Welcome to ‘Marty’s Musings’, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the happenings in the baseball world. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the news and notes throughout baseball, and highlighting this week’s key pitching matchups.
This week the Red Sox continue to mow-down divisional foes as tempers flare against the Yankees, Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer continue to dominate, and a pair of impressive winning streaks come to an end. It’s all in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
20 — Postponed games this year that have caused frustration throughout baseball. The cold, wet, and (in the upper midwest) snowy spring, have been a challenge throughout the game. On Sunday, the entire AL Central were forced to reschedule, and we’re already up to 20 postponements in comparison to 25 all of 2017. While MLB typically figures out how to maximize revenue and travel logistics, wet springs damage minor league ball much more.
10:0 — Strikeouts to walks in Max Scherzer’s start against Atlanta last Monday night. Scherzer tossed a complete game shutout, and put up a game score of 93. He followed up the impressive performance with seven strong innings of two-run ball against the Rockies.
27 — Runs put up by the Red Sox in a three-game set against the Yankees last week. Boston trounced New York `14-1 in the series opener and beat the Yanks 6-3 in the finale. The middle game was a 10-7 slugfest that also featured a bench-clearing brawl after a Tyler Austin slide clipped Brock Holt’s ankle.
9 — Wins in a row for both the Mets and the Red Sox; both streaks were snapped last week. The Mets’ winning streak was ended by the Brewers on Saturday, and the Yankees halted the Red Sox’ on Wednesday. Both teams are off to impressive starts behind some excellent starting pitching.
7 — Current winning streak for the Angels, who sit atop the AL West with a 13-3 record. The Angels play host to Boston this upcoming week. More on that in the must-watch section below.
2000 — Career hits by Twins veteran Joe Mauer. Mauer is not the All-Star backstop he used to be, as he’s made the full transition to first base and DH, but he still holds a special place in Twins history since he’s spent his entire 14-year-career in the Twin Cities.
21 — Consecutive starts for Orioles strater Chris Tillman in which he did not earn the win. The win stat is convoluted and in many ways an absurd way to measure a pitcher, but even so, 21 games without managing to fall into one is pretty darn impressive (in a bad way!). The Red Sox roughed up Tillman in two innings of work on Friday night, amassing six runs on seven hits and two walks. Despite starting over 20 games, his last win was in May of last year.
0 — Games won by the Kansas City Royals in which they have given up at least one run. The Royals’ only three wins have come in shutouts, and they are trying to rectify a current five-game losing streak coming into Monday’s matchup against Toronto.
2 — Pitchers in the history of baseball who have struck out at least 11 batters in each of their first three games with a new team: Gerrit Cole and Nolan Ryan. Cole has been unreal in his Houston debut and on the season has 36 strikeouts to just four walks. He’s given up only thee runs in 21 innings of work.
11 — Straight regular-season wins the Diamondbacks had delivered to the Dodgers until Sunday afternoon’s 7-2 loss. The Dodgers are not used to being any team’s doormat, and the streak was the longest against any single opponent since the team moved out of Brooklyn.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, April 17
Corey Kluber (CLE) v. Jake Odorizzi (MIN), 7:10 ET
Kluber’s been so dominant for so long that it’s a dominating start is almost becoming the expectation. Of the 81 batters faced, Kluber has K’d 27 of them. He has given up only four runs in 23 innings.
David Price (BOS) v. Shohei Ohtani (LAA), 10:07 ET
Both the Angels and Red Sox could not have asked for a better start to their respective seasons. Shohei Ohtani’s starts have been magnificent, while David Price is trying to rebound from an injury-shortened outing against the Yankees. Boston and LA have both steamrolled past every other opponent so this series should be a fun one to watch.
Wednesday, April 18
Gerrit Cole (HOU) v. Mike Leake (SEA), 10:10 ET
Gerrit Cole has seemingly made huge strides since his arrival in Houston. He takes on a very average Seattle lineup on Wednesday night. The Mariners are one of only three AL teams with a K-rate below 20 percent.
Thursday, April 19
Jameson Taillon (PIT) v. Jake Arrieta (PHI), 7:05 ET
While this Pitt/Philly matchup pales in comparison to the current NHL playoff series, this brings its own intrigue. Jameson Taillon has been magnificent through three starts and in 21 innings has only given up a pair of earned runs. Jake Arrieta’s debut in Philadelphia has been serviceable, but less than stellar. In his last start, Arrieta only struck out one Rays’ hitter in 6 ⅔ innings.
Saturday, April 21
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) v. Clayton Kershaw (LAD), 9:10 ET
One of the most fun matchups of the week is lined up for Saturday evening as the Dodgers host the Nationals. Kershaw’s pitched great on Sunday, shutting down the DBacks across seven innings, K’ing 12 and walking zero. His only mistake was a seventh inning Paul Goldschmidt homer.
*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables