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Marty’s Musings: dominant closers dominate the news

The Yankees celebrated an icon, while the Nats get the face of their franchise set for another year in DC.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to “Marty's Musings,” my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball. I am your guide to an analytic look at the previous week in MLB and a preview of some of this week's starting pitching matchups.

In this week's Musings: the A’s win in dramatic fashion several times, the Orioles and Mets lose key relievers, and the Giants finally come back from a ninth inning deficit.

News in Numbers

3 - Consecutive walk-offs for the Athletics last weekend into this week. Oakland beat Detroit in the bottom of the ninth both Saturday and Sunday and beat the Angels in the 11th on Monday. Despite the fun wins at home, they remain in last place in the AL West.

14 - Home runs for Aaron Judge, who continues to be one of the most productive sluggers in the game. Surprisingly, veteran Ryan Zimmerman and the recently repatriated Eric Thames are tied for second-most with 13.

32 - Errors for the Red Sox in 37 games this year. Boston’s defense has been below reproach, and despite outfielders who cover a ton of ground, their defense has collectively been one of the worst in the league.

2 - The latest number retired by the Yankees, who on Sunday retired their former captain’s number. In a twi-night single admission doubleheader (throwback!) the Yankees celebrated Jeter in between games. New York won the first game but got destroyed by Houston in the second when Masahiro Tanaka gave up eight runs in 1 23 innings.

28:0 - Kenley Jansen’s strikeout to walk ratio so far this season. The only blemish on his season thus far is a two-earned run outing in Colorado back in early April.

21.625 - Million dollars the Nationals and Bryce Harper agreed to in order to preemptively avoid arbitration for the 2018 season. Harper is a Boras client, so he’ll be testing free agency when the time comes; the deal avoids potential off-season drama and throws some goodwill the Nats’ way.

14 - Percent of Max Scherzer’s starts on the Nationals in which he has thrown a no hitter into at least the sixth inning. Scherzer was magnificent in his most recent start where he went 8 innings and only gave up two runs against the Orioles in Baltimore.

60 - Days on the DL for O’s closer Zach Britton. The Orioles are not the only team who lost their closer for an extended period of time. The Mets lost Jeurys Familia as he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot, and he may be out for the season.

5/10/2015 - The last time the Giants won a game in which they trailed in the ninth inning, prior to a ninth inning comeback against the Mets on Wednesday night. The season has been a disaster for San Francisco as they are looking up at every other team in the NL West.

19 - Batters out of the last 22 faced by Craig Kimbrel that he’s retired via strikeout. Kimbrel is having his most dominant season in recent memory, as he’s striking out more batters than ever and walking fewer.

15 - National League rank in ERA for Mets starters so far this season. Despite coming into the year with one of the best trios in baseball, they lost Noah Syndergaard to injury and Matt Harvey to... whatever it is that seems to constantly be ailing Matt Harvey.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, May 15

Chris Archer (TB) v. Carlos Carrasco (CLE), 6:10 ET

Archer pitched his best game of the year last time out, when he struck out 11 Royals hitters and walked zero over eight shutout innings. The Rays had a good weekend in Boston, winning two out of three, but they remain two games under .500 going into Cleveland to face the AL champs. Carlos Carrasco currently has a 1.86 ERA and has suppressed home runs at the best rate of his career.

Tuesday, May 16

Dallas Keuchel (HOU) v. Tom Koehler (MIA), 7:10 ET

Keuchel’s dominance so far in 2017 has been reminiscent of his Cy Young 2015 season. Despite living mostly outside of the zone, he has been effective in nearly every start so far this season.

Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) v. Lance Lynn (STL), 8:15 ET

The Cardinals are in first place thanks in part to Lynn’s success. Despite a bad outing against the Marlins last time out, he has a 2.75 ERA compared to a 4.68 FIP. He’ll face E-Rod and a potent Boston offense in the first game of a quick two-game series.

Wednesday, May 17

Michael Pineda (NYY) v. Jason Vargas (KC), 8:15 ET

Jason Vargas is quietly having a dominant year (more on that later this week), which is getting overshadowed by the Royals’ fall from contention. In Vargas’ best season he posted a 3.0 fWAR (in 2010), but he currently has 1.2 fWAR in only a month and a half. In Pineda’s last year of his current contract, he’s improved his strikeout rate and limited walks in his seven starts this season.

Friday, May 19

Aaron Sanchez (TOR) v. Chris Tillman (BAL), 7:05 ET

As the Blue Jays try to work their way back from a deep early-season hole, they have a pivotal May series against the Orioles in Baltimore. Both Aaron Sanchez and Chris Tillman are still working their way back from injury and neither has yet looked like their old selves.


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