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Marty’s musings: the NL West reigns supreme

Big changes in the last 365 days in the NL West.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-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 previewing some of this week's starting pitching matchups.

In this week’s Musings, MLB conducts the “Rule Four” Draft, the Rockies and Diamondbacks stay competitive while the Giants continue to fall, Kenley Jansen doesn’t stop dominating, and the Yankees have a tough time out West.

News in Numbers

1:1 - Twins pick in the amateur draft last Monday night that yielded them prep star Royce Lewis. Lewis is a toolsy shortstop out of JSerra Catholic High in California. The Twins and Lewis already came to terms, inking a $6.725 million signing bonus over the weekend.

12 - Blown saves for the Yankees, who went 1-6 on their West Coast road trip. They won the first game against the Angels and then lost four straight to the lowly Athletics. The disastrous road trip included multiple blown saves, including four consecutive losses in which they led in the eighth inning or later, and two walk off losses.

2 - Starts for Jameson Taillon since he hit the disabled list for testicular cancer last month. It’s been a remarkable bounceback, as Taillon had surgery only a month ago. In his first start since the procedure, he threw five innings and gave up no runs against the red hot Rockies. The Cubs got the better of him over five innings on Sunday, scoring four runs.

22-10 - The Orioles‘ record as of May 9th, when they had the best record in the majors. Since then, Baltimore is a wretched 12-24 and currently are battling with the Blue Jays for last place in the AL East.

26 - Consecutive innings the Red Sox bullpen pitched without giving up a run before Heath Hembree and Matt Barnes allowed runs in relief of David Price last night. Last week the Sox shut down the Phillies, but lost one of four when Chris Sale gave up a single run in an eight inning shutout loss. Despite the bullpen scoreless streak ending, Boston won Sunday’s game anyway taking two out of three from Houston, puttin them in a virtual tie with the Yankees for first place in the AL East.

3 - Teams in the NL West that have over 40 wins. Only five teams in all of baseball have hit the 40-win mark, with most of them being in the same division. Although the Astros have the best winning percentage (having played fewer games), the Rockies, DBacks, and Dodgers are right there with them.

20 - Runs scored by the Twins on Tuesday night against the Mariners. Eddie Rosario hit three home runs, and both Max Kepler and Brian Dozier also went deep in the game. The Twins’ 28 hits were the most in a game since the Rangers hit 29 against the Orioles in August of 2007.

0 - Walks allowed by Kenley Jansen so far this season. Jansen has been absolutely remarkable, striking out 50 batters and walking none over the course of 29 appearances. He’s only allowed three earned runs all year.

4 - Games in the sweep by the first place Rockies over the lowly Giants, and in the Indians‘ sweep over the first-place Twins. At last year’s All Star Break, San Francisco had the best record in baseball; they are a full 30 games under .500 since. The Twins, meanwhile, held sole possession of first place through most of the year, but yielded to the Indians after a bad series at home. The only three teams who have not been swept in a series are all in the NL West: the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Rockies.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, June 19

Corey Kluber (CLE) v. Dylan Bundy (BAL), 7:05 ET

A game between two teams that are on completely different trajectories at the moment. The Indians are coming off an excellent series against the Twins, in which they jumped into first place. The Orioles starting pitching has been abysmal over the last six weeks, causing in large part their fall out of first place, and Baltimore will look to Dylan Bundy to quell the bleeding.

Friday, June 23

Yu Darvish (TEX) v. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY), 7:05 ET

Two countrymen face off against one another on Friday night in the Bronx. Tanaka has had a very challenging year so far, and has been the Yankees worst starter. Darvish has been solid, but not his usual dominant self through the first two and a half months of 2017.

Adalberto Mejia (MIN) v. Trevor Bauer (CLE), 7:10 ET

The Twins get another shot at the Indians after a dreadful time in the Twin Cities last weekend. The series starts on Friday, with the youthful Mejia going up against the fireballer Bauer.

Sunday, June 25

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. German Marquez (COL), 4:10 ET

The Rockies remain the top team in a competitive NL West, but will go up against divisional powerhouse LA in Denver. Through 14 starts, Clayton Kershaw has been masterful as usual but will be put to the test on the road against a potent Colorado offense.

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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