan of the Expansion Senators):
174 Senators II
The Mets, of course, were historically horrific in their early years. In their first four seasons, they averaged 113 losses. But the Senators, bless ’em, were right there with them in the Blankings Department.
Finally, here are the clubs that have been shut out the most since 2005, when the Expos moved to Washington:
Finally, if you add the three periods together, you get these rankings:
(Note: Only the 16 pre-expansion franchises apply.)
469 Senators I and II/Nationals
That’s right, Washington’s ballclubs have been shut out 60 more times than the second most whitewashed team and nearly 100 more than the fifth most whitewashed team.
Another way to look at it: They’ve been shut out, basically, for three entire seasons out of the 32½ they’ve been in business. That’s a lot of goose eggs.
In case you’re curious, these are the least shut out teams for the years in question:
270 Yankees (199 fewer than Washington’s clubs)
296 Red Sox (173 fewer)
301 Dodgers (168 fewer)
317 Cardinals (152 fewer)
317 Giants (152 fewer)
And people wondered why Jim Riggleman played so much “small ball” … .
Maybe Bryce Harper, when he arrives in the big-time, will help change this awful history of run deficiency. It wouldn’t be too much to ask, would it?