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 we closed the book on an exciting College World Series, the Mets called up another pitching prospect but continue to struggle, and the Tigers once again rolled past a division rival. There are also some pretty excellent pitching matchups this week, particularly on Tuesday. It's all in this week's installment of 'Marty's Musings'.
Here are this week's ‘Numbers Beyond the Box Score':
Photo Credit: Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
3 - Number of games it took for the underdog University of Virginia Cavaliers to win the College World Series over the tournament darling Vanderbilt University Commodores. Virginia gave up only two runs in the final two games en route to the school's first ever College World Series championship and the first for the Atlantic Coast Conference since Wake Forest won in 1955.
12 - Number of home runs in June for Albert Pujols going into Sunday. The Braves' entire team has 12 home runs this month and the Pirates (13), Mariners, and Indians (14 each) are not much ahead. Pujols' OPS has increased every month this season, and his 229 OPS+ for June comes despite a .232 batted ball average.
119 - Exit velocity on a Giancarlo Stanton home run last week. Stanton has 17 batted balls over 115 miles per hour; the next closest player has three. Stanton's speedy swing did however cause issues over the weekend, as he broke a bone in his hand on a swing and miss Saturday and will miss four to six weeks. Stanton was in pain after whiffing on this pitch:
.406 - Right handed hitters' wOBA against C.C. Sabathia this season. Righties are destroying the soon-to-be 35 year old starter. 16 of the 17 home runs given up by C.C. have been to righties, and only 12.8 percent of batted balls against right handed batters have been classified as soft-hit per Fangraphs.
16.1 - Final tally of no hit innings for Nationals ace Max Scherzer. He was the talk of MLB last week, when he no-hit the Pirates last Sunday and dominated the Phillies on Friday night. Through 16.1 innings he gave up no hits, no runs, one walk, one hit-by-pitch, and 18 strikeouts. Scherzer is likely to start the All Star Game for the National League.
48 - Consecutive innings without a Washington starter giving up a run. While Scherzer has been dominant, his rotation compatriots have followed suit nicely. This streak is second-best in baseball history only to the 1974 Baltimore Orioles, who went 54 innings. The Nats have pitched their way back into first place.
14 - Number of wins for the Indians in their last 49 meetings against the Detroit Tigers over the last three seasons. It seems nothing cures a Detroit slump quite like a series against Cleveland. In 630 career plate appearances against the Tribe, Miguel Cabrera has a .366/.438/.645 slash line with 40 home runs. Both teams are chasing the Royals and Twins, but the Indians currently are not in a race for the wild card slot. The Tigers remain in the conversation despite a slow start to the season.
10 - Runs batted in for Maikel Franco against the Yankees last week. We do not celebrate RBIs on these pages regularly, but considering Franco is the first player in history to record two consecutive five-RBI games against the Yankees, it is a tidbit worth mentioning. Franco has a 153 wRC+ going into Sunday and has been one of the lone bright spots in what is looking to be a forgettable Philadelphia Phillies season with an aged roster that has truly fallen off a cliff.
25-34 - Mets record (entering Sunday) since they were in first place on April 24. The Mets called up another pitching prospect, Steven Matz, and will move to a six-man rotation (again) as they continue to get back on track and challenge the divisional rival Nationals. In 90 innings, Matz struck out 94 Pacific Coast League batters and posted an earned run average of 2.19 and a fielding independent pitching of 3.41.
What to Watch
Tuesday, June 30
Gerrit Cole (PIT) v. Justin Verlander (DET)
An unusual interleague matchup with two teams vying for playoff spots but neither in first place. Gerrit Cole is trying to rebound from his worst start of the year (the only truly bad start so far). Cole had gone six innings each start since May 6 and has a 2.16 ERA and 2.91 xFIP. Verlander is having a rough beginning to an injury-plagued season. In his first two starts he has struck out only four batters in 11.2 innings.
Tuesday, June 30
Danny Duffy (KC) v. Dallas Keuchel (HOU)
Keuchel shut down the Yankees in his last start, going the distance in a shutout, striking out twelve, and giving up six hits and one walk. He has a 2.17 earned run average and 2.87 xFIP. The Royals meanwhile remain in first place 4.5 games ahead of the second-place Twins entering Sunday. This battle of divisional leaders is mostly unexpected and speaks to the parity baseball has tried so hard to instill in recent years.
Tuesday, June 30
Chris Sale (CHW) v. Lance Lynn (STL)
Another Tuesday pitching gem pits White Sox ace Chris Sale -- one of the best pitchers in the American League -- against the Cardinals' Lance Lynn. In Lynn's last three starts he has given up only two earned runs. The Cardinals have been steamrolling the Central with a .676 winning percentage. Meanwhile, Sale has been excellent for the White Sox, who are dwelling in the basement of the American League Central. Sale is very likely the front-runner to start the All Star Game for the AL.
Wednesday, July 1
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) v. Matt Moore (TB)
Matt Moore makes his season debut after having Tommy John Surgery. The Rays are vying back and forth with the Yankees for first place in the American League East. Carlos Carrasco went eight innings and gave up only two runs against the Tigers in his last outing. Cleveland is struggling to stay above water and continue to fall further behind in the playoff race.
Thursday, July 2
Jake Arrieta (CHC) v. Jacob deGrom (NYM)
deGrom is making a case as the best pitcher in New York and has an earned run average 41 percent lower than league average. He has 100 strikeouts over 100 innings and a 5.56 strikeout per walk ratio. Through 100 innings Jake Arrieta has a 2.94 earned run average, a 2.83 fielding independent pitching, and a 2.81 xFIP.
Friday, July 3
Chris Archer (TB) v. Nathan Eovaldi (NYY)
A holiday weekend battle between division rivals. Chris Archer has been a top American League starter and is a candidate for starting the All Star Game. Archer's 2.53 SIERA is second only to Chris Sale in the AL. Eovaldi meanwhile continues to struggle as he tries to harness his raw stuff into more strikeouts. He has yet to strike out ten in one game but is coming off two quality starts after not making it out of the first inning against the Marlins on June 16.
Friday, July 3 & Saturday, July 4
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) v. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) - Friday
Matt Harvey (NYM) v. Zack Greinke (LAD) - Saturday
The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball, and it will be fun to see their potent lineup go up against the Mets' young starters. The Mets continue to struggle at the plate and get no favors out of their west coast road trip when they go up against Kershaw and Greinke.