Welcome to ‘Marty's Musings', my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball and looking forward to this week. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the previous week in MLB and previewing some of the coming week's key matchups, identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.
In this week's edition, the 2016 Red Sox distinguish themselves from last year's last place squad, Yu Darvish made his return, and bullpens across the majors struggle to close out games; it's all in this week's Musings.
16 - Wins in the month of May for the Boston Red Sox. Boston has scored 51 first inning runs, and Xander Bogaerts is in the middle of a 23 game hitting streak. Jackie Bradley Jr., ended a 29 game streak last week.
1913 - The last time a starting pitcher threw a complete game shutout and faced 30 or fewer batters three times in a month. Kershaw, who also struck out ten in seven and two-thirds innings against the Mets on Sunday, has a 105:5 strikeout to walk ratio with one hit batsman.
1,343 - Days between the Orioles' Dylan Bundy's debut and his first major league win. It's been an injury-ridden struggle for the O's former top prospect, and he's been relegated to the Baltimore bullpen.
7/2/13 - The last time the Indians were in first place prior to them moving into the Central's top spot on Saturday. The White Sox continued their slide by getting shutout by the Mets on Monday for their sixth straight loss.
10 - Blown saves on the year for those White Sox, who were swept by the Royals in a three-game set last weekend. Chicago blew a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning on Sunday, a 7-1 ninth inning lead Saturday, and a 5-2 seventh inning lead on Friday night.
2008 - The last time Clay Buchholz appeared in relief for the Red Sox. He had his first relief outing on Sunday in which he shut out the Blue Jays for one inning of an 11 inning affair.
15 - Straight Stephen Strasburg starts won by the Washington Nationals, a Nationals/Expos franchise record. He still has quite a bit to go to catch Jake Arrieta, who is in the middle of a 23-game streak of Cubbies wins.
1 - Number of times that the Toronto Blue Jays had two homegrown Canadian players home run in the same game. Michael Saunders and Russell Martin made history Wednesday night.
91.56 - Average velocity of Noah Syndergaard's slider. Going into his last start on Saturday, 49 qualified starters had average fastballs slower than Thor's secondary offering. It was an abbreviated outing because he was thrown out of the game in the third inning for throwing behind the Dodgers Chase Utley.
What to Watch
Tuesday, May 31
Gerrit Cole (PIT) v. Jose Fernandez (MIA)
Two of the game's premier young starters go up against one another in MIami on Tuesday night. In his last four starts, Cole has thrown 26 innings, given up three runs and struck out 19, but Fernandez' last four starts have been dominant: 27 innings, three runs and 43 (!) strikeouts.
Tuesday, May 31
Scott Kazmir (LAD) v. Jake Arrieta (CHC)
The Cubs are 34-14 and have won 18 games by five runs or more. They continue to blow the door off most of their opponents and take on the Dodgers early in the week. Jake Arrieta might need the help; he gave up four earned runs in his last start, the first time he's given up more than three since last June.
Wednesday, June 1
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) v. Anibal Sanchez (TOR)
The Yankees and Jays have struggled through two months and face off against one another this week. Tanaka has been one of the only consistent pitchers the Yankees have thrown, while the Jays are trying to take advantage of the weekend's series win against the division-leading Red Sox.
Thursday, June 2
Zack Greinke (ARI) v. Dallas Keuchel (HOU)
Both Greinke and Keuchel have been disappointments this year, though their underlying numbers suggest bad luck has been involved too. Keuchel is coming off a Cy Young year and has lost velocity, but his FIP- is right around league average (98) despite a 136 ERA-. Grienke has also been inconsistent, though his peripheral numbers are similar to Keuchel. Despite a 112 ERA-, he has a 91 FIP-.
Friday, June 3
Taijuan Walker (SEA) v. Yu Darvish (TEX)
The Rangers caught the Mariners over the weekend, and are in an essential tie at the top of the AL West. Darvish was masterful in his short(ish) five inning start coming off Tommy John Surgery. He goes up against Walker, who has been inconsistent this year and in his most recent start got roughed up by the Twins for five earned runs and three gopher balls in 4.1 innings.
*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