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 Orioles make a splash by finally sending Manny Machado to a contender, Shin-soo Choo’s on-base streak come to an end, and Matt Carpenter continues to rake. All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
45 - Home runs for Bryce Harper who won his hometown, home run derby on Monday night. Harper weeked past Kyle Schwarber 19-18 in the final round. His longest homer was a 473 foot bomb.
7 - Consecutive All Star game victories American League. The AL won Tuesday night’s slug-fest, 8-6 in ten innings.
10 - Home runs in the All Star Game, combined with 25 strikeouts. The ten home runs destroyed the previous All Star Game record of six, and included three extra-inning dingers. The game was a microcosm of the trend in baseball for more long-balls and more strikeouts. Few can say they weren’t entertained by the game.
5 - Prospects given up by the Dodgers in their acquisition of shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado. LA managed to not give up their top prospects, because Machado is a classic ‘rental’ player, who they are unlikely to sign. The pathetic Orioles are not in full-rebuild mode.
0-4 - Shin-Soo Choo’s batting line on Saturday night, thus ending his 52-game on-base streak. During the streak, Choo posted a .337/.468/.588 slash line, good for a 187 wRC+.
1.1 - Second-half fWAR for the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter, who has been on an absolute tear recently. He leads all National League position players in total fWAR, with 4.3 wins, and has 25 home runs on the season.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, July 24
Kenta Maeda (LAD) v. Aaron Nola (PHI), 7:05 ET
Both the Dodgers and Phillies are jockeying to gain some distance in their respective divisional races. This week, the Dodgers fly east, kicking off their east coast swing against the Phillies, before traveling down to Atlanta, to take on the other NL East contender.
Wednesday, July 25
Jameson Taillon (PIT) v. Trevor Bauer (CLE), 1:10 ET
Pittsburgh and Cleveland have a strong football rivalry, but their baseball rivalry is pretty lacking. Nevertheless, with the Pirates’ unexpected recent surge (they are on a nine game winning streak and have won 11 of their last 12 games), the Indians trying to show they can keep pace with the beasts of the AL (Red Sox and Astros), this series should be fun.
Charlie Morton (HOU) v. Jon Gray (COL), 8:40 ET
The Astros are vying for the top seed in the AL, chasing down the Red Sox who don’t seem to ever lose. The Rockies are right on the Dodgers’ heels, but have yet to spend any time in first place this year. If Colorado is going to become a true contender to Los Angeles, they need strong performances from Jon Gray. Can’t think of a better way for him to show he’s up for the challenge than against a potent Houston lineup.
Friday, July 27
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. Anibal Sanchez (ATL), 7:35 ET
Depending on how the series against Philadelphia goes, this could be a test for the Dodgers and Braves. Kershaw has been effective of late, but has yet to complete seven innings since mid-April.
*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables