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The staying power of three

If Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann stay healthy and pitch well, they have a chance to stabilize the Nationals' rotation for at least the next four seasons. But they would have to exceed even those expectations to join more select company. Only 12 trios in baseball history have made a majority of their starts (at least 15 percent of a team's total games) while pitching together for five years or longer. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Braves of the 1990s head the list, along with the Cleveland Indians of the early 1950s, and both qualify for two overlapping stretches with different combinations of starters:

Years Span Team Pitchers W-L Pct. Avg. wins Ks K/9 ERA
7 1993-99 Atlanta Braves Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux 340-166 .672 16.2 3598 7.0 2.92
6 1969-74 Baltimore Orioles Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar 342-182 .631 19.0 2566 4.9 2.91
7 1950-56 Cleveland Indians Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, Mike Garcia 394-235 .626 18.8 2676 4.5 3.16
5 1949-53 Cleveland Indians Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, Bob Feller 266-166 .616 17.7 1777 4.3 3.43
5 1991-95 Atlanta Braves Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Steve Avery 215-135 .614 14.3 2239 6.5 3.35
6 1928-33 Chicago Cubs Guy Bush, Charlie Root, Pat Malone 300-198 .602 16.7 1888 4.0 3.67
5 1980-84 Detroit Tigers Jack Morris, Dan Petry, Milt Wilcox 223-156 .588 14.9 1797 5.0 3.65
5 1985-89 Kansas City Royals Bret Saberhagen, Charlie Leibrandt, Mark Gubicza 221-157 .585 14.7 2101 5.6 3.40
6 1958-63 Los Angeles Dodgers Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johnny Podres 273-197 .581 15.2 3459 7.5 3.34
5 1972-76 New York Mets Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlock 237-177 .572 15.8 2919 7.0 2.88
6 1922-27 Cincinnati Reds Pete Donohue, Dolf Luque, Eppa Rixey 301-240 .556 16.7 1442 2.8 3.13
5 1965-69 Chicago White Sox Tommy John, Gary Peters, Joe Horlen 176-171 .507 11.7 1883 5.4 2.86

SOURCE: Baseball-reference.com. GRAPHIC: Brian Gross - The Washington Post. Published April 3, 2012.