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Marty’s Musings: mid-June and the Astros look mighty good

Scherzer, Judge, Houston: dominance abounds.

MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-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 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, Aaron Judge continues to destroy the covers off baseballs, Max Scherzer posts a career milestone, an unlikely Reds player has an unlikely night at the plate, Rockies rookie pitchers rock, and the Mariners ink a key piece for their future.

News in Numbers

2,005 - Career strikeouts for Nationals ace Max Scherzer. Scherzer tossed 7/3 innings only giving up two earned runs and striking out ten against the Rangers. The Nats lost Sunday (as well as the first two games of the series) but Scherzer still managed the career milestone. He got to 2,000 strikeouts in only 7,277 batters faced, a quicker rate than Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, and Randy Johnson.

11 - Wins in a row by the Houston Astros, who are running away with the AL West, with a double-digit lead ahead of the second-place, Trout-less Angels. Before the Royals snapped the streak, Houston had scored at least six runs in eight consecutive games; even in the loss, the ‘stros scored seven runs.

4 - Colorado Rockies rookie pitchers that sit one-through-four in NL rookie pitcher fWAR. Jeff Hoffman, Antonio Senzatela, German Marquez, and Kyle Freeland have propelled the Rox to a 1.5 game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West.

4/20/2015 - The last time CC Sabathia went eight innings before he went eight innings aginst the Red Sox on Wednesday. CC threw eight shutout innings and walked zero, though he only struck out five. The Yankees dominated the Red Sox 8-0.

496 - Feet of an Aaron Judge home run, in Sunday’s finale against the Orioles. The shot went off the bat at 119 MPH and had an apex of 124 feet in the air. It is the longest homer since ESPN began tracking home runs in 2006. Through 58 games, Judge has 21 home runs, which was his projected total coming into the year.

4 - Home runs for Scooter Gennett who blasted multiple home runs into the night against the Cardinals. Scooter had three home runs and 20 RBIs going into Tuesday night’s game, and came out with four more homers, and ten additional RBIs. He is the 17th player to ever knock four dingers in a night, and the first since Josh Hamilton did it in May of 2012. Really though, we could see that out of Hamilton...but Scooter Gennett!

1:1 - Draft pick for the Minnesota Twins, who have been on-the-clock since a horrid 2016. Although Minnesota sits in first place going into Monday’s draft, they will be selecting first. It’s the second time they’ve been in first place, with the first pick as the same situation happened in 2001, a year in which they finished second with 85 wins.

6/6 - It took the Philadelphia Phillies until June sixth before they won two consecutive road games. It was their 30th road game of the year, but the Phils still managed to lose the next two to the Braves before getting swept in a three-game set in St. Louis.

70 - Million dollar, five-year contract the Mariners and Jean Segura agreed to last week. Segura posted a career-high 5.0 wins last season, though he’s projected for only about three-wins this season.

7 - Times the Mets have given up ten or more runs in a game. This only happened 10 times total between 2015 and 2016. With injuries and underperformance abound, the Mets look like they’ll soon be concentrating on 2018.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, June 12

Kyle Freeland (COL) v. Jameson Taillon (PIT), 7:05 ET

Taillon is making his comeback start after having surgery for testicular cancer just a month ago. It’s a remarkable recovery and regardless of how he pitches, a great story that he’s back with the team and able to play already. Kyle Freeland has been excellent for the Rockies and is part of the cadre of rookies keeping Colorado in contention well into mid-June.

Tuesday, June 13

TBD (TEX) v. Lance McCullers (HOU), 8:10 ET

The Rangers are falling further and further behind Houston, and are 1-6 against the Astros this year, despite owning them in recent years (15-4 last year, 13-6 in 2015). If they are going to crawl their way back to potentially make some noise in the division, they’ll need to start winning series against the Astros. McCullers is having another good year, and along with Dallas Keuchel, is positioning the ‘stros for a divisional pennant.

Friday, June 16

Adam Wainwright (STL) v. Kevin Gausman (BAL), 7:05

Both the Cardinals and Orioles are struggling to get their seasons going. Both teams are hovering around .500, and each turn to pitchers both teams expected more from at the start of the year.

Sunday, June 18

David Price (BOS) v. Joe Musgrove (HOU), 8:08 ET

David Price, who has been in the news complaining about the Boston media, did himself no favors by getting shellacked by the Yankees last week. He faces the Phillies on Tuesday and then takes the hill on the national stage against the best team in baseball. The Phillies will be a far easier matchup than the juggernaut Astros, this game could get interesting very quickly.

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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