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Marty's Musings, June 1st: This week's look beyond the box score

It was a big week in MLB as an unlikely team took the lead in the AL Central and an NL ace lands on the DL.

The Twins outfield celebrates a victory against the Red Sox
The Twins outfield celebrates a victory against the Red Sox
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to another edition of Marty's Musings, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week Major League Baseball. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the prior week and the upcoming match-ups to watch, identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.

We have wrapped up another month of MLB and are well into the season. This week we saw the continued surge of a young Nationals star, while the Marlins continue to challenge the Phillies for the least functional franchise in baseball and last place in the National League East. It's this week's installment of Marty's Musings.

Here are this week's Numbers Beyond the Box Score:


Photo credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

30 - number of wins for the first place Minnesota Twins. Minnesota started the season terribly, scoring only one run in their first series against Detroit. Since that point, however, the Twins have been rolling win after win, and have outscored their opponents by 20. Despite Fangraphs projecting them for a whopping -50 (!) for the remainder of the season.

.228 - Batting average for Giancarlo Stanton going into June. He's hitting under .200 in the month of May and per Mark Simon's May heatmap, he's having a really tough time with pitches on the outer half of the plate. Stanton absolutely crushes the ball when he hits home runs, and he has hit a lot of them: his 15 dingers only trails Bryce Harper and Nelson Cruz, who each have 18. Stanton's .833 OPS is the worst of his career, tied with his 2010 OPS.

5 - Home runs given up by Shane Greene in his 1.2 innings of work Saturday against the offensively-challenged Angels. After starting April with three gems, Greene has tossed some ugly lines, including four games where he gave up five or more runs in fewer than five innings.

102.2 - Miles per hour on an Aroldis Chapman fastball that Bryce Harper hit for a single. Per Daren Wilman, this is the hardest pitch in the PITCHfx era for any base hit. This is your typical power versus power, and is a testament to Harper's insane bat speed.

2 - Total bases for Bartolo Colon on his RBI double Sunday afternoon. Colon ripped a gapper against the Marlins David Phelps. This probably would have gone for an inside-the-park home run for many other players, but the sheer entertainment factor cannot be ignored. The Mets went on to win the game 4-3.

45 - Weighted runs created by the Mariners' Nelson Cruz. Seattle has a 194 wRC so far this season, meaning that Cruz has essentially been responsible for nearly a quarter of the team's runs. Although the Mariners were not viewed kindly when they inked the deal with Cruz, he has been fantastic in Seattle and has someone mitigated the slow start of Robinson Cano, who is still stuck on only two  home runs this season.

15 - Minimum amount of days on the disabled list for Nationals flamethrower Stephen Strasburg. He left his start this weekend with some upper neck pain and will spend the next two weeks on the DL. Stras has hardly been himself this year, though his 3.77 xFIP is significantly lower than his 6.55 earned run average. The two weeks off may do Strasburg some good, especially if he can reset and throw a game or two in AAA Syracuse.

64 - Number of NCAA teams that will be vying for a College World Series. Our own Bryan Cole wrote a fantastic preview and I highly recommend checking out some games being broadcast.

What to Watch

Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, June 1

Michael Pineda (NYY) v. Felix Hernandez (SEA)

The battle of two potential Cy Young candidates commences in a must-watch late-night showdown. Since Pineda's May 10th dominant 16 strikeout game against the Orioles he has struck out 13 combined batters in his next three starts. Felix dominated Tampa Bay in his last start throwing a complete game shutout. He threw nearly 75 percent breaking balls, which is the highest of any of his career starts. Although the Yankees are only 1.5 games up on the Mariners, the M's are 6.5 games back in the West while the Yankees are leading a sad pack in the East. I wonder if Jesus Montero will be watching...

Wednesday, June 3

Johnny Cueto (CIN) v. Cole Hamels (PHI)

While not a sexy game from a team standpoint, each of these pitchers are consistently rumored to be involved in trade talks. With the Phillies going nowhere and the Reds seemingly destined for fourth place in the Central, both Walt Jocketty and Ruben Amaro want to see their studs continue to increase their trade value. This is an especially important start for Cueto who has not pitched May 19 due to an elbow injury.

Thursday, June 4

Trevor Bauer (CLE) v. Chris Young (KC)

The chippy Royals face their divisional rivals in one of the small sampling of games on Thursday. The Indians are pitching well and hitting decently, but it's their defense that is preventing them from making any sort of run in the Central. The Royals' Chris Young continues to defy his nearly 5 xFIP with a 1.55 ERA. Considering a near 90 percent strand rate, and a .186 batting average on balls in play and 4.2 home run to fly ball percentage, his performance should turn around pretty quickly.

Friday, June 5

Shane Greene (DET) v. Jose Quintana (CHW)

Shane Greene got slammed in his most recent start and with the continued longball issues suffered by Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers need to start showing some consistency from their starters if they want to be at the same level as the Royals. Quintana has been similarly inconsistent this season. He was a hard luck loser on Saturday giving up only one run in 6.1 innings. He has also had three forgettable starts (of his first ten) where he gave up five or more runs and didn't go past the sixth inning.

Saturday, June 6

Jason Hammel (CHC) v. Jordan Zimmermann (WAS)

The Nationals have continued to tear up the NL throughout May and the Cubs remain competitive and absolutely in the conversation for a wildcard spot. Hammel comes into this week with a 2.98 FIP and 3.01 xFIP. If there was ever a time for JZim to step it up, now would be it. With Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list, the Nationals need Zimmerman to improve on his career worst 10.7 percent K%-BB%.

Saturday, June 6

Jaime Garcia (STL) v. Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

The Cardinals and Dodgers seem to be playing against one another a lot recently. Each team looks primed to win their division even though the Dodgers are still waiting for Kershaw to again be Kershaw-ian. Though he has a pedestrian 3.86 ERA, his xFIP is a respectable 2.13. Expect his 17.6 home run / fly ball rate to come down and give the Cardinals' hitters fits.


Steven Martano is a Featured Writer at Beyond the Box Score and a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano.