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Marty's Musings: All-Star Game edition

It’s the unofficial end of the first half and we had a wild week leading up to the All-Star Game.

Jonathan Dyer-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 Cubs continue to struggle, the Jays make some noise in the American League East, and a Pirates rookie makes his Major League debut; it's all in this week's Musings.

Numbers

26-27 - The Cubs record during the last two months. The Chicago Cubs looked like an absolute juggernaut the first part of the season as they got off to a torrid 27-8 start, but have since been a sub-.500 team. Their amazing start has given them some breathing room in the Central, where the Cardinals and Pirates trail by 7 and 7.5 games, respectively. Sure, it's an arbitrary end-point, but it shows that over the course of the medium-term, the Cubs haven't been as unstoppable we thought earlier in the year.

7 - Game winning streak for the Blue Jays that was snapped by the Tigers on Saturday. The Jays won on Sunday and moved to a virtual tie for second place in the American League East, two games behind the division-leading Orioles. In ten games this month, the Blue Jays have given up only 24 runs and are 8-2.

470 - Foot home run for Giancarlo Stanton against the Mets Jacob deGrom on Wednesday. The blast occurred in the 4th inning and was the first of two that game. The first one is calculated as the longest dinger in Citi Field's history, and Stanton set a Marlins franchise record for consecutive multi-home run games. He is the only Marlin to hit four home runs in four consecutive at bats.

.633 - The San Francisco Giants first-half winning percentage. The Giants lead the West by 6.5 games over LA and have the best record in the Majors. Anchored by Madison Bumgarner (who one-hit the DBacks Sunday night) and free agent signing Johnny Cueto, San Francisco is well-positioned for a return to the postseason.

5 - Strikeouts through 5.1 innings in the Pirates' Tyler Glasnow's MLB debut. Glasnow put in a solid performance against the Cardinals on Thursday afternoon. He gave up four earned runs and at times, struggled with his command, though he only walked two batters. The Pirates lost the game 5-1.

20 - Home runs for David Ortiz in what he has said is his last year in the Majors. This is his 15th season of 20+ homers, only Hank Aaron (16) and Babe Ruth (20) have more than Big Papi.

73 - Regular season games that Matt Harvey will miss this season, not including the postseason. Harvey is suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome which will require season-ending surgery. The Mets' rotation has suffered a number of devastating injuries and remain in second place mired behind the Nationals.

4 - Teams with winning percentages under .400. The Rays, Twins, Braves, and Reds have been absolutely abysmal. While each team may have some chips to trade, their rosters are mostly barren of impact talent. Guess it's time to look forward to next year.

3 - Triple plays turned by the Chicago White Sox this year. Last week, Tim Anderson turned a 6-3 triple play against Atlanta though the Sox lost the game 11-8.

Must See Matchups

Tuesday, July 12

American All-Stars at the National League All-Stars

Although most of the starting lineup will look like a Red Sox-Cubs interleague matchup, there will be plenty of exciting players on display in San Diego. Chris Sale and Johnny Cueto will start for their respective leagues, David Ortiz will get a send-off, and some of the games young stars (Betts, Bogaerts, Machado, Seager, Bryant, et al) will play in front of a national audience.

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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