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.
Once again the Mets are in the news, and it's Bartolo Colon who is getting the good press, while Matt Harvey is on the bad end. Rick Porcello seems rejuvenated, and we saw a fun triple play by one of the best hitters in the game.
It's all in this week's Musings.
Here are this week's numbers ‘Beyond the Box Score':
Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
180 - Innings cap for Mets' starter Matt Harvey...maybe. The Mets and Harvey had a bit of a tiff over the weekend as the Tommy John survivor heavily implied he has a hard innings limit, only to back off the statement a day later. The Mets are still in the midst of a pennant race (the Nats are only a handful of games behind, and they play the Mets head-to-head this week). Regardless of how this ends, the NY media should have plenty of stories to feast on until playoff time.
42 - Years of age for Mets' Bartolo Colon who became the first 42-year-old pitcher to throw a shutout for a New York team since...Tommy John. Of course. Bartolo has tossed three straight gems of seven innings / zero runs; he joins Doc Gooden (1985) and R.A. Dickey (2012) as the only Mets to accomplish the feat.
12 - Straight seasons the American League has won the interleague series against the NL. Boston's victory over Philadelphia last week sealed the deal for the AL. It's an interesting streak but is more meaningful when you consider the National League teams throw a utility players into the lineup as their designated hitter. Until the DH is either abandoned (highly unlikely) or adopted in the other league (quite possible in the next CBA) we can expect the AL to retain the advantage.
1 - Triple play ever hit into by an Arizona Diamondback. Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is one of the best players in the league: Even when he makes outs, they go down in the history books! The nonchalant play put the DBacks into the record books, as they were the only active team left in the majors that never hit into a tripler.
3 - Pitchers who have ever struck out 13 or more Yankees. Rick Porcello added himself to the elite pairing of Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens with his eight-inning, 13-strikeout performance against NY on September 1. Porcello looks rejuvenated since rediscovering his two-seamer (what a surprise) and since coming off the disabled list has 18 Ks and only one walk in 15 innings.
1931 - The last time two teammates hit ten home runs and drove in 35 runs in one month. Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson joined two guys you may have heard of: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. It seems there is no stopping the potent Jays offense (offence?).
What to Watch
Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
Rosters expanded last week, and we're in the heat of several pennant races. A bunch of pitchers may have some innings caps, but most impactful pitchers will be on the mound this week. Due to the imbalanced schedule, most of September's games are interdivisional games, so we should be in for a wild ride.
Monday, September 7
Chris Sale (CHW) v. Trevor Bauer (CLE)
Chris Sale has a 6.2 fWAR and has a 2.32 FIP and 2.50 xFIP. He's a contender for American League Cy Young, and in three of his last four starts he struck out at least ten batters. If Sale strikes out another 12 batsmen, he'll be the first White Sox pitcher to hit the 250 count since 1912, when Ed Walsh K'd 254 (it took him nearly 400 innings). Though it's been a rough years for the Indians, Trevor Bauer has been hot and cold this season, and Cleveland is waiting for their young star to emerge.
Monday, September 7
Dan Haren (CHC) v. Lance Lynn (STL)
The Cubs have the third best record in the National League and are stuck in third place behind the Cards and Pirates. The Cardinals brought into September an 85-46 record, the eleventh-best record through August in MLB history. Lance Lynn shut down the Giants through seven shutout innings in his last outing.
Tuesday, September 8
Matt Harvey (NYM) v. Jordan Zimmermann (WAS)
The Nats cut the Mets' NL East lead to four games last week and take on the Mets at home in an integral-three game set. Matt Harvey is probably thrilled this game isn't at home. Despite the drama, Harvey pitched excellently in August, giving up only one earned run across 27 innings. He stumbled a bit in his last outing but is looking to get back on track against the Nats.
Thursday, September 10
David Price (TOR) v. Luis Severino (NYY)
Veteran David Price seems to have truly enjoyed his move to Toronto and has helped them pass the Yankees in the American League East. Since joining the Jays he has a .199 batting average against in just over 50 innings. Severino has a 2.04 ERA in 35.1 innings and the Yankees are hoping he can help pitch them back into first place.
Thursday, September 10
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) v. Shelby Miller (ATL)
The Braves look like they're completely given up on the season (their second-half run differential puts them at an expected winning percentage around .250). Meanwhile, Syndergaard has been throwing gas for NY. He has thrown 1208 pitches over 95 MPH...six teams haven't throw that many fireballs. Even better, Syndergaard wasn't called up to the majors until May.
Friday, September 11
Wily Peralta (MIL) v. Gerrit Cole (PIT)
The Pirates have struggled mightily against the lowly Brewers; they were swept in Milwaukee last week. If they have any hope of catching the Cardinals, they'll need a series win this weekend. Gerrit Cole got slapped around by the Brew Crew last time out and is seeking a rebound.
*All matchups and pitching probables as of Sunday evening