Welcome to ‘Marty's Musings', my weekly column of numbers 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, identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.
In this week's edition, two Chicago teams continued to steamroll through divisional foes, and Bartolo Colon set a record on the mound and at the plate. It was quite a week in MLB and it's all in this week's Musings.
1 - Career home runs for 42-year-old former Expo Bartolo Colon. Saturday night in an at bat against former ‘Ace' James Shields, Colon crushed one deep to left field for his first career home. The event took twitter by storm, which has always lent itself to amusing Colon commentary. Colon becomes the last former Expo to hit a homer in the majors and the oldest player to hit his first home run ever, passing Randy Johnson who did it when he was 40.
221 - Colon not only made some history at the plate, but he passed Pedro Martinez in becoming the second-winningest pitcher of Dominican descent behind Juan Marichal. Sure, wins are fraudulent in many respects, but the success Colon has had in the majors is worth celebrating.
5/5/16 - The first date in MLB history where four first place teams played in the same city on the same day. With the first place NL East Nationals visiting the NL Central leading Cubs on the North Side, and the AL Central leading White Sox playing host to the AL East leading Boston Red Sox on the South Side, there was plenty of good baseball to go around Chicago last week. The Red Sox took two of three from the White Sox, while the Cubs swept the four-game series against DC.
20-5 - The combined three-game series score in which the Cubs clobbered the Pirates in the Steel City last week. The Pirates are rapidly becoming the ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride' in the Central, having finished behind the Cardinals the last couple years and looking to be a distant second in talent to the Cubs this year. They looked thoroughly outmatched in nearly all aspects of the three-game set against the Cubbies. Chicago totally shut down Pittsburgh, who to that point had been one of the most productive teams at the dish.
17 - Number of players with more total home runs than the 2016 Atlanta Braves. Atlanta has only seven total home runs through 30 games. Some players who have more longballs so far this year include some obvious names such as: Nolan Arenado (12), Bryce Harper (10), and Giancarlo Stanton (10), as well as some less-obvious players including Chris Carter (10), Neil Walker (9), and Marcus Semien (8).
512 - Career home runs for David Ortiz, who moves into 22nd on the all time list, tied with Ernie Banks and Eddie Matthews. He added two to his total in a Sunday night showdown in the Bronx. Ortiz is hitting .308/.393/.673 with nine home runs. It's hard to believe Papi will be hanging up the cleats at the end of the year when he's sustaining this type of production.
6 - Walks for Bryce Harper in Chicago on Sunday in a 13-inning losing effort. Harper set an MLB record walking 13 times in the four-game set in Chicago. His last twelve plate appearances of the series consisted of a sac fly, a hit-by-pitch, and ten walks ------ a total of zero at bats. On Sunday afternoon, Harper got on base seven times without ever having to swing the bat (six walks and one HBP, yet another MLB record).
What to Watch
Wednesday, May 11
Marcus Stroman (TOR) v. Madison Bumgarner (SF)
It's not often we see the Blue Jays playing in San Francisco, and we get a solid matchup with Stroman v. Bumgarner. Stroman still is not getting the strikeouts we've come to expect (he's at only a 6.48 K/9), though Bumgarner's 11.51 K/9 should present some fireworks against a tough Toronto lineup that has underachieved so far in 2016.
Thursday, May 12
Bartolo Colon (NYM) v. Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
Kershaw has been completely dominant so far in 2016 and takes on a potent Mets lineup. With Bartolo Colon toeing the rubber against Kershaw, this has the makings to be an entertaining late night game.
Friday, May 13
Chris Sale (CWS) v. Luis Severino (NYY)
The Yankees are having trouble scoring runs, and Chris Sale is about as stingy as it gets when it comes to allowing them. Sale has struck out 47 through 50.1 innings and has been one of the best pitchers in the American League to date. Luis Severino tries to rebound from a Sunday night loss against the Red Sox in which he allowed multiple home runs that sank the Yanks.
Saturday, May 14
Gerrit Cole (PIT) v. Jake Arrieta (CHC)
The Pirates are looking to get their revenge on the North Side next weekend after being thoroughly embarrassed at home against Chicago last week. Pittsburgh looked to be significantly behind the Cubbies, and it will take an impressive start by Cole to serve up a victory against one of the National League's best pitchers.
*Matchups determined by pitching probables on Sunday evening and are subject to change
Ed's Note: An earlier edition stated Bartolo Colon was the 'winningest' Dominican pitcher in MLB history; he is second to Juan Marichal.
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