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 take a look at Christian Yelich’s week, a Dodgers home run streak, a very unexpected Joey Votto event, and a college baseball game that went 20 innings.
All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
8 - Home runs last week for reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich. He kicked off the week with a three-home run game against the Cardinals, and hit four homers in the first three games of the Brewers four-game set with the Dodgers.
32 - Consecutive games the Dodgers hit a home run. The streak goes back to 2018 and is a testament to the offensive firepower. Their 136 runs scores is the best in the NL, second in the majors to the Mariners 160.
1 - Series win for the Red Sox, who took all three games in a series with the first-place Rays. The Sox started 6-12, the worst start for any defending World Series champion since the 1999 Marlins started 5-13 after a major winter sell-off. The Red Sox are 9-13 and five games behind Tampa.
2 - Swings-and-misses on 125 fastballs for Sox’ ace Chris Sale. It’s the worst of all qualified pitchers who have thrown 75+ fastballs. Sale said he’s never felt more lost on the mound, and has never pitched this bad in his life.
6,827 - Plate appearances before Joey Votto popped-up to first base last Wednesday afternoon, in a rarest-of-rare events. The Dodgers Pedro Baez fell behind 3-1 in the count but got Votto to pop-up on a changeup that Cody Bellinger caught in foul territory.
20 - Innings, and six-and-a-half hour later, the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Clemson Tigers 3-2, in what would be the longest ever baseball game for either school. The SEC showdown dragged on past midnight.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, April 23
Zach Davies (MIL) v. Michael Wacha (STL), 7:45 ET
Davies has been excellent in his first four starts, having allowed only three earned runs in 22 ⅔ innings. The Cards and Brewers both trail the Pirates by one game in the standings.
Patrick Corbin (WAS) v. Kyle Freeland (COL), 8:40 ET
Neither the Nationals nor the Rockies are off to a strong start in 2019, and both are looking to turn it around against a team that was expected to do much more. Patrick Corbin has a 33:5 strikeout to walk rate this year. Freeland threw his best outing of the year against the Phillies his last time out, going six shutout innings, allowing only two hits, and walking zero.
Thursday, April 25
Zack Greinke (ARI) v. Jameson Taillon (PIT), 12:45 ET
The Pirates are surviving in first place thanks to excellent starting pitching, in part due to Jordan Lyles surprisingly good start. In 17 innings so far this year, he’s only allowed one run, a solo home run against the Cubs. The Diamondbacks are .500, at 11-11, three games behind the Dodgers.
Friday, April 26
Trevor Bauer (CLE) v. Colin McHugh (HOU), 8:10 ET
Bauer has gone at least 5 ⅔ innings in each of his first five starts, and is emerging as the ace of a staff that also includes Corey Kluber. The Astros put up a ten-game winning streak last week, but are still trying to catch the surprising Mariners who lead the AL West.
James Paxton (NYY) v. Madison Bumgarner (SF), 10:10 ET
The Yankees are the walking wounded at the moment, with nearly half their original 25-man roster on the injured list. Their injury news went from bad-to-worse last weekend, when Aaron Judge was added to the IL with a strained oblique. James Paxton has been a shining light in the rotation, and he’s coming off a 12-K strikeout game against the Royals. In a game that pits the Yankees a Giants, a rare matchup, it’s a great way to kickoff the series.
Saturday, April 27
Tyler Glasnow (TB) v. Chris Sale (BOS), 4:05 ET
Tampa is looking to get back at the Red Sox for a three-game sweep in Tampa last weekend. Chris Sale is looking to turn his season around after a miserable start to April.
*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