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Marty's Musings: dog days of summer

It was an emotional week in baseball with ARod’s last game in pinstripes and Prince Fielder’s last game ever.

Ray Carlin-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 Dodgers make some noise in the NL West race, Max Scherzer remains dominant, and Brandon Crawford has himself a night; it's all in this week's Musings.

Numbers

319 - Prince Fielder's career home run total as he hung up his cleats due to injury. He wasn't ready to call it quits, which made his retirement press conference much harder to watch. Prince ended up with the same number of home runs as his father, Cecil.

3 - Number of franchises for which Alex Rodriguez is in the top ten in home runs. He is sixth on the Yankee list with 351, he's eighth for the Rangers with 156 and fourth for the Mariners with 189. The Yankees effectively fired him on Friday after telling him that he would no longer receive playing time. It is a curious time to do this considering that in two weeks rosters expand. Perhaps we've yet to see the last of Rodriguez on a baseball diamond.

7/6 & 7/7 - The last time the New York Mets won back-to-back games prior to taking two of three from San Diego over the weekend. Unbelievably, New York had not put together two straight victories since the week of July Fourth. The Mets were swept by Arizona at home and salvaged the last two games against the Padres. They are 10.5 games out of the division lead and trail the Marlins by two games in the wildcard race.

9-17 - The San Francisco Giants' record since the All Star break. San Fran blew a 7-3 seventh inning lead to the Orioles on Sunday and lost 8-7 in nine. They shared the division lead with the Dodgers last week but are currently one game ahead. Last week was the first time since May 14th that LA had a share of first place in the West.

7 - Hits for the Giants Brandon Crawford last Monday night against Miami. Jeff Sullivan broke down how great a game this truly was in a historical context. Crawford was worth nearly 1.5 wins, per win probability added, in the extra inning game.

37 - Come from behind wins for the Rangers who won five straight come backers last week. The Rangers are 26-8 in one-run games which is good for a .765 winning percentage ---- better than the 2012 Orioles who had a .763 winning percentage in one run games (29-9).

5 - Consecutive seasons of 200+ strikeouts for the Nationals Max Scherzer. Numbers 200 came Tuesday night when he struck out 11 Diamondbacks through eight innings. In his most recent start against the Indians, Max fanned another 10 over seven innings.

1 - Times rookie teammates both hit home runs in their first ever plate appearances. The Yankees Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge managed to do it last week, a clear signal that it's time for youth to shine in the Bronx.

What to Watch

Monday, August 15

Drew Pomeranz (BOS) v. Josh Tomlin (CLE)

A bonus game this week that's a makeup from earlier in the  year. The Red Sox scored 16 runs against the DBacks in their finale of a three game sweep at Fenway. On their way to a multi-city road trip, they'll stop in Cleveland take on the first place Indians. Pomeranz has still been unreliable in Boston.

Tuesday, August 16

Jose Quintana (CHW) v. Corey Kluber (CLE)

The White Sox are going nowhere but this matchup is a must-see. In his Wednesday start against KC, Quintana allowed only one run in 7.1 innings of work. He has an impressive 2.45 ERA but a 4.06 xFIP. Kluber has been equally effective this season though he stumbled a bit giving up three runs in six innings against the Angels last week.

Wednesday, August 17

David Price (BOS) v. Chris Tillman (BAL)

A huge three game set at Oriole Park in Camden Yards as the Red Sox trail the O's by one game in the loss column. Tillman remains excellent while Price has been deemed a bust (so far) in Boston. Both teams trail Toronto in the American League East.

Thursday, August 18

Jacob deGrom (NYM) v. Madison Bumgarner (SF)

The Mets appear to be going backwards and will need to string together a decent road trip if they're going to get back into serious wild card contention. The job does not get any easier on Thursday when they face one of the best pitchers in the National League in San Francisco.

Friday, August 19

Tom Kohler (MIA) v. Gerrit Cole (PIT)

Two teams that are most definitely not winning their respective divisions go at it next weekend. Pittsburgh is effectively tied with the Cardinals and Marlins (same number of loses). The winner of this series will position themselves well going into the last week of August. Either way this goes, the series is a victory for the Cardinals.

Pitching Matchups based on early week probables

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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