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 Cody Bellinger’s hot start, Toronto’s newest shiny prospect, and the Red Sox playoff odds, which continue to plummet.
All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
49.2 - Percent of FanGraphs’ projected playoff odds for the Red Sox, who topped 90 percent at the start of the season, but not are a coin-toss to make the playoffs, following an 11-17 start. The Rays sit in first place, but it’s the Yankees who are favored to win the American League East.
256 - wRC+ for Cody Bellinger, who has posted a red-hot April. Bellinger is tied with Christian Yelich for the MLB lead with 14 home runs, and leads the league in runs, hits, all three slash categories, and set an MLB record for the most total bases before May, with 94. It’s early in the season, but man, that’s a lot of bold ink.
27 - Number donned by MLB number one prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr. who made his Major League debut in Toronto on Friday night. Guerrero is wearing the same number as his Hall-of-Fame father, and posted a double for his first MLB hit.
2503 - Career strikeouts for Max Scherzer, who went over the 2,500 mark against the Padres on Friday night. While he’s still 35th on the all-time list, and a ways behind number 34, Felix Hernandez, only Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson accumulated 2,500 Ks in less time.
16 - Plate appearances this year for Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke, sofar he has hit two doubles, two home runs, a triple, and earned one walk. He’s currently hitting .4262 with a .500 OBP. This run will be fun while it lasts.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, April 30
CC Sabathia v. Merrill Kelly, 9:40 ET
CC is looking to join the 3,000 strikeout club on Tuesday night. He will be taking his career 2,997 Ks to the mound against the DBacks in the last series of a West Coast stretch. He will be the 17th addition to the 3,000 strikeout club.
Wednesday, May 1
Miles Mikolas (STL) v. Max Scherzer (WAS), 7:05 ET
The Nationals are 12-14, three games behind the Phillies. The Cardinals meanwhile are off to a hot-start, and are in first place, 2.5 games ahead of the Cubs. A good showing against the Cardinals this week will do wonders for a DC team that doesn’t quite know where they stand in a competitive NL East. Scherzer has been inconsistent this year, but was dominant in his last outing, where he struck out 10 Padres, walked zero, and went seven strong innings. Mikolas has struggled this year, and in his last outing he gave up three homers in a forgettable five-inning performance against the Reds.
Thursday, May 2
Tyler Mahle (CIN) v. Noah Syndergaard (NYM), 12:10 ET
Is it time to worry about Noah Syndergaard? In six starts to 2019, he has only posted one quality start, and the five home runs and ten walks in only 34 innings is concerning. He has not gone more than five innings since the 10th of April. A matinee against the Reds would be a great place to turn it around in May.
Friday, May 3
Chris Sale (BOS) v. Renaldo López (CHW), 8:10 ET
While Chris Sale’s homecoming back to the southside of Chicago is interesting enough, it’s Renaldo López who is coming off a dominating start. On Sunday, López struck out 14 batters in only six innings. It’s either feast-or-famine with López, who has given up seven home runs in just 31 innings, and either walked or struckout 56 of the 144 batters he’s faced this year.
Saturday, May 4
Rich Hill (LAD) v. Nick Margevicius (SD), 8:40 ET
Rich Hill reluctantly started a rehab assignment at the Dodgers request, and he promptly struck out 16 hitters in five innings. He rejoined the Dodgers rotation and went a solid six innings against the Pirates. San Diego has been a blast to watch this season, with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, and Chris Paddock leading the way. They are keeping pace with LA in the West, but this week’s series will show how they stack up against the potent Dodgers.
*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