Welcome to “Marty's Musings,” my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the previous week in MLB and previewing some of this week's starting pitching matchups.
In this week's Musings, Mike Trout amazes on yet another Opening Day, the AL Champs come out blazing, and we have some fun with Statcast numbers.
News in Numbers
3 - Opening Day home runs for the Angels’ Mike Trout. The best player in baseball mashed his third opening day blast in four years in a 4-2 losing effort in Oakland. Bryce Harper also demonstrated his April power with his fifth career home run on Opening Day.
21 - Runs scored by the Indians in their first series of the year against the Rangers. The Indians stormed into Arlington looking as good as they did in 2016.
8 - Earned runs given up by Rangers closer Sam Dyson in two appearances and one full inning of work in the first series of the year against the Indians. Dyson is quickly on the hot seat as the Rangers’ ninth inning man after an abysmal start.
3 - Home runs allowed by Clayton Kershaw in his start at Colorado Saturday night. It was the third time in his career he’s given up three dingers in an outing, the last being April 17, 2013, and his first loss in Colorado since 2011.
10 - Swing and misses in Chris Devenski’s four-inning relief appearance against the Mariners on Wednesday night. The Astros long-man struck out seven through four scoreless innings, with nine of the whiffs coming on his change up.
7 - Active players with 2,000 hits or more (Ichiro, Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano). Matt Holliday joined the club on Saturday
12 - Phillies runs scored in their first inning annihilation of pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie only generated two outs despite giving up 10 earned runs. The performance left him with a 135.00 ERA and a -6 game score.
2008 - The last time the Twins won on Opening Day prior to their 7-1 victory against the Royals on Monday. The Twins started the season 4-0 for the first time since 1987.
13 - Number of starts it took Jose Quintana to allow three home runs in 2016. The de facto White Sox ace gave up three in a disappointing season-opening loss to the Tigers.
2 - Consecutive years the Baltimore Orioles were the last MLB team with a loss. Their first loss of 2017 came to the Yankees Sunday, and they sit at 4-1 after week one. Baltimore started 2016 7-0.
9/25/2013 - The last time the Diamondbacks were two games above .500 prior to them starting the year 3-1. While Zack Greinke continues to adjust to lessened velocity, the DBacks are looking to a future with a revamped front office and what they hope could be a long-term plan to get back to relevance.
-2.97 - Cody Allen’s FIP through the first week of the season. He basically broke the metric this past week in his two innings of work. Despite giving up three hits and an earned run, he struck out six of the nine batters he faced and gave up zero walks. That’s small samples for ya!
77 - Game score for Chris Sale in his dazzling debut in Boston. Sale tossed seven scoreless innings, struck out seven batters, gave up three hits and walked only one. The Red Sox won on a walkoff 12th inning home run by Sandy Leon.
7.01 - Seconds of hang-time on Joey Votto’s home run on Wednesday night. There was no score entering into the bottom of the seventh when Votto blasted a Jerad Eickhoff curve ball into the night. It’s the second-longest hang time of the Statcast era.
Matchups to Watch
Monday, April 10
Chris Sale (BOS) v. Justin Verlander (DET), 1:10 ET
The four-game series between the Red Sox and Tigers concludes with the teams’ aces in a matinee matchup. Sale is looking to continue his excellent start, and it will be interesting to see how his velocity sits.
Tuesday, April 11
Rookie Davis (CIN) v. Jameson Taillon (PIT), 7:05 ET
Taillon was excellent in his 2017 debut, going frame-for-frame with Chris Sale. In Taillon’s seven shutout innings he K’d seven batters on a chilly night at Fenway. He takes on a subpar Reds’ offense and faces off against rookie Rookie Davis, who in his first MLB start gave up four runs in three forgettable innings.
Dylan Bundy (BAL) v. Drew Pomeranz (BOS), 7:10ET
The Orioles have been waiting for Dylan Bundy’s breakout for several seasons, and it might finally be here. In his first start of the year he went seven strong innings, striking out eight, walking zero, and giving up only one run. After mowing down Toronto hitters, he’ll face the flu-ridden Red Sox on Tuesday.
Thursday, April 13
Jonathan Gray (COL) v. Madison Bumgarner (SF), 10:15ET
Bumgarner was the talk of MLB after his Opening Day, in which he hit two home runs and struck out eleven batters in Arizona. He goes up against Rockies’ ace Jon Gray Thursday night.
Friday, April 14
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) v. Kendal Graveman (OAK), 10:05 ET
Keuchel is a polarizing pitcher these days. His results are excellent, but he’s getting batters to chase a ton of pitches out of the zone. He’s pitching in the zone about 30 percent of the time, which generally does not lead to excellent results. His Friday night start in Oakland will be worth keeping an eye on.
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. Zack Greinke (ARI), 10:10 ET
Kershaw is coming off a unusual three-run home run game last weekend and will face the Diamondbacks in the desert. Greinke has been productive in his two starts this season, but has allowed three home runs in 11 2⁄3 innings.
Saturday, April 15
Carlos Martinez (STL) v. Michael Pineda (NYY) 1:05 ET
Carlos Martinez is quickly earning top-of-class status as one of the best National League pitchers. He shut down the Cubs in his first start of the year, though he struggled against the anemic Reds lineup on Sunday night. The Cardinals make an atypical trip to Yankee Stadium to face the Bombers, who had a lousy first week of the year (2–4). Pineda is in a contract year, but as in the past, his results have yet to match his raw stuff.
*Pitching matchups as of Sunday’s probables
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