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: Chris Davis singlehandedly keeps the O’s in a game, Albert Pujols walks-off yet another game, Facebook and MLB reach a deal for in-market streaming, and the Mariners and Braves struggle with injured players.
News in Numbers
2 - Chris Davis go-ahead home runs the Orioles needed on Tuesday night. The O’s won in the 13th inning against the Tigers in large part due to Davis’ two dingers, one in the eighth and one in the 13th. The teams combined for 26 runs and 38 hits in the drawn-out slugfest.
20/49 - Twenty of Joey Gallo’s first 49 Major League hits have been home runs. Only Mark McGwire posted more home runs in his first 50 hits, knocking 22 of his first 50 out of the park in 1986–87.
31.7% - Bullpen strikeout rate for the Astros this season. Last year the ‘stros set the MLB record with 27.4 percent of hitters k’ing against them; this year, it’s even higher through the first two months of the season. The effectiveness of the Houston bullpen is part of the reason they have the best record in baseball (29-15).
0.59 - Current ERA for Twins starter Jose Berrios, who completely shut down the Rockies over 7 ⅔ innings last week. So far in two starts this year, he’s cruised against the Indians (7 ⅔, 0 runs) and Rockies. He has yet to give up a homer, and has 15 strikeouts versus only 2 walks.
77 - Millions of dollars on the disabled list for the Seattle Mariners, who currently sit five games under-.500 in last place in the American League West. Robinson Cano went on the DL last week with a quadriceps injury. He joined James Paxton, Drew Smyly, and Hisashi Iwakuma as the M’s walking wounded.
11 - Different starters already used by the Mariners. The trials of the previous note have directly affected the number of starters for the Ms, who have struggled with starting pitching depth amidst the myriad of injuries befalling the rotation.
9 - Starting players who scored at least one run in the White Sox drubbing of the Mariners on Saturday night. The 16-1 beating just reiterated the difficulty and frustration Seattle is feeling.
24 - Games it took Cody Bellinger to hit nine home runs. He’s piling up home runs early and often, and currently has the fastest home run pace of any Dodgers player, ever.
5/20/1993 - The last time a Padres player (Fred McGriff) hit a walkoff home run when the team trailed in extra innings. There’s not much to celebrate in San Diego — they’re losing their football team, and their baseball team is last in the Majors with only 16 wins — so a walk-off paired with a fun fact is a big deal. Hunter Renfroe and the Padres won their game against the Brewers on the 16th despite trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the tenth.
3 - Months Freddie Freeman is expected to be out with a broken wrist after getting hit in the hand by an Aaron Loup fastball on Wednesday night. The Braves traded for Matt Adams, who is expected to man first base for them in Freeman’s absence. He has big shoes to fill: Freeman has already amassed 2.6 fWAR in what looked like a repeat of his six-win 2016.
3 ⅔ - Perfect innings for the Dodgers’ bullpen on Thursday night. Of the 11 outs, ten came via the strikeout, including a nine-pitch-three-strikeout “immaculate inning” by Kenley Jansen. Jansen has 32 strikeouts and is yet to walk anyone so far this season.
21 - Career walk offs for Albert Pujols, who notched number 21 on Tuesday night against the White Sox. The 37-year-old is having a rough go of it (-0.1 fWAR) through 40 games, but did bring delight in classic Pujols fashion last week.
20 - Friday night games that Facebook will live stream for all MLB fans, regardless of market. There will be no blackouts. It’s the first major partnership between Facebook and Major League Baseball, and hopefully opens the door for fewer blackouts and more live-streaming options.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, May 23
Ervin Santana (MIN) v. Dylan Bundy (BAL), 7:05 ET
The O’s are 3-7 in their last ten games, and were not been able to take advantage of a Yankees team that has been similarly struggling. On Tuesday, they’ll turn to the best pitcher on their staff to date, as Bundy tries to bounce back from a six-run, six-inning performance against Detroit in his last start. Meanwhile, the Twins hope to continue to defy common sense and remain a force in the AL Central.
Lance Lynn (STL) v. Clayton Kershaw (LAD), 10:10 ET
Kershaw dazzled again in his most recent start against the Giants. The dude absolutely owns San Francisco, and hopes to continue his winning ways against the Cardinals, who inexplicably are looking up at the Brewers in the standings. Lynn gave up two runs in six innings against the potent Red Sox lineup last week.
Wednesday, May 24
Martin Perez (TEX) v. Chris Sale (BOS), 7:10 ET
Every Chris Sale start has become must-watch TV at this point. He strikes out at least ten batters a game, and works quickly and effectively. The Red Sox squandered his last start with limited run support, and go up against the red-hot Rangers this week, who have won 11 of their last 12. As Texas tries to close the gap with the Astros, the Sox are chasing both the Orioles and Yankees.
Friday, May 26
Carlos Martinez (STL) v. Antonio Senzatela (COL), 8:40 ET
The Rockies lead the NL West by 1.5 games going into this week, and look to show that they can play with a perennial winner against the Cardinals this week. C-Mart gave up only two hits and a walk in his most recent start (a no-decision against the Giants). Senzatela has not been spectacular (he’s been giving up two to four runs a game through an average of six+ innings), but he keeps the Rockies in games.
Sunday, May 28
Danny Duffy (KC) v. Carlos Carrasco (CLE), 1:10 ET
A weekend battle of AL Central foes pits southpaw Danny Duffy against hard-throwing Carlos Carrasco. Duffy had a stretch of two lousy games in late April/early May, but has been excellent in his three most recent starts, going a total of 20 ⅔ innings and allowing only three runs. Carrasco had been equally as effective, until a 3 ⅔ inning meltdown against the Rays last week.