Welcome to ‘Marty's Musings', my weekly column summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball and looking forward to this week's key matchups. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the previous week in MLB and previewing some of this week's key matchups, while identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.
80 - Games suspensed for now-disgraced Miami second baseman Dee Gordon. The news that the 28-year-old, 150 pounds soaking wet infielder had tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs surprised the baseball world last week. The Marlins don't seem to be going anywhere this season, but when a high-profile player is nailed for PEDs, people notice. The system appears to be working, but these conversations are never fun. Onto more relevant news!
31 - Home runs for the Mets in their last 15 games. New York had an 8-game winning streak stopped by Madison Bumgarner in a soaking wet affair in Queens on Sunday. The Mets are firing on all cylinders and put up a 12-run spot in the third inning against the Giants on Friday night (a franchise record for runs scored in an inning).
0 - Teams in the National League West with a winning record going into May. Because of wins by the Rockies, Giants, and Dodgers on Sunday, those three teams are exactly at .500 (all with different records) but no team has separated itself from the pack. Even the lowly 9-16 Padres are only 3.5 games out of first place.
95 - Game score for Clayton Kershaw against the aforementioned lowly Padres in a stunningly beautiful performance on Sunday. The Dodgers ace threw a complete game shutout in which he struck out 14 batters while walking zero.
52.2 - Consecutive scoreless innings thrown by Jake Arrieta at Wrigley Field. The streak came to an end in the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers last Thursday. The scoreless streak is the longest in Wrigley's storied history. He wasn't his dominant self, but Arrieta still managed to pitch well giving up one run in five innings.
10.4 - Strikeouts per nine innings for the Philadelphia Phillies through April ------ an MLB record for a month's strikeout ratios. The previous mark belonged to the 2013 Red Sox who posted a 9.935 K/9. The Phillies currently sit at 15-10, a stone's throw away from the first place Nationals whom Philly swept in a three-game-set last week.
2013 - The last time the Royals were shutout in back-to-back games prior to Friday and Saturday's series start with the Seattle Mariners. The Royals went 27 consecutive innings without a run but broke out of the streak in the second inning on Sunday en route to a 4-1 victory against Seattle.
What to Watch
Tuesday, May 3
Stephen Wright (BOS) v. Jose Quintana (CHW)
Jose Quintana trails only the Mets' Noah Syndergaard and Nats' Stephen Strasburg in pitcher fWAR and has been a great number two to Chris Sale. The White Sox currently have the best record in the game, at 18-8 and take on Steven Wright, Boston's knuckleballer. Wright has 25 strikeouts in 26 innings and has only allowed one home run; his ERA stands at 1.37 though he has a 3.24 FIP.
Wednesday, May 4
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) v. Kris Medlen (KC)
Strasburg has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. He has a 2.25 ERA, 1.86 FIP and is currently carrying a 10.00 strikeout per nine rate. He goes up against the contact-happy Royals who are sitting in the middle of the pack in the AL Central with a mediocre 13-11 record.
Friday, May 6
Max Scherzer (WAS) v. Jon Lester (CHC)
A battle of two divisional leaders headlined by two veteran starters. Scherzer finally hit his stride on Sunday, with a seven inning, no run, no walk, nine strikeout performance against the Cardinals.
Saturday, May 7
David Price (BOS) v. Nathan Eovaldi (NYY)
A rematch of the entertaining matchup Sunday night, both starters hope to get back into the groove after underwhelming starting pitching performances by both pitchers last weekend. David Price's disappointing start in Boston better change quickly or else he'll be entering the summer chasing the boo-birds away in Fenway. Eovaldi remains one of the better ‘pure stuff' pitchers in the game who simply cannot put it all together in New York.
Sunday, May 8
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. Marco Estrada (TOR)
Kershaw has been masterful this season and goes up against one of the most potent offenses in the game. When the league's best pitcher takes on Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnacion, it's time to set aside some time and watch.
*Matchups determined by pitching probables on Sunday evening 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