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,we celebrate ‘The Kid' and one of the greatest catchers of all time, take a look at David Price's continued struggles, and raise our brow at Chris Sale's laundry attack; it's all in this week's Musings.
65 - Number of starts it took Jose Fernandez to get to strikeout number 500. Fernandez reached the milestone last week against the Phillies in a 6.1 inning / 14 strikeout performance. It took him only 1,587 total batters faced to get to 500; he is the third-fastest pitcher to reach the mark, behind only Dwight Gooden (who faced 1,754 batters) and Yu Darvish (1,659).
105.7 - Aroldis Chapman's fastest pitch, and the fastest recorded pitch in the history of the game. Chapman was throwing some serious heat against Baltimore last week, and this week ended up in a Cubs uniform as New York dealt him to the North Side of Chicago for four players, highlighted by top Cubs farmhand Gleyber Torres.
32-5 / 29-1 - The Cincinnati Reds' record when leading after seven and eight innings, respectively. It's worth pointing out this stat in light of the Reds having the worst ‘pen in baseball, and the price Chapman just fetched from the Cubs.
5 - Game suspension for White Sox Ace Chris Sale who....sliced up his throwback uniform because he "didn't like it". The entire situation is rather bizarre, but over the next week we'll see if this is the manifestation of problems with management that will cause a trade, or simply another millionaire athlete doing wacky things for wacky reasons.
46 - Months behind bars for Chris Correa, who was found guilty of hacking into the Astros' proprietary database. Whether or not he serves his entire sentence is a moot point, it's clear the judicial system is not going to take kindly to corporate espionage.
5 - Losing seasons of the last six seasons for the Minnesota Twins (including this one....yeah, I'll go out on that limb) who fired General Manager Terry Ryan last week. Ryan once was the toast of Minnesota, and the model executive for a small-market team that often won the American League Central. The team is in dire straits now and even amidst the shakeup upstairs, remains committed to Paul Molitor and others in the organization. Sometimes loyalty only takes you so far. This team needs a huge shakeup.
6-13 - The Texas Rangers record in the month of July. Texas is still clinging to a 2.5 game lead in the American League West but are not playing nearly as well as they had coming into July.
62 - Round of the draft where the Dodgers selected Mike Piazza. LA drafted the then-first-baseman as a personal favor to Tommy Lasorda. That seemed to work out pretty well because he became only the fourth catcher in the last 50 years to make the Hall of Fame. He joined Ken Griffey Junior in the HoF class of 2016.
1 - Game for the St. Louis Cardinals that has been started by anyone outside of the five pitchers listed in the Opening Day starting rotation. Sunday's double-header caused the Birds to use Mike Mayers, who pitched only 1.1 innings and gave up nine earned runs. Michael Wacha, Mike Leake, and Adam Wainwright have started 20 games this season, Jaime Garcia has started 19 and Carlos Martinez has started 18. Stick to the starting five as long as you can is the lesson here apparently.
3 - David Price starts that the Red Sox have lost when scoring at least seven runs. Price is not having a strong year and once again did nothing to help his reputation in Beantown on Saturday. He went 5.2 innings and gave up five runs against the aforementioned putrid Twins. The long ball has been his undoing, as he's already given up 16 homers this season.
What to Watch
Tuesday, July 26
Sonny Gray (OAK) v. Kyle Lohse (TEX)
An interesting AL West matchup with several stories at play. Tuesday is likely to be Sonny Gray's last start before the trade deadline and although he's struggled mightily this season, if he spins a gem on Tuesday, one never knows what that does in a crazy market with teams chasing pennants. The Rangers have been awful in July and hope to beat up on the lowly Athletics. If they can head into August in first place, it will be a relief, but this team is trending the wrong way.
Wednesday, July 27
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) v. Carlos Carrasco (CLE)
The Dodgers handed Strasburg his first loss of the season last week knocking around the Nats' Ace for six earned runs over six innings. Washington remains in first place, a solid 4.5 games in front of second place Miami while Cleveland has a six game lead over the Tigers. Carrasco has not given up more than two runs in an outing since early June.
Thursday, July 28
Michael Wacha (STL) v. Jose Fernandez (MIA)
We discussed the joys of Jose Fernandez above and he goes up against the Cards in St. Louis in a battle of second place NL teams. Fernandez is striking out 36.8 percent of the batters he faces, an ERA 39 percent better than average and a 48 percent better than league-average FIP.
Friday, July 29
Max Scherzer (WAS) v. Johnny Cueto (SF)
A battle of first place coastal teams, the Nats throw out Max Scherzer who leads all of MLB with 181 strikeouts (over 141.2 innings). Cueto is having a career-resurgence by the Bay, although in three of his last five games, he's struggled against some terrible offenses (Phillies / Padres / DBacks). For San Francisco to fend off the Dodgers, they'll need Cueto to remain effective.
Ed's Note: A previous edition incorrectly listed last year as under .500 for the Twins. They somehow finished with 83 wins.
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