Welcome to another 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.
This week, the first place Mets got no-hit at home while Paul Goldschmidt continues to press on as one of the most underrated players in the majors. Albert Pujols continued to move up baseball's all time home runs list and the White Sox ace continues to mystify hitters; it's this week's installment of Marty's Musings.
Here are this week's Numbers Beyond the Box Score:
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
98 - Game score for Chris Heston in his no-hit game against the Mets on Monday night. It was only Heston's 13th Major League start on Tuesday night in Queens. It was the first no-no of the year and the first in MLB since Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter the last day of the 2014 season. The Mets were called out looking on three strikes three times in the ninth and Heston ultimately finished the game with 110 pitches, 11 strikeouts and no walks. He showed a bit of erratic control, hitting three Mets' batters but otherwise dominated the outing.
.355 - Current batting average for Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, who leads the league in average and is in the top ten for home runs with 17. Goldschmidt should be in the mid-season Most Valuable Player discussion but often gets overlooked because he is rostered on an otherwise forgetful Arizona lineup. He is hitting 97 percent better than league average with a 197 wRC+, only trailing Bryce Harper's otherworldy 220 wRC+.
6 - Number of games this season Chris Sale has ten or more strikeouts. He has double digit Ks in all of his starts since May 23 and dominated hitters in his recent gems. Although he lost to the Rays on Sunday, he still managed to strike out 12 through 6.2 innings. It doesn't look like the White Sox have the personnel for a playoff run, but Sale's starts continue to be must-see tv.
537 - Career home runs for Albert Pujols, who passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time list. Pujols has a .237 batting average on balls in play yet still has been 46 percent better than league average at the dish, with a .271/.320/.546 slash line. The Angels continue to hover around .500 and have not been able to put together a solid stretch of games to catch up with the Astros who have only one two of their last ten, but at least are getting some solid production from their expensive first baseman.
1 - Number of Major League pitchers faced by Bryce Harper who are younger than him. Against the Yankees, Harper flied to left field in his only ever Major League at bat against 22-year-old Jacob Lindgren. Harper has been the best hitter in the game this season and his his career has logged over 1700 plate appearances before being the elder in a batter / pitcher matchup.
12 - Straight victories for the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays finished a sweep of the Red Sox who haven't won a game since sweeping the Oakland Athletics last weekend. The Jays are primed to make a run in a wide-open AL East and have the best run differential in the AL by a longshot. Toronto came back after being down 8-1 in Boston and Saturday. Per Jayson Stark and ESPN's Stats and Info, the Jays have won three games in the last three years after trailing by more than seven runs, while the rest of MLB is 2-885.
1.89 - Earned run average for the Pittsburgh Pirates' A.J. Burnett. Burnett pitched nine shutout innings against the Phillies on Sunday. He received a no decision as the Pirates' offense was equally hampered by Cole Hamels. The Buccos did managed a 1-0 extra innings victory but still trail the Cardinals who continue to play at a torrid .660 pace.
What to Watch
Wednesday, June 17
David Price (DET) v. Johnny Cueto (CIN)
The Royals and Twins remain steadily ahead of the Tigers, but David Price has been exactly what the Tigers need. Price is in the top five in pitcher fWAR with 2.4 wins above replacement and managed to go the distance in a complete game shutout against the Indians on Friday. Cueto continues to be rumored as part of a mid-season deal and with every showing will hope to enhance his trade value.
Wednesday, June 17
Madison Bumgarner (SF) v. Felix Hernandez (SEA)
Hernandez had the worst starts of his career on Saturday, when he gave up eight runs and obtained only one out against the first place Astros. He has struck out 82 batters in as many innings, but will look for a nice game against the Giants to shake off the battering he took over the weekend. Madison Bumgarner meanwhile continues to anchor a San Francisco staff that has the team within a few games of the divisional rival Dodgers.
Thursday, June 18
Chris Archer (TB) v. Joe Ross (WAS)
Archer has been having a Cy Young-esque season in 2015. Since walking four batters in his May 22nd start, Archer has a 43:1 strikeout to walk rate. The Rays are in a statistical tie with the Yankees atop the East, and hope to keep rolling against the cream of the National League crop. Joe Ross, who started the year in double A, is scheduled to get the nod for the Nationals. In 13 innings so far this season he has struck out 12 and only walked one.
Thursday, June 18
Gerrit Cole (PIT) v. Jeff Samardzija (CHW)
Cole has been fantastic in his recent starts and should be in the discussion to start the All-Star game. He has yet to give up more than three earned runs in any start this season and has not gone fewer than six innings in a game since May 6. The White Sox are on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Pirates; instead of chasing for the division, they may be forced to sell off some pieces and look more towards the future....considering Shark is a free agent at the end of the year, he may be at the top of the list.
Friday, June 19
A.J. Burnett (PIT) v. (STL) v. Max Scherzer (WAS)
Burnett is having quite the swan-song in his second stint as a PIrate, and he is well on his way to his first All-Star game of his career. It would not be a surprise at all if Max Scherzer were the National League starter, as he's been just as good as Burnett. Scherzer threw a one-hit complete game shutout on Sunday and is only the second pitcher in three years to put up a game score over 100. The Pirates are trying to keep pace with the Cardinals while the Nats continue to stay even with the New York Mets in the East.
Friday, June 19
Nate Karns (TB) v. Corey Kluber (CLE)Kluber got off to a rough April but has been unreal in his most recent starts. Although he only went five innings on Sunday against the Tigers, he still has been worth about three Wins for the Indians. Nate Karns is tasked with toeing the rubber for the Rays who continue to stay relevant despite dealing with the injury bug.