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 a preview of some of this week's starting pitching matchups.
In this week’s Musings, the Red Sox call up the youngest player in the game, the Cubs make their move in the NL Central, and the Nats and Angels have new franchise leaders in different categories.
News in Numbers
235 - Home runs for Ryan Zimmerman who passed the Nationals franchise home run leader Vlad Guerrero on Monday. Zimmerman is currently posting a 137 wRC+ and already has 20 homers on the season.
530 - Consecutive sellouts for the San Francisco Giants, whose streak came to an end last Monday. It was a great run for the Giants, who own one of the nicest parks in the game. 2017 has not gone as planned, however, as San Francisco is currently dead last in the NL West and sits over 30 games behind Los Angeles.
7 - Losses for the Brewers in their last eight games. Milwaukee has lost considerable ground in the NL Central since the All-Star Break. The Cubs are effectively tied with the Brewers for the division lead. The Pirates are under .500 but still only a three-game sweep away from being tied for the division lead. At this rate, it’s looking like only the division winner will make the playoffs out of the Central.
2 - Aces that are likely to end up on the disabled list. The Nationals and Dodgers pulled their star pitchers out of their game on Sunday, Stephen Strasburg left the DC game with forearm discomfort and Clayton Kershaw’s back is bothering him again. Both teams are nearly certain to win their divisions, so the long term health outlook is going to be paramount for each team as we get closer to the trade deadline.
3 - Players acquired by the Yankees in a big trade with the Chicago White Sox. New York filled their third-base gap with Todd Frazier and added two arms to their bullpen in Tommy Kahnle and former Yankee retread David Robertson. The Sox acquired outfield prospects Blake Rutherford and Tito Polo, left-handed pitching prospect Ian Clarkin, and bullpen hazard Tyler Clippard.
20y 9m - Age of Red Sox third base call up Rafael Devers. The Red Sox were rumored to be in the Frazier sweepstakes with their problems at third base, but Devers has been hugely successful across both Double-A and Triple-A this season. He is the youngest rostered player in the majors.
10 - Straight series without a series win for the Yankees, who finally took a three-gamer against the Seattle Mariners over the weekend. The lost series streak was the longest since the awful 1991 team that finished 71-91.
52.3 - bWAR for Mike Trout, who passed Chuck Finley as the Angels all-time most valuable player. What Finley did in 14 seasons Trout has matched and surpassed in under six.
3 - Game sweep of the Rays for the Rangers, who are not making the playoffs this year. Tampa is trying to keep pace with the Red Sox and Yankees but have to do better than their three blown games in this series. Each game Tampa had a two-run lead late but lost anyway.
Matchups to Watch
Wednesday, July 26
Jose Urena (MIA) v. Yu Darvish (TEX),
The rumor mill surrounding Yu Darvish is getting louder by the minute. With Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg leaving their games early, and Kershaw potentially having a lingering back injury, the rumors swirled around the Dodgers and Darvish. While that may be unlikely, every performance will be scrutinized through the end of the month.
Thursday, July 27
Max Scherzer (WAS) v. Matt Garza (MIL), 12:05 ET
The Brewers are dangerously close to a free-fall and face one of the top two teams in the NL. They will miss Strasburg this series and can get back on track with a series win. But for yhe final game of the series, they are stuck facing the best healthy pitcher in the NL.
Friday, July 28
Jake Odorizzi (TB) v. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY), 7:05 ET
The Yankees and Rays are currently battling for second place in the American League and face-off in a three-game set in the Bronx this weekend. Masahiro Tanaka has been a roller-coaster for the Yankees, mostly on the frightening downward trajectory. A strong showing against a division rival will go a long way.
Saturday, July 29
Corey Kluber (CLE) v. Miguel Gonzalez (CHW), 7:10 ET
While Chris Sale gets a ton of attention for a first-place team, Corey Kluber remains one of the best starts in the AL. In his last outing, Klu-bot struk out 14 Jays and only walked two. His only real mistake was a solo home run he allowed to Jose Bautista. In any of his starts, he has not given up more than three runs since May 2nd.
*Pitching matchups as of the previous Sunday; all stats updated through 7/24
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