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.
We only had three full days of games this past week, but the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby provided some early week entertainment. This weekend saw some ugly offensive ineptitude in the Mets / Cardinals games, the Dodgers have two aces, and the Astros continue to improve by leaps and bounds in comparison to year’s past.
Here are this week's Numbers Beyond the Box Score:
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
39 - Home runs launched at Great American Ballpark by Todd Frazier, during Monday night's home run derby. The new one-on-one format was a hit, and despite some rain earlier in the day, this year's Derby was one of the most popular in recent memory. Hometown hero Frazier beat out Joc Pederson in the final round 15-14 and launched some bombs to take home the crown. Frazier is on pace for 40 home runs and 40 doubles; he would be the first Reds' player to ever have a 40/40 season.
5 - Number of hits for Mike Trout in the last four All-Star games. Trout has an All-Star Game cycle, hitting a single as a reserve in the 2012 game, a double in 2013, a triple in the first inning last year, and a leadoff home run on Tuesday night. Trout helped lead the American League to a 6-3 victory.
28 - Batters in a row retired by Zack Greinke for a "hidden perfect game" between his start on July 9 and Sunday afternoon. Greinke extended his scoreless innings streak to 43 ⅔ innings, the longest streak since Orel Hershiser threw 59 shutout innings, setting the Major League record in 1988.
2 - Number of times Billy Hamilton has been thrown out trying to steal a base against the Cleveland Indians. Hamilton is 44 for 49 against all other teams but just 1-3 against the Indians.
5 - Number of Cardinals starters with earned run averages under three. John Lackey (2.90), Michael Wacha (2.93), Carlos Martinez (2.52), Lance Lynn (2.79) and Jaime Garcia (1.69; he is returning from the disabled list next week) have been excellent. Lackey's 3.50 and Martinez 3.45 FIPs point to some regression, but the Cardinals still lead the Pirates in the NL Central.
51 - Wins for the Houston Astros through 94 games. The 2013 Astros had 51 wins the entire season. Though they ceded the American League West lead to the Angels, this season continues to be a success as Houston is contending for a playoff spot for the first time in years.
39 - Combined men left on base for the Cardinals and Mets in Sunday's 19 inning marathon. The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the 13th inning but Jeurys Familia coughed up a game-tying solo shot to Kolten Wong. The Mets ended up winning in the 19th inning 3-1.
What to Watch
Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Rejoice, rejoice, we have a full slate of games this week! Last week was a bit tough, what with only a few baseball events, but the weekend was great and primed us for some fantastic second half action. While we await various hug-watches (players being hugged in the dugouts when they get pulled from games due to trades) here are some match-ups to keep us all entertained:
Monday, July 20
Matt Harvey (NYM) v. Gio Gonzalez (WAS)
The Mets are probably hoping Harvey tosses at least seven or eight innings after they depleted their bullpen against the Cardinals on Sunday. The Mets sit just two games behind division leading Washington. Bryce Harper continues to mash; he has a 216 wRC+. The Nationals have a stretch against tough pitchers facing the Mets and Pirates this week.
Tuesday, July 21
Gerrit Cole (PIT) v. Yordano Ventura (KC)
Gerrit Cole's 117 innings is rapidly approaching his 138 total from last year, but he continues to baffle opposing hitters. Cole has an ERA nearly 40 percent better than league average (63 ERA-) and a FIP 25 percent better than league average (75). Ventura will try to shut down a Pirates squad that just got swept by the Brewers after coming off a red hot finish to the second half in which they won multiple exhilarating games against the Cards
Thursday, July 23
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. Bartolo Colon (NYM)
Kershaw was utterly dominant in his last start against the Nationals. He outdueled Max Scherzer by going eight innings and striking out 14 walking zero. Kershaw combined with Zack Grienke for 18 innings, zero runs, 25 strikeouts, six hits and only one walk. Bartolo Colon got smacked around in his start over the weekend but the 42 year old has a league average FIP and xFIP. It'll be worth it to see him go up against Kershaw's ‘public enemy number one'.
Saturday, July 25
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) v. Danny Duffy (KC)
Keuchel has emerged as a premier pitcher this season and is trying to keep the Astros in the American League West race. In his last four starts he has only given up six runs and his 2.81 FIP is 15th in the majors. Kansas City meanwhile continues to roll. The Royals have a six-game lead over Minnesota, and the Tigers fell to under .500 for the first time in over two years. Duffy will go up against a boom-or-bust Astros lineup that leads the league in both home runs and strikeout rate.
Saturday, July 25
Cole Hamels (PHI) v. Jake Arrieta (CHC)
Hamels got roughed up in his most recent outing against the Marlins but trade rumors continue to percolate. Despite a three-inning five-run outing, Hamels ERA barely moved, and he currently has a 3.63 ERA and 3.21 xFIP. Arrieta has been even better so far in 2015, with a 2.66 ERA and a 2.71 xFIP. The Cubs are chasing the Cardinals and Pirates, and remain in the wild card conversation.