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.
Although teams played more than half their games prior to the break, we are at the unofficial halfway mark in MLB. There are some unlikely teams contending including the Astros and Royals (surprising depending on who you ask). The two best teams in baseball so far have been the Cardinals and Pirates, and most teams still remain in the conversation. It's all in this week's installment of ‘Marty's Musings'.
Here are this week's ‘Numbers Beyond the Box Score':
Photo Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
34 - Number of wins for the New York Mets when they score at least four runs. Overall, the Mets are 47-42 but they are 34-5 when scoring four runs or more. The Mets have the third worst wRC+, a combined offense that is 14 percent below league average (only the White Sox and Phillies are worse). The Mets have the third best earned run average, and sixth best FIP.
6/13 - Date of the last time Zack Greinke gave up an earned run. It has been five straight games and 35.2 innings of scoreless ball for Greinke who has an ERA- of 38 (meaning his ERA is 62 percent below league average) and 72 FIP-.
10 - Number of sweeps by the Pirates this season. The Buccos are playing .600 baseball and are still in second place to the juggernaut Cardinals. Since Andrew McCutchen broke out of his slump, the Pirates have been red-hot; since June Pittsburgh is 27-11, and just took three out of four from the Cards including two improbable walkoffs.
2 - Inside-the-park home runs in the Royals / Rays game on Wednesday night. Logan Forsythe's home run was the play on which Alex Gordon was injured, and Gordon's replacement Jarrod Dyson hit an inside the parker a few innings later. This is the first time two teams have each hit four-baggers that did not leave the yard since 1997.
216 - wRC+ for Bryce Harper through the first half of the season. The record for a full season is 268 (2002 Barry Bonds), but Harper keeping up this pace would put him in the top 20 of all time.
1 - Number of National League players voted to start the 2014 and 2015 All Star Game. Paul Goldschmidt is the only returning starter from last year's squad and is a testament to the number of stars in the game right now (and also Kansas City tenacity).
What to Watch
Twins Pelotero Miguel Sano; Photo Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
This is the lightest week on Major League Baseball, and it can be a little strange for those of us whose routines include coming home at the end of the day and putting on a game. The Home Run Derby and All Star game provide obvious entertainment options for Monday and Tuesday, but then we're all on our own. Teams will adjust their rotations and with some starters throwing in the All Star game, it makes it fairly impossible to predict starting pitching probables. In any event, here are some suggestions to make the time go by a little easier:
1999 MLB All Star Game - The 1999 All Star Game showcased some of the best players in MLB history. The rosters included the likes of: Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. It took place at historic Fenway Park, and the star of the show was Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez who put on a clinic in the two innings he pitched. Seriously, who puts together a game score of 61 in two innings!
Pelotero - I mentioned this film last week when I referenced Twins rookie, Miguel Sano. I cannot recommend the movie enough. This documentary will give an insider look into the negotiations of Dominican ballplayers and major league teams and will provide some cringe-worthy moments by showing some of the exploitative behavior inherent in baseball's international system.
The Battered Bastards of Baseball - The true story of an independent league baseball team from Portland. This documentary walks through the history of a professional team that went up against MLB affiliates. The film received a 100 percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes, so that says something.
Little Big League - A favorite of Grantland staff writer Jonah Keri, the all star break is a fantastic time to relive some classic fun baseball movies that perhaps came out when you were a kid. Little Big League has a fun premise of a kid who inherits his grandfather's team (the Minnesota Twins) and takes over to manage them.