Welcome to ‘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.
The season has commenced, and it did not take long to set some new and exciting records. Let's get to the bottom of an excellent week in baseball.
7 - Home runs in six games for Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. Story’s meteoric rise to the majors has come with the loudest of bursts. Story is the only player in baseball history to hit home runs in his first three games, and with a two home run game Opening Day, he hit four in three days. This was before he played one game at Coors Field. Always something new to see here, folks!
146 - Apex in feet of Giancarlo Stanton’s first home run of the season. Stanton absolutely crushed a 75 MPH Justin Verlander curveball, hitting it deep into the night. Per Hit Tracker, his homer was 17 feet higher than any other home run to date.
95 - Miles per hour of Noah Syndergaard’s last SLIDER of the afternoon. Syndergaard averaged 91.7 MPH on his slider, which is faster than more than half of MLB pitchers’ fastballs up to that point in the young season. His four-seam fastball averaged 98.2 MPH and got up to over 100 on one pitch.
6/21/15 - The last time Blue Jays reliever Brett Cecil gave up an earned run prior to giving up two earned runs to the Rays on Tuesday. Cecil had not given up a home run since June 10th but surrendered one to Logan Forsythe en route to blowing his first save of the season.
1 - Hit allowed by the Seattle Mariners on their way to a loss in their season opener against the Rangers. Felix Hernandez struck out six through six innings and gave up only one hit, but by walking five and being the victim of key fielding miscues the Mariners lost the game 3-2. Last season gave us only one game in which the winning team had one hit; it didn’t take long to get there in 2016.
7 - Innings pitched by Clayton Kershaw when he took the hill for the first time this season. Kershaw had as many hits at the plate (one) as he gave up against a putrid Padres offense (more on this in a second). Amazingly, Kershaw’s changeup looks like it has improved, meaning his arsenal of pitches can potentially be stronger than it has been in the past.
0 - Runs scored by the aforementioned Padres in their first series of the year. In three games against the Dodgers, the Pads managed only 11 hits to Los Angeles’ 25 runs. San Diego set an unflattering MLB record, starting the season with an uninspiring 30 consecutive scoreless innings before exploding against the Rockies.
28 - Consecutive shutout innings against the New York Yankees for Dallas Keuchel, whose streak came to an end in the second inning of Opening Day. Starlin Castro doubled off him in the second, but it was the only blemish on Keuchel, who despite walking four and giving up three hits managed to lock it down and secure the victory for the Astros.
What to Watch
There will be contests aplenty between young and talented rising stars this week. Here’s a few to keep an eye on.
Tuesday, April 12
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) vs. Jose Fernandez (MIA)
Fire against fire. Movement against movement. Youth against youth. In terms of pitching duels, this one’s got everything one could possibly want. The two young right-handers will also be dealing with a slew of dangerous hitters including Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, Michael Conforto, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon. As the kids say, it will be lit.
Wednesday, April 13
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) vs. Drew Smyly (TBR)
Carrasco and Smyly both broke out in big ways over the last year and a half. A throwdown between the two of them and their intriguing but not overwhelming offenses should make for some good television. Don’t be shocked if Smyly manages to outlast the Cleveland strikeout artist.
Thursday, April 14
Marcus Stroman (TOR) vs. Luis Severino (NYY)
Now that’s the stuff. Stroman is as cool as the other side of the pillow and also happens to be rather talented when it comes to pitching. Severino went gangbusters on the AL when he came up last year, and though the Tigers roughed him up a bit, he’s got his feet wet for 2016 now. The two undersized righties will match up in an early battle for AL East supremacy.
*Matchups determined by pitching probables earlier in the week and are subject to change.
Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row, and a contributing writer for The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano.