With the importance of run support in deciding whether a pitcher earns a victory, a starter's win-loss record can only tell so much of the story, even in the National League when pitchers also take part in the offense.
Take Stephen Strasburg, for instance. He's 10-0 through 13 starts this season with a 3.03 ERA. His rotation mate Joe Ross has a 2.92 ERA, yet he's 5-4.
Strasburg has enjoyed tremendous help from his teammates this season, who have averaged 6.85 runs per game in his outings. At that rate, you could double his ERA and the odds for a win would still be in his favor.
The win is by no means a perfect stat, but that 10-0 record sure does look pretty.
"It's just one of those things this year. Sometimes it comes in waves," outfielder Jayson Werth said. "Sometimes guys don't get any run support, sometimes they get a lot."
"There's no sense in thinking about the end, just keep it going," manager Dusty Baker said.
The 6.85 runs per start the Nationals are handing Strasburg ranks second in majors. Only Jake Arrieta (6.92) has enjoyed better run support.
It's a trend that just keeps continuing and shortstop Danny Espinosa - though he too believes it's ultimately a coincididence - does offer one theory.
"He's working at a good pace and he's keeping everyone on their toes. You're always getting a lot of turnover and getting at-bats. There's never a lot of dead time defensively. You're kind of feeling fresh," he said.
And Strasburg, of course, isn't complaining.
“That’s great," he said of his perfect record. "I think there’s other guys in the rotation who’ve pitched well enough to win. But it’s just about trying to go out there and do your job. They’ve been swinging the bat great for me and I’m going to continue to try and keep it close for them.”
The Nationals blasted the Phillies for nine runs on Friday, but Strasburg did do his part in overcoming a rocky first three innings to give the Nationals a solid outing overall. He allowed four runs combined in the second and third before settling in to retire 14 straight batters to finish his seven-inning night. It was during that stretch his teammates were shoveling runs onto the scoreboard.
Strasburg finished with 10 strikeouts for the 28th double-digit strikeout game of his career and extended his winning streak to 13 games. Strasburg hasn't taken a loss since Sept. 15 of last year.
"He came back and shut it down and gave us an opportunity to win the ballgame," Espinosa said of Strasburg's in-game turnaround.
"After that he got very determined not to give up anymore," Baker said. "We gave him some run support which always helps big-time."
Strasburg earned his 10th victory in a game he allowed four earned runs. The night before, Gio Gonzalez took a loss after only giving up three.
That's how baseball works sometimes.
"Gio wishes he probably had some of those runs for himself, you know what I mean? We're going to get them for Gio, too," Baker said.