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, James Paxton delivers an historical follow-up to a 16-strikeout game, Boston and New York showdown in the Bronx, and the Dodgers continue to stumble. It’s all in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
3 - Countries that have hosted MLB no-hitters in 2018. James Paxton added our neighbor-to-the-north to the list of the US (Sean Manaea’s no hitter) and Mexico (where the Dodgers threw a combined no hitter) when he no-hit the Blue Jays in a 5-0 victory on Tuesday night. Paxton previously dominated Oakland, posting a game score of 86, but followed the 16-K performance with the masterful no-hitter. Paxton is the second Canadian pitcher to throw a no-no and the first to do it in his native land.
0 - Outs recorded by Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy, who started against the lowly Royals Tuesday. Bundy faced seven batters, gave up four home runs and allowed all seven of those runs to score. The ugliness added up to a -19 game score, one of the worst starts in baseball history. The game seemed to be rock-bottom for the Os, who have gone 5-1 since the disastrous start.
113 - Games that Matt Harvey pitched in a Mets’ uniform before his trade to the Reds for catcher Devin Mesoraco. Harvey was whisked out of town after a terrible start to 2018 and amidst constant rumors that he wasn’t entirely focused on pitching. In his Reds debut, he gave up one hit across four innings against the Dodgers.
.400 - Current winning percentage for the NL West-favored Los Angeles Dodgers. LA has recently lost series against some of the worst teams in the National League including being swept by 14-27 Cincinnati over the weekend, losing two out of three to the 16-26 Padres a couple weeks ago, and last month being swept by the 14-26 Marlins. For the first time since the season started, the projected standings had the Diamondbacks edging out the Dodgers for the NL West crown, today they are projected to finish with identical records.
3 - Houston pitchers currently at the top of ESPN’s AL Cy Young Tracker, a neat resource to see what players might win the award if it were voted on today. While Justin Verlander has topped that list on numerous occasions, and Gerrit Cole has taken a major step forward, it’s Charlie Morton who is the most surprising to see ahead of names like Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, and Luis Severino.
45 - Days it into the season it took for the Red Sox and Yankees to lose on the same day. With both teams currently at a 28-12 record, and tied for the division lead, at least one of the teams won their game every day until last Friday. New York won two of the three games they hosted in the Bronx last week; the divisional foes don’t face one another again until the last weekend in June.
2 - London games announced by MLB for the 2019 season. The Red Sox will ‘host’ the Yankees in London’s Olympic Stadium in the first-ever European games.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, May 15
Yu Darvish (CHC) v. Mike Foltynewicz (ATL), 7:35 ET
Darvish has been disappointingly terrible so far the Cubs in 2018, and coming off a DL stint and recovering from the flu, he can make a statement that he’s back to his regular self against the surging Braves. These ‘Baby Braves’ sit atop a crowded NL East and currently own the best record in the NL after a series win against Arizona. A series win against Chicago could be a good statement for Atlanta, as they would have then flexed their muscle against the best of the Central and West.
Gerrit Cole (HOU) v. Jaime Barria (LAA), 10:07 ET
This week the first-place Astros take on the Angels who sit only one game behind Houston in the AL West. Gerrit Cole has been the best pitcher in the AL to date, and goes up against a high-powered offense led by the best player in baseball and the most exciting rookie in the game. It would be surprising if Shohei Ohtani does not DH this entire series.
Wednesday, May 16
CC Sabathia (NYY) v. Tanner Roark (WAS), 7:05 ET
The second game of a quick two-game set in DC, CC Sabathia tries to keep his veteran magic going against the bopping Nats. In his seven starts so far this season, he has allowed only nine earned runs.
Friday, May 18
Ross Stripling (LAD) v. Max Scherzer (WAS), 7:05 ET
It seems with every additional start, Scherzer solidifies his case as the best pitcher in baseball. Scherzer has already posted 2.6 fWAR, and although the Nats trail the Braves and Phillies in the NL East, can further bury the Dodgers in the NL.
Mike Clevinger (CLE) v. Charlie Morton (HOU), 8:10 ET
Cleveland sits only one game above .500, but they play in a weak division, and clearly have the most talented roster; this series could potentially be a preview of things to come in the AL in October. Charlie Morton has had a career resurgence in Houston, and is coming off a brilliant seven inning, one run performance against Texas, where he struck out 14 and walked zero.
Saturday, May 19
Ryan Yarbrough (TB) v. Shohei Ohtani (LAA), 9:07 ET
Shohei Ohtani dominated the Twins last Sunday, going 6 ⅓ and allowing only one run on three hits. He struck out 11 and walked only two batters. He already has struck out 43 guys in only 32 ⅔ innings. Ohtani is also raking at the plate, having put up a 181 wRC+ so far this season. Any game in which he plays puts the Angels in a good spot.
Sunday, May 20
Zack Greinke (ARI) v. Noah Syndergaard (NYM), 1:10 ET
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for the Mets who started off red-hot, then went ice-cold. With the Matt Harvey drama behind them, New York has a statement series against one of the top teams in the National League. With Jacob deGrom being removed from Sunday’s game after one inning as a ‘precautionary measure’ (an inning in which he labored quite a bit) Noah Syndergaard remains the steadfast ace of the staff. Both pitchers will go in this series.
*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables
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