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, James Shields gets booed off the mound on the South Side, the Royals stumble and relinquish their division lead, and the Rangers take control in the American League West; it's all in this week's Musings.
23 - Years of age for Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts who is in a virtual tie with Mike Trout for the best positional player fWAR in baseball. Bogaerts came into Sunday generating 3.7 wins for Boston, with Trout behind him by only .1. Both are in the rearview mirror of Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who leads MLB with a 4.6 fWAR.
16 - Batters faced in James Shields' White Sox debut against the Nationals. Of the 16 batters, he retired only six, giving up seven runs on eight hits, including three home runs. Washington had a 6-0 lead in the second inning that they would never come close to relinquishing.
1 - Game over .500 for the Yankees who hit the mark on Friday before losing the last two games of their series against the Tigers. The Yankees are 5.5 games out of first place and although they made the Angels look silly in a four-game sweep, they lost their next series against Detroit. The Yankees struggling offense finally got a boost when Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer last Monday ---- the team's first three-run dinger since April 7th.
8 - First basemen so far for the Yankees this season. Granted, Brian McCann and Alex Rodriguez have both put in limited time away from the catcher / designated hitter spots, respectively, but with Chris Parmelee following Mark Teixeira, and Dustin Ackley to the infirmary, New York signed Ike Davis as their next re-enforcement.
1:1 - Draft position for Mickey Moniak who was selected by the Phillies in last Thursday night's MLB draft. In a year where there did not appear to be a consensus number one, Philly took Moniak out of La Costa Covern High School in Carlsberg, California. It was the Phils' first #1 overall pick since they selected Pat Burrell in 1998.
18 - Stolen bases in Jackie Bradley's career. He has never been caught swiping a bag, not once. Last Tuesday Bradley added number 18 against the Giants as Boston split a two-game series by the bay. The Sox are tied with Baltimore atop the AL East.
260 - Plate appearances by Bartolo Colon, who has never once walked in his major league career. Colon set the record in his start last week. Corinne Landrey did the subject fantastic justice last week in a post for FanGraphs.
11 - Straight series wins for the Rangers who took two out of three in Seattle. Texas leads the second-place Mariners by five games in the West and still have yet to get Yu Darvish to give them a full-strength start.
8 - Game winning streak for the Rangers against the Astros prior to Houston salvaging the last game of a three-game set last week.
7 - Consecutive games without scoring more than one run for the Royals. Kansas City was briefly in first place but was overtaken by the Indians after losing eight in a row.
What to Watch
Monday, June 13
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) v. Max Scherzer (WAS)
Two divisional leaders square off with the Nats tossing out their ace against the rejuvenated Hendricks. Scherzer was virtually ignored in his last start because he was the counterpart to Shields, but Max went seven shutout innings and allowed only five hits. Hendricks has been excellent for the Cubs and has a 75 FIP- and a 71 ERA-.
Tuesday, June 14
Chris Tillman (BAL) v. David Price (BOS)
Baltimore and Boston are in a dead heat for the lead in the American League East. Tillman has easily been the best pitcher on a Baltimore team that must slug their way to wins. Tillman is outperforming his numbers however, as his ERA is 29 percent better than league average on a 10 percent better FIP. Price has showed moments of brilliance in Boston but is still suffering from the long ball. He has already given up 10 home runs.
Thursday, June 16
Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) v. Blake Snell (TB)
It's veteran v. rookie in this battle in Tampa. Snell came up last month for a spot start in which he gave up one run over five innings against the Yankees. The Ms are 3-7 in their last 10 and lost their division lead to the Rangers. They look to get back on track against the basement-dwelling Rays.
Saturday, June 18
Yu Darvish (TEX) v. Carlos Martinez (STL)
A 2011 World Series rematch in an unusual interleague matchup. Darvish has had a rollercoaster return and left his last start with shoulder discomfort, but it's expected he'll return next weekend. The Cardinals, usually the team being chased in the NL Central, find themselves looking up at the Cubs, who have run away with the division and currently possess a nine-game lead.
*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