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, the Yankees and Red Sox play a non-competitive three-game series in the Bronx, the Astros continue to outscore their opponents by a ton, and we crown a new College World Series champ. All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
7 - Shutouts thrown against the Washington Nationals this past June. Last year, DC was shutout in seven games all season. The Nats had an underwhelming first-half, and sit in third place, six games behind the division leading Braves and three games behind the second-place Phillies.
6 - Game season sweep the Red Sox put on the Angels. The Red Sox continue to jockey with the Yankees for first place in the East, while the Angels continue to slip down in the standings amidst injuries, and under-performance by players other than Mike Trout.
7 - Run difference in the closest game in the three-game Yankees/Red Sox series. The Yanks smoked the Sox Monday and Sunday, when Eduardo Rodriguez and David Price got destroyed by the dangerous Yankees’ lineup. Saturday was the opposite, with Sonny Gray getting smacked around by Boston in an 11-0 loss. The teams are virtually tied for first, and both are on track for 100+ wins.
3 - Home runs hit by Aaron Hicks Sunday night, the Yankees thrashing of David Price and the Boston bullpen. Hicks has eight home runs all season.
25 - Home runs by J.D. Martinez, who set the Red Sox team record for most homers before July. Last year Boston was dead last in AL homers, but have found a power-savior in Martinez who has been worth every penny of his contract in year one.
173 - The Astros run differential after 81 games. It’s the best run differential for any MLB team after 81 games since 1939. The Astros are only ½ game in front of the mariners who have kept pace despite Houston’s soft-schedule through most of June.
1500 - Career strikeouts for Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner K’d the Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu to start the game on Wednesday night. It only took him 239 career games to reach the 1,500 mark, the fourth fastest in the live ball era. Only Randy Johnson, Clayton Kershaw, and David Price reached the mark faster.
98 - Million dollar payroll for the NL Central leading Brewers. Milwaukee has the lowest payroll in the National league, and lead the cubs by ½ a game. They are tied with the Braves for the most wins in the National League.
1 - Out needed by Arkansas to close out the College World Series in two games...but alas, a potential foul out dropped between three players with two outs in the ninth inning, and Oregon State capitalized to win games two and three to take home the CWS title.
13 - Games Mike Trout went without an extra base hit until his home run against the Orioles on June 29th. It’s the longest extra-base hit drought of his career. Trout has not gone more than two consecutive games without reaching base since he became a full time big leaguer in 2012 and he’s only gone back to back 0-fer 14 times in his carer.
0 - American League teams the Orioles defeated in the entire month of June. The O’s went 0-15 against all AL teams last month, and sat 32 games behind the Red Sox to end the month; it’s the worst-ever in the divisional era that began in 1969.
Matchups to Watch
Monday, July 2
Rick Porcello (BOS) v. Max Scherzer (WAS), 7:05 ET
The Nationals are quite a bit back in the division, and face one of the best AL teams this week in an interleague matchup. Scherzer has been nothing short of masterful, and it will be fun to see what he can do with a Red Sox lineup who showed their pop in the Bronx on Saturday, but laid an egg both Friday and Sunday.
Tuesday, July 3
Sean Newcomb (ATL) v. Domingo German (NYY), 7:05 ET
Newcomb has really blossomed this year, though he will be put to the test against one of the best lineups in baseball. This interleague matchup pits the sophomore ‘Baby Bombers’ against a Braves team that reminds us of last year’s Yankees.
Wednesday, July 4
Francisco Liriano (DET) v. Jose Quintana (CHC), 2:20 ET
As the Cubs continue to challenge the Brewers, they are looking for an improved second-half from Quintana. Quintana’s walk rate and strikeout rate have both gone in the wrong direction this year. Additionally, I’ll be at this game so send a note to say hello @smartano!
Milo Mikolas (STL) v. Patrick Corbin (ARI), 10:10 ET
The Cardinals are looking up at both Milwaukee and Chicago, and need to turn it around to position themselves to buy at the deadline. The DBacks are continuing to hold off the Dodgers, with Corbin pitching to his potential.
Thursday, July 5
Tyler Skaggs (LAA) v. Marco Gonzalez (SEA), 10:10 ET
Skaggs was one of the best pitchers in baseball in June, posting 32 solid innings of only thee runs. Although the Angels seem to be falling apart at the seams, they can still impact the AL West race.
Saturday, July 7
Carlos Martinez (STL) v. Madison Bumgarner (SF), 10:10 ET
There should be plenty of strikeouts in this one, as two flamethrowers of the NL face-off against one another. While the Cardinals and Giants are currently on the outside looking in, both have plenty of time to make up to get back into their respective divisional races.
*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