Welcome to this week's edition of Marty's Musings, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the prior week and the upcoming matchups to watch, identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.
Here are this week's ‘Numbers Beyond the Box Score':
Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
56 - Combined strikeouts for Yankees' relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. New York's offense has been better than expected, but where they are really excelling is in the bullpen. To put this into perspective, the entire Tigers bullpen has combined to strike out 55 batters.
4-5-4 - The first 4-5-4 triple play in the history of baseball occurred this weekend. The Cardinals Yadier Molina was unfortunately on the receiving end of the historic play which can be viewed here. Yadi made good contact and the runners were off, but Neil Walker pulled it back and quickly turned two. A confused Jayson Heyward was the third out victim.
46 - Michael Pineda's park-adjusted Field Independent Pitching. Pineda mowed down 16 Orioles Sunday en route to a 6-2 victory and the Yankees 20th win on the season. Pineda has been a much needed stalwart in New York's rotation and is emerging as one of the game's most exciting pitchers.
1933 - The last time a starting pitcher went eight inning with zero strikeouts in a winning performance for his team. Babe Ruth was the last pitcher to put up a similar line to R.A. Dickey who did it to the Yanks on Monday. Dickey went eight innings struck out no one and walked three. He gave up only one run in a 3-1 victory.
162 - Consecutive batters faced by Bartolo Colon since his last walk. The soon to be 42 year old Colon has walked one batter in 46 innings and has been a surprising asset for the Mets. He was probably someone the Mets considered trading this offseason, but with a team that looks like it can compete for a wildcard, Colon has been worth his weight in gold... that's a lot of gold. My only guess is that in some attic in the Dominican Republic there's a painting of Colon getting older.
6 - Home Runs for Bryce Harper in three games between Wednesday and Saturday. Harper has looked fantastic so far in 2015. He had three home runs on Wednesday's matinee, two more on Friday and a walk off homer on Saturday. On the year, he has 11 dinger in fewer than 140 plate appearances, a .433 on base percentage and a 184 wRC+. It's also worth mentioning again that he is the fourth youngest player in the league.
.099 - Chase Utley's batting average through the first 30 games of the season. Utley has been atrocious in 2015 and looks like he probably should be hanging it up fairly soon. The .099 average is the worst among all qualified hitters through a team's first thirty games in over 100 years.
661 - Career home runs for Alex Rodriguez. ARod has been a power threat for almost his entire career (save some injury plagued seasons before his PED suspension). Rodriguez passed all time great Willie Mays and moved into sole possession of fourth place on the all time home run list. He has been mashing at the plate, and earlier this week was the only hitter with a hard-hit percentage over 50%.
7 - Number of offensive stats Carlos Correa is leading the Texas League including average, on base percentage, slugging, stolen bases, doubles, home runs, and total bases. With Jed Lowrie on the disabled list (a seemingly common occurrence) there has been talk of the Astros bringing up Correa sooner rather than later. He should not have to spend much time in AAA, if he even goes to Fresno at all.
What to Watch
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Tuesday, May 12
A.J. Burnett (PIT) v. TBD (PHI)
Burnett's second run with the Pirates has started off extremely well. In his six games, he has given up only seven earned runs and currently has a 1.66 ERA. His xFIP is a more normal 3.48, but I'm sure Burnett would like nothing more than to go into Citizen's Bank Park and mow down some Phillies. The Phillies have a collective .272 wOBA and 68 wRC+, both worst in the majors; Philadelphia readers may want to turn their attention elsewhere.
Tuesday, May 12
Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) v. Chris Archer (TB)
A battle of two young pitchers in a pitcher friendly park including Chris Archer who very well could be a sleeper Cy Young candidate. Archer trails only Clayton Kershaw in strikeouts and has the third best xFIP in the American League. Eovaldi has still yet to harness his power pitches into a dominant performance as his K/9 is a pedestrian 6.62 on the year, and as predicted he is still having problems with the long ball already having given up 5 home runs in 34 innings.
Tuesday, May 12
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) v. Jake Arrieta (CHC)
It's Syndergaard's first major league start after tearing it up in the Pacific Coast League. A key piece of the R.A. Dickey trade, Syndergaard's initial crack at a Major League lineup is against the free swinging Cubs. This matchup is intriguing as the Cubs do not fare well against power pitchers (see Spencer's chart 3/4 down the page).
Wednesday, May 13
John Lackey (STL) v. Corey Kluber (CLE)
The Indians have yet to win a game started by their reigning Cy Young champ and will face off against the team with the best record in baseball. Kluber is getting bit by some bad luck (.364 BABIP against and a 62.3% strand rate) but his 5.04 ERA belies his underlying numbers including a 3.14 xFIP. John Lackey meanwhile has found a resurgence in the National League. Pitching for the league minimum salary, he has a, 86 ERA- and has really limited the longball (two home runs against in 39 innings).
Thursday, May 14
Doug Fister (WAS) v. James Shields (SD)
Fister continues to do what he's known for: limiting hard contact (only 23.6 percent) and getting a bunch of ground balls (42.2 percent). His 2.61 ERA is significantly better than his 4.62 xFIP, but then again he outperformed his peripherals all of 2014 as well with a 2.41 ERA and a 3.85 xFIP. James Shields has taken well to the Southern California sun, and despite a lousy outing against the Diamondbacks this week, has thrown five quality starts in his first seven of the season.
Saturday, May 16
Gerrit Cole (PIT) v. Jon Lester (CHC)
A matchup of two divisional foes who are both vying for the first place Cardinals. Gerrit Cole won the National League pitcher of the month in April with a 1.76 ERA and a batting average against at a measly .198. His xFIP is well aligned with his ERA and he's getting a ton of ground balls. The free swinging Cubs have put together a nice start to their season, but the matchup to watch here is definitely Cole against Kris Bryant.