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Marty’s Musings: all LA, all the time

In between the Dodgers dominance, some other cool stuff in MLB happened last week.

MLB: New York Mets 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 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: the Orioles former ace continues to struggle, the Yankees swoon but remain in first, and Ichiro sets a record. Oh, and a ton on the Dodgers, who have been on an absolute tear.

News in Numbers

7 - Consecutive losses for the Yankees, a streak that finally came to an end on Wednesday. The Yankees won a couple games last week to salvage two series, but are in the midst of a 2-10 skid. They remain in first place in the NL East, effectively tied for first with the Red Sox, but down one in the loss column.

20 - Straight games in which the Orioles gave up at least five runs. The streak came to an end Saturday, with an 8-3 win over the Rays. Over the course of those 20 games, Baltimore went 8-12, though they started the next streak when they gave up another five runs in an 8-5 victory over Tampa in the series clincher.

3 - Swinging strikes on the 94 pitches thrown by Chris Tillman against Cleveland last week. Tillman did not garner one strikeout, and gave up five runs over four innings. It’s hard to believe Tillman struck out 140 batters last year and posted a 2.4 fWAR; this season he has suffered from injuries and ineffectiveness.

24 - Home runs by Cody Bellinger, who leads the NL. Bellinger is the first major leaguer ever to hit 21 in his first 51 games, and the first Dodger to hit ten home runs in ten games at any point of a season since Shawn Green did it in 2002.

6 - Runs batted in for Dodgers’ shortstop Corey Seager on Tuesday night, in a 4-for-5 performance that included three homers and a double. It is the most RBIs in a game for any Dodgers shortstop since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.

51 - Strikeouts induced by Kenley Jansen before he issued his first walk of the season. It took until June 25th before Jansen walked a batter; he allowed a bases on balls to Nolan Arenado in a mop-up ninth inning against the Rockies on Sunday.

11 - Times in 82 starts with the Nationals that Max Scherzer has taken a no hitter into the sixth inning. He lost a heartbreaker of a game on Wednesday despite utterly dominating the Marlins through eight innings of ZERO earned run ball.

4 - Home runs allowed by Clayton Kershaw to the Mets on Monday night. Kershaw went 6 1/3 innings and gave up six runs. It’s the first time in Kersh’s career he gave up four homers, though the Dodgers still won the game, as the Mets pitchers were even worse. (It’s been that kind of year for the Mets.)

43y 265d - Age of Ichiro Suzuki on Sunday, when he set the record for being the oldest player to start in center field since 1900. He surpassed Ricky Henderson who started for the Red Sox in 2002, at the ripe age of 43 years, 211 days.

1991 - The last time the Twins swept the Indians in Cleveland, prior to a three-game sweep over the weekend. Minnesota allowed only two runs in the series and moved back into first place by half of a game. Both teams have been excellent on the road, the Twins are currently 23-9 and the Indians are 24-15 away from their home turf, but each has struggled mightily at home. Minnesota is 16-25 on the road and Cleveland is 15-20.

3 - Consecutive sweeps for the Dodgers, who are currently on a 10-game winning streak. Despite my best attempt to not have this be a Dodgers-centric post, LA has been fantastic of late. They are the only NL team to 50 wins, and surpassed both the Rockies and Diamondbacks, who had been at the top of the West for practically the entire year to date.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, June 26

Jose Berrios (MIN) v. Chris Sale (BOS), 7:10 ET

These two aces face-off in an interdivisional series that pits two teams effectively tied for first place within their own divisions. Berrios has gone eight effective innings in his last two starts, and Chris Sale continues to march towards an AL Cy Young.

Tuesday, June 27

Jake Arrieta (CHC) v. Max Scherzer (WAS), 7:10 ET

The Cubs have been struggling to stay above .500 and enter their series against DC at 38-37, 1.5 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. Arrieta has been a shell of his former self, while Max Scherzer looks to dominate an offense that has struggled to fulfill the potential we all saw last year.

Wednesday, June 28

Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) v. TBD (CHW), 8:10 ET

The Yankees are keeping the Red Sox at bay, and finally got a decent start out of Masahiro Tanaka last week, when he went toe-to-toe in a countrymen pitchers’ duel against Yu Darvish in his last start. This time around he faces an easier White Sox lineup. If he reverts back to his old ways, Tanaka and the Yankees may have a long summer ahead of them.

Friday, June 30

Tyler Chatwood (COL) v. Robbie Ray (ARI), 9:40 ET

The first in a three-game series that pits the Rockies and DBacks against one another for the second time in as many weeks. The DBacks handed the Rockies a series loss at home, in which they lost one game 16-5 and another 10-3. That series mercifully ended, but it just got worse for Colorado, who was promptly swept in LA by the Dodgers. They hope to climb back into the second- (or even first-) place position, heading to Arizona next weekend.


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