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.
All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
105 - Home runs for the Minnesota Twins, who lead the Majors in homers. The surprisingly good 37-16 Twins lead Cleveland in the Central by double-digits, and have not be atop the division since April 18th.
48 - Games it took for Baltimore pitchers to allow 100 home runs. They are the fastest team to ever give up that many longballs, far outpacing the 2000 Royals who allowed 100 homers 57 games. The O’s are on pace to destroy the MLB record of 258 currently held by the 2016 Cincinnati Reds. It has not been pretty in Baltimore this spring and it doesn’t look like the summer will be much better. The Orioles sit in last place, nearly 20 games behind the Yankees.
6 - Year, seven million dollar contract that prospect Carter Stewart agreed to with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. After having spurned a low-ball, below-slot deal from the Braves after being drafted in last June’s draft, the righty pitcher will join the Japanese Pacific League. Stewart is a pioneer in this regard, and his potential success has the potential to pave the way for an exodus of young Americans (and perhaps Latin American) players to join foreign leagues. MLB better adjust quickly before this becomes a trend. If nothing else, Stewart will get a cultural experience of a lifetime.
69 - Years-of-age for Bill Buckner, who passed away over the Memorial Day weekend after a battle with dementia. Buckner will unfortunately always be associated with the biggest blunder in World Series history, but he proved a good sport about it later in life, even appearing in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
4 - Hall of Famers that Mike Trout surpassed in Baseball Reference bWAR. Despite not yet being 28 years old, Trout passed Don Sutton, Don Drysdale, Roberto Alomar, and Ernie Banks this month. He seems to be improving as a hitter, which is the craziest part!
718 - Triple plays in the Majors going back to 1876. The most recent came on Wednesday in the White Sox Astros game. Jake Marisnick’s hotshot grounder to third set up the triple play and got Ivan Nova out of a third inning game.
19 - Of Cody Bellinger’s 72 total hits have been home runs. Bellinger leads all of baseball with 19 homers, and is posting a .387/.471/.769 slash line. His overinflated .381 BABIP will absolutely regress, but even taking down 80 points of batting average positions him for sweet numbers. So far, in less than one-third of a season, he has posted nearly 4.5 wins per FanGraphs’ WAR.
5 - May wins the Mariners put up prior to Memorial Day, this following a .500 April, which included a six game losing streak. Despite a torrid 13-2 start, it has been a straight nosedive for Seattle, which looks like it’s destined for another season missing the playoffs.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, May 28
Zach Davies (MIL) v. Martin Perez (MIN), 8:10 ET
The Twins are the toast of baseball right now, and have cruised to a double-digit divisional lead, while the Brewers remain neck-in-neck with the Cubs. While Chicago plays the NL East leading Phillies, they’ll have their hands full with the homer-happy Twins.
Wednesday, May 29
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) v. Walker Buehler (LAD), 10:10 ET
Both Thor and Buehler have under-performed this season, though the Dodgers have been able to endure the lousy innings Buehler has tossed. The Mets were licking their wounds after an embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of the hapless Marlins. To get back on track in the NL East, they’ll have to face a challenging and powerful Dodgers lineup.
Thursday, May 30
Chris Sale (BOS) v. J.A. Happ (NYY), 7:05 ET
In his last start against Houston, Chris Sale did not look like the dominant pitcher we’ve seen this year. He’s varied from a 17-strikeout game to not being able to go more than five innings. The Red Sox’ awful start positioned them way behind the cobbled-together Yankees. With the Yankees in the driver’s seat in the East, Boston can make a statement in the Bronx this weekend.
Friday, May 31
Jake Arrieta (PHI) v. Kenta Maeda (LAD), 10:10 ET
The Phillies make their first trip out to Chavez Ravine, pitting two division leaders to take one another on in a three-game set next weekend. Arrieta has not been his old Cy Young self, but he’s been effective enough, with a 3.66 ERA and a 4.33 FIP.
Saturday, June 1
Justin Verlander (HOU) v. Brett Anderson (OAK), 10:07 ET
The Athletics are coming into Tuesday on a ten-game winning streak, trying to close the gap between them and the divisional leading Astros.
*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables