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Marty's Musings, June 6th: James Shields traded to White Sox

A ‘big’ name traded to the White Sox, another young Red Sox player delivers, and the year’s first 162-game suspension.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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, the Padres lose a game in pathetic fashion prior to losing their ace, the Mariners finally lose on the road, and a there's a struggling former All Star in Arlington; it's all in this week's Musings.

Numbers

29 - Teams that passed over James Shields, who cleared revocable waivers last August. San Diego traded Shields to the White Sox over the weekend for Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis, Jr. After a blistering-hot start for Chicago, the Sox are feeling pressure from Cleveland, who took over the lead in the AL Central, and Kansas City, who passed them in the standings. The ChiSox are three games behind the Indians.

10 - Runs the Mariners were behind in what was at first a Padres thumping through five innings. San Diego blew the 12-2 lead they had in the sixth inning and lost 16-13 to the Ms, falling victim to the greatest comeback in Seattle history.

7 - Number of at bats it took Mookie Betts to raise his slugging percentage from .480 to .552. Betts was superb in his series against the O's, including hitting a Major League record-tying five home runs in two games. Betts led off Tuesday's game with a home run, hit two more behind it, and hit another pair on Wednesday. Boston and Baltimore split a four-game series and are effectively tied for the American League East lead.

162 - Game suspension for Marlon Byrd, who once again tested positive for PEDs. Enough ink has been spilled on this subject, but this is a weekly catch-up, so there ya go.

7/25/15 - The last time Jake Arrieta took a loss prior to Sunday's 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arrieta went 24 starts without losing, going 20-0 and posting a 1.01 ERA over 169.1 innings during the stretch of dominance. Don't let the ‘win/loss' fool you though; Arrieta displayed his awesomeness in the losing effort by posting a 12:1 K:BB rate and giving up only three runs in six innings (normal for most other pitchers).

190 - Number of plate appearances for Madison Bumgarner to hit 11 home runs ... which is apparently in very good company:

5 - Number of Cubs starters with ERAs under 3.00. The starting pitcher with the highest ERA on the team is John Lackey with a 2.88 figure. The starters are mostly outperforming their FIP, in particular Jason Hammel with a 3.41 FIP to a 2.14 ERA.

1 - Road series loss for the Mariners, who were swept by the Rangers over the weekend. The Ms came into Arlington tied for the division lead but left three games behind Texas.

-1.6 - Current fWAR for Rangers former All Star first baseman Prince Fielder. He is far and away the least valuable player in baseball with Kendrys Morales second worst at -1.1. Fielder has only three homers on the season and a putrid .187/.257/.288 slash line.

What to Watch

Tuesday, June 7

Jacob deGrom (NYM) v. Juan Nicasio (PIT)

Two teams that are currently playing second fiddle in the division go up against one another. The Pirates get to take on deGrom on Tuesday and Noah Syndergaard on Wednesday. deGrom looked good in his last start, striking out 10 White Sox hitters over seven innings. His only mistake was a solo homer. NIcasio meanwhile was strong in his last game against the Cardinals, in which he went six and gave up one run on a solo shot.

Wednesday, June 8

Doug Fister (HOU) v. Yu Darvish (TEX)

The Astros are still trying to dig themselves out of the 7-17 April hole they dug. They have won 10 of their last 12, including three walk-off wins. Houston takes on the first-place Rangers, who are fresh off a three-game sweep of the Mariners. Darvish continues to recover from Tommy John surgery and has yet to get out of the fifth inning, though it's partly by design.

Wednesday, June 8

Max Scherzer (WAS) v. James Shields (CWS)

Shields' first American League matchup happens to come against a National League division leader. He takes on the Nats ace, who is coming off an 11 K, two-run win against the Phillies. Seattle blasted Shields in his last start, tagging him for 10 runs and chasing him out of the game after only 2.2 innings.

Friday, June 10

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. Johnny Cueto (SF)

A west-coast rivalry again heats up as the Dodgers are staring up at the Giants in the standings and throw out the best pitcher in baseball. Kershaw's strikeout to walk ratio stands at a ridiculous 109 to 6. He has fanned 10 or more guys in seven of his 12 starts this year. Cueto meanwhile has been all the Giants had hoped for when they signed him. He has given up two or fewer runs in his last six games and thrown two complete games.

*Matchups determined by pitching probables on Sunday evening and are subject to change

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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.