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Marty’s musings: teams separate as we head into summer

The Angels lose an ace, the game loses a star.

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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, we lose one of the most exciting players in baseball due to an elbow injury, teenager Juan Soto continues his torrid pace, and the Astros take advantage of the beginning of a soft midseason schedule. All this news and more in this week’s Musings.

News and Notes

2020? - The big and unfortunate news of last week was the elbow injury to Shohei Ohtani, who is currently on the disabled list, and rumored to potentially need Tommy John Surgery to repair a tear in his UCL. It’s a big blow to the Angels, who are falling further and further behind the Mariners for second place in the AL West, but a bigger blow to baseball at-large.

11 - Consecutive wins for the Astros, who swept Texas, Oakland, and Kansas City over the past two weeks. The schedule doesn’t get any more challenging for Houston, as they don’t face-off against a team above .500 until their west coast trip that starts on July 20th.

6 - Teams with winning records that are sub .400. The Astros are some of the ‘haves’ in baseball, along with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mariners, while they face many of the ‘have nots’ in their next month of ball. It’s something that is concerning to the League, as MLB attendance is the lowest it’s been in 15 years.

40.5 - Percent strikeout rate for the TwinsMiguel Sano, who despite making the 2017 All Star Game, has been demoted to single-A. Sano posted 2.3 wins per FanGraphs’ WAR last year, but had been abysmal in 37 games this season.

19, 231 - Years and days for the NationalsJuan Soto as of last Wednesday, when he became the youngest player to have a multi-home run game since Andrew Jones ddi it back in 1996. Over his 23 games, Soto has posted a 163 wRC+ in his first intro into the majors.

16 - Wins in 49 games for the Mets, who currently sit at 30-38. This is (presumably!) the same team that starts 14-5 just two months ago. Jacob deGrom continues to serve up excellent starts, but the Mets can’t even win those games. In deGrom’s last ten starts, he has allowed a total of six runs in 62 1/3 innings; New York has a 2-8 record in those games.

1 - Win for the Nationals all of last week, as they split a two-game set with the Yankees and then were swept by the lowly Blue Jays. The Nats trail the surprisingly resilitent Braves in the NL East by 3.5 games.

Matchups to Watch

Tuesday, June 19

Chris Sale (BOS) v. Jose Berrios (MIN), 8:10 ET

The Red Sox are wrapping up, what has to date, been a successful road trip. In their series opener, Chris Sale takes on the Twins ace Jose Berrios, who in his last two starts has a 17:1 strikeout to walk rate.

Wednesday, June 20

Ross Stripling (LAD) v. Jon Lester (CHC), 2:20 ET

Looking at this series at the start of the year, we probably would have expected this matchup to pit two division leaders against one another. Well, both Chicago and LA sit in second place, but continue to nip at the heels of the DBacks and Brewers. Stripling hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a start since April.

Thursday, June 21

James Paxton (SEA) v. Luis Severino (NYY), 1:05 ET

The Mariners are having their best year in decades, and after splitting with the Red Sox at home (where they earned a 2-2 series split), take on the powerful Yankees’ lineup. James Paxton has been the strength of the rotation, while Luis Severino is making his case as the best AL pitcher in the first half of the year.

Saturday, June 23

Milo Mikolas (STL) v. Jhoulys Chacin (MIL), 4:10 ET

The Cardinals are in third place, but only four games behind the division-leading Brewers. They play this weekend and after the three game series, the division will either be tighter with three teams racing towards the top, of the Brewers and Cubs will distance themselves from St. Louis.

*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables

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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