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Marty’s musings: tempers flare heading into September

Tempers and pennant races heat up as we hit the tail-end of August.

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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 Tigers and Yankees rumble, a Phillies phenom does something for the first time in history, and Doug Fister and Rich Hill throw great games that may be forgotten by history.

News in Numbers

27 - Consecutive outs by both the Red Sox Doug Fister (Tuesday) and the Dodgers Rich Hill (Wednesday). Neither man earned a no hitter, as Fister gave up a home run to the first batter of the game, then proceeded to retire the next 27 of 29 batters without giving up a hit, only allowing a pair of walks. Fister earned a game score of 86. Rich Hill went eight perfect innings before an error by third baseman Logan Forsythe spoiled the bid. It didn’t matter however, as the Dodgers offense disappeared that evening, and even if Forsythe had made the play, the game would’ve headed to the 10th. In the first inning of extra-innings, Hill gave up a leadoff walk-off homer to the Pirates’ Josh Harrison; it is the first time a no-hitter was broken up via a walk-off home run. (Sort of; look up Harvey Haddix for further reading.)

2 - Walkoffs for Manny Machado in six days. Machado has been on fire recently, and he capped off a three home run game with a walk-off grand slam on Wednesday. In the second half, he has a 145 wRC+ and is finally benefitting from what looked like great contact and exit velocity all season.

2014 - The last time the Orioles swept the Red Sox in Boston, something that happened at Fenway over the weekend. The Sox bats went silent against what has been a questionable rotation for the O’s. Earlier in the week, the Sox pitching was the story, as they allowed three or fewer hits in two straight games for the first time since July 2000. Such is baseball.

1 - Player who has hit ten home runs in his first twenty games: Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins is putting on a show in Philadelphia, hitting ten homers in only 72 PAs (and he’s walked 12 times too!). Oh, and he started a 7-4-3 triple play with some nifty glove work and heads-up baseball instincts.

4 - Players suspended due to the shenanigans in Thursday’s Tigers/Yankees game. Miguel Cabrera “the instigator” received seven games; Gary Sanchez “the cheap-shotter” received four games for pummeling Cabrera after he was taken down by Austin Romine; and Romine himself received two games. Detroit pitcher Alex Wilson also was handed a four-gamer.

0 - Runs the Royals scored in a three-game set against the Indians over the weekend. The Royals are still within striking distance of a Wild Card spot with a 2.5-game deficit, but losing three to a division rival (when that rival’s ace isn’t even pitching) is a bad sign.

50 - Home runs for Giancarlo Stanton, who continues to rake in Miami. The Marlins were an afterthought only a couple weeks ago, but currently are only 4.5 games back for the second WC spot. They’re a longshot, but with the Rockies‘ ups-and-downs, they’ll remain in the hunt through September.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, August 28

Corey Kluber (CLE) v. Luis Severino (NYY), 7:08, ET

Kluber continues to make his Cy Young case as Chris Sale has stumbled in his last two starts. Monday he takes on a Yankees team that is within striking distance in the AL East, after gaining two games on Boston over the weekend. Severino has pitched two strong games in a row after a clunker against the Red Sox earlier this month.

Wednesday, August 30

Ariel Miranda (SEA) v. Dylan Bundy (BAL), 3: 05 ET

Both the Mariners and Orioles are competing for a Wild Card spot. The Ms are only 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second slot, with the Orioles .5 games behind them. The finale to the three-game series will give one team a leg-up.

Thursday, August 31

Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) v. Sonny Gray (NYY), 7:05 ET

It seems like the Red Sox and Yankees face every weekend. The four-game set in the Bronx kicks off Thursday evening, after Eduardo Rodriguez’s meltdown against the Orioles last Saturday. The Yankees are inching closer to the Sox, and have a chance to be ahead of them in another week.

Friday, September 1

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. Dinelson Lamet (SD), 10:10 ET

The Dodgers are rolling to an easy NL West victory, and even have a chance to challenge the 2001 Mariners record of 116 wins. It will all be for naught if LA does not make it to the World Series, which will likely only happen if Clayton Kershaw is healthy. He’ll ease back into the rotation after a DL stint against the hapless last-place Padres.

Saturday, September 2

Eric Skolund (KC) v. Kyle Gibson (MIN), 7:10 ET

The Royals offense disappeared last weekend, but this weekend they have a chance to quickly move forward. The Twins lead the Royals by only 2.5 games in the Wild Card spot, and can distance themselves with a strong showing at home against KC.


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