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, MLB loses its best player to injury, some unlikely teams sit atop quite a few divisions, the Tigers strike out more than any other team in more than a century, a White Sox farmhand tosses a no-no, and we celebrate the life of Jim Bunning, who died last week.
News in Numbers
6-8 - Weeks that Mike Trout is expected to miss due to a torn ligament on his left thumb. He sustained the injury sliding into second base over the weekend; the dangers of sliding headfirst kids. We can all wee together as Trout was on pace for an absurd 11-WAR season.
125 — Career home runs for Adam Jones at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Jones hit number 125 against the Twins last week and is now the park’s leader in home runs, ahead of Rafael Palmeiro.
8 — Consecutive starts where Chris Sale struck out 10 or more batters. The streak came to an end against the Rangers Wednesday night, though Boston did win the game 9-4.
23 — Scoreless innings for the Mariners lineup that has woefully underperformed so far this year. Between May 18 and May 25, the M’s did not score more than one run in a game. They were outscored 41-5 in those five contests. Seattle is six games under .500 and 13 games out of first place.
70 — Pitches thrown by Brad Peacock in a spot start last week against the Detroit Tigers. Peacock went 4 ⅓ innings, striking out eight, walking two, and allowing only one hit. The bullpen did their job as well, with a solid four-pitcher one-hitter. Chris Devenski went 2 ⅔ scoreless, and Will Harris and Ken Giles closed out the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
49 — Strikeouts for Tigers batters in that four-game series against the White Sox last weekend. Ten players struck out four or more times in the series despite the Sox mediocre cadre of starters including Mike Pelfrey and Tyler Danish (who made his first career start). The Tigers managed to win one game, but it was the most K’s for the club in a four-game series since 1913.
25 ⅓ — Consecutive scoreless innings for the Dodgers’ Alex Wood, whom the team placed on the disabled list yesterday with shoulder inflammation. Wood has been excellent when healthy and possesses a 1.69 ERA and 1.85 FIP.
17 — Home runs for Aaron Judge, who is quickly positioning himself as the AL Rookie of the Year. He overtook Mike Trout who will be sidelined for the next two months.
33 — Wins for the Colorado Rockies, who lead the NL in wins. On Sunday the Rox notched their 17th May victory; the last time Colorado won 17 games in a month was September 2009, year in which they won 92 games and made it to the NLDS before being bounced by the Phillies.
85 — Years-of-age for Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, who died last week. Across Bunning’s 17-year career, he made nine All-Star Games and accumulated a total of 66.9 fWAR. Bunning also served in the United States Senate, representing Kentucky for six terms.
20 — Strikeouts for Red Sox pitchers against the Rangers on Thursday night. Red Sox hurlers were on fire, especially Craig Kimbrel, who has been superb so far this season. He managed to strike out four batters in one inning to increase his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 40:2.
7 — Inning no hitter thrown by White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito. The righty came to the Sox via the Adam Eaton trade. Though he struck out only three, he induced plenty of weak contact to hold Syracuse, the Nationals farm team, to zero hits.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, May 30
Luis Severino (NYY) v. Chris Tillman (BAL), 7:05 ET
The Yankees have a handful of games on both Boston and Baltimore, and the O’s have been in a bit of a tailspin of late. If they’re going to keep pace, they’ll need more from Tillman than the 3-4 earned runs he’s given them in six or fewer innings every time out to this point. Severino is having a good year for the Yanks and spun an eight-inning gem against the Royals his last start.
Chris Sale (BOS) v. Jose Quintana (NYY), 8:10 ET
This will be Sale’s return to Chicago after the White Sox traded him away to Boston. Sale has been the best pitcher in the American League and is looking to get back to his double-digit strikeout ways against the South Siders. Quintana, meanwhile, is likely auditioning for a trade himself, though he’s been less than his usual self in 2017. Unsurprisingly, the White Sox will be wearing their throwback unis...you know, the ones with the collars. Hide the scissors.
Friday, June 2
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) v. Yu Darvish (TEX), 8:05 ET
Keuchel is striking out nearly as many batters as he did during his 2015 Cy Young run and has re-emerged as the true ‘ace’ of the Astros staff. Darvis, by contrast, has been inconsistent since returning from Tommy John surgery. The Astros are running away with the division so far, with a double-digit lead over the rest of the sub-.500 AL West.
Saturday, June 3
Mike Leake (STL) v. Jon Lester (CHC), 2:20 ET
Lester threw a complete-game, one-run gem against the Giants last Tuesday, but followed it up with a 3 ⅓-inning stinker against the Dodgers five days later. Leake has been excellent this year for the Cards, though the numbers do suggest he’ll come back to earth. Both the Cubs and Cardinals are looking up at Milwaukee in the standings.