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, a triple play, a no hitter, a slugger hits a milestone, and the best pitcher in baseball crosses a major threshold. We also look at the Astros and Nationals, as both teams continue to be heads-and-shoulders above their divisional rivals.
News in Numbers
600 — Career home runs for All-Star slugger Albert Pujols. Pujols hit a grand slam against the Twins’ Ervin Santana. He is only the ninth player in MLB history to hit 600 and he’s the first ever to have that 600 milestone come via a grand slam.
7 — Grand slams hit on Saturday, the most ever hit in one day in MLB history. Pujols’ deservedly got the most press; joining him on Saturday were Kyle Schwarber (who has been miserable at the plate recently), Matt Adams, Ian Desmond, Travis Shaw, Chris Taylor, and Mike Zunino.
100 — Game score for the Marlins’ Edinson Volquez, who tossed a no-hitter on Saturday. He needed only 98 pitches in the ten-strikeout, two-walk gem. In the Marlins relatively short history, this is already the team’s sixth no-hitter.
19 — Come-from-behind wins for the Diamondbacks so far this season. They had a forgettable three-game set against the Marlins this weekend in which they were swept, but the resilient DBacks have have trailed at some point in 19 of their 34 victories this year.
3 — Game sweep by the San Diego Padres against the defending champion Chicago Cubs. The lowly Pads are tied for last place with the Giants at 23-35. The Cubs have had trouble getting going this season and have been hovering around .500.
2 — Divisions led by teams up by double-digits. The Nationals and Astros so far this season have been far-and-away the best teams in their respective divisions. The Nats lead by 10.5 games over the 24-30 second-place Braves, and the Astros are 13.5 up over the 29-31 second-place Angels.
21-6 — The Astros record on the road so far this season. They started a ten-game road trip last Sunday and have won every game since they left Houston. They currently stand at 41-16, which is one game better than last year’s Cubs through 57 games.
5-4-3 — Triple play the Twins turned as a hard-hit chopper to Miguel Sano at third, who threw a bullet to Brian Dozier, who tossed it to Joe Mauer. It is the first triple played turned by Minnesota since 2006.
2,010 — Strikeouts for Clayton Kershaw over his ten seasons. Kersh hit the 2,000 mark against the Brewers in a 14-strikeout, seven-inning, one-run game on Friday. He is the second-fastest pitcher to reach the 2k mark, doing it in only his 277th game. Randy Johnson is the fastest at 262 games.
9 — Batters who scored a run in one of the ugliest innings of defensive baseball you’ll ever see. The Braves could not get out of their own way in the third inning Tuesday night. Bartolo Colon ended up yielding nine runs, though only two were earned in an abbreviated 2 ⅓-inning performance.
13 — Runs through four innings in the Chris Sale / Jose Quintana matchup on Tuesday night. Sale disappointed in his return to the south side, btu the Red Sox bailed him out via some potent offense. Despite Sale’s inefficiency, he remains one of the best pitchers in baseball. Jose Quintana’s stock however continues to dip, as the White Sox undoubtedly continue to keep their eyes open on a potential deal for him.
47 — Consecutive outs against right-handed batters for Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel uncharacteristically gave up two hits (including one to RHB Mark Trumbo), one walk, and a run in an eventful 1 ⅓ inning save in Baltimore Saturday. The Red Sox lost the first two games of the series but ended up with the split winning both Saturday and Sunday’s matchup.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, June 6
Max Scherzer (WAS) v. Brandon McCarthy (LAD), 10:10 ET
The current NL favorites square-off in a mid-week matchup which begins with Max Scherzer goign up against twitter favorite, Brandon McCarthy. Scherzer put up a remarkable 11:0 strikeout to walk ratio in a complete-game against the Giants.
Wednesday, June 7
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) v. Jason Vargas (KC), 8:15 ET
Keuchel is still inducing plenty of swings despite throwing only a third of his pitches in the zone. He pitched another gem against the Rangers last week, way out-perfomring Rangers’ ace Yu Darvish. Vargas spun another great game in his last outing as well, tossing a complete game shutout against Cleveland.
Thursday, June 8
David Price (BOS) v. Michael Pineda (NYY), 7:05 ET
The Yankees lead the Red Sox by two games in the AL East and host Boston for a three-game set in the Bronx this week. The series finale pits David Price in only his third start of the year against Michael Pineda. Price threw a great game in Baltimore Saturday night.
Sunday, June 11
Antonio Senzatela (COL) v. Jake Arrieta (CHC), 2:20 ET
The Cubs are trying to get back on track and get a few games over .500, while the Rockies are trying to keep the ever-present Dodgers at bay. Both teams are a winning streak / losing streak away from their seasons being turned completely around; if the Rockies slide and the Dodgers surge, the early-season magic could end quickly, while a nice week and winning streak can position the Cubs to leave what is otherwise a mediocre division in the dust, despite a slow start.