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 the game, and highlighting this week’s key pitching matchups.
This week two teams suffered bad blows, with the Mariners’ Robinson Cano earning himself an 80-game PED suspension, and the Diamondbacks losing A.J. Pollock to injury. All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
80 - Game suspension for Mariners all-star second-baseman Robinson Cano. Cano injured himself last week as well, but that news became secondary when MLB announced he will be taking a half-season leave due to testing positive for Furosemide, a known PED masking agent. It’s a huge hit to the Mariners who have remained competitive in a tough AL West.
4-8 - Week absence expected for Dbacks slugger A.J. Pollock. Pollock dove for a ball last Monday and fractured his thumb. The Diamondbacks had been the best of the NL until two weeks ago, but since May 9th, they are on a 1-10 slide. They got swept in a four-game set against the Nationals, then lost two out of three to the Brewers, and most recently got swept by the Mets.
2 - Boston Red Sox who are tied for the MLB lead in home runs. Both J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts have 15 homers, and have powered the Red Sox offense to outslug the juggernaut Yankees .365 to .360. New York and Boston are in a virtual tie for first place, as the Yankees were rained out of most of their games last week.
22 - Consecutive batters retired by the Padres Jordan Lyles last week against Colorado. The former Rockies’ starter looked excellent through 7 ⅓, then gave up a hit to Trevor Story. The bigger story here is that this was the 21st no-hit bid to go at least six innings this season. There were 24 instances of this in all of 2017 combined.
2500 - Strikeouts for Justin Verlander, who is having a renaissance with the Houston Astros.
JV pitched a complete game shutout against the Angels, he allowed only five hits, struck out seven batters and walked only one. Since being traded to Houston last season, he has thrown 102 ⅔ innings, allowed 12 earned runs, and has a 127:19 strikeout to walk rate.
45 - Game on-base streak for Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera. The streak ended on Sunday, as he struck out in the first inning, grounded out twice, and K’d once more in the seventh against the Cardinals. Herrera is hitting .344/.411/.544 with a 162 wRC+.
2 - Consecutive starts for relief pitcher Sergio Romo. The Rays experimented with starting the game with a strong right-handed relief pitcher to shut-down the Angels in the first inning (or more). Romo had previously pitched in 588 games in which he was called from the pen.
Matchups to Watch
Monday, May 21
Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) v. Nick Pivetta (PHI), 7:05 ET
To date, the NL East is seemingly wide open. Both the Braves and Phillies have come out of the gate strong, and this week, they begin a series pitting their young guns against one another. Currently, the Phils sit in first place with the Braves only 1.5 games behind them.
Tuesday, May 22
Trevor Bauer (CLE) v. Tyler Chatwood (CHC), 7:05 ET
An atypical Indians-Cubs matchup this week kicks off on Tuesday night. Trevor Bauer has shown flashes of brilliance, such as an eighth inning gem against Detroit on Wednesday. In his prior start, he could not get out of the fifth inning against the Royals. So far this year, inconsistent pitching has made the Cubs and Indians mediocre teams, despite remaining the favorites to win their respective divisions.
Wednesday, May 23
David Price (BOS) v. Chris Archer (TB), 7:10 ET
Price pitched well in his last outing, but has not been the model of consistency the Red Sox hoped for when they signed him. He takes on his former team, going up against de facto Rays ace, Chris Archer. The Rays are hovering around .500, but are a world away from the talent of Boston.
Friday, May 25
Andrew Heaney (LAA) v. Luis Severino (NYY), 7:05 ET
The Yankees swept the Angels in Anaheim a couple weeks ago, showing their muscle on a stellar road trip. This weekend they host the Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, and get the Angels’ best pitchers. This is the best pitching matchup of the series, with the Yankees tossing out their ace against Andrew Heaney, who has allowed only five earned runs in his most recent five starts. Saturday pits Ohtani against Sonny Gray in another interesting showdown.
Saturday, May 26
Lance McCullers (HOU) v. Carlos Carrasco (CLE), 7:15 ET
A rematch of last Sunday night’s game, the Astros visit Cleveland this weekend. McCullers went seven shutout innings, and allowed only three base runners last night, while Carrasco’s one mistake was a two-run homer to Brian McCann in the bottom of the seventh inning.
*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables