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 two key free agents finally land with new teams, and Chris Sale and Miguel Cabrera show flashes of their greatness...though it seems one is more likely to stick, and a no-hitter in the College World Series.
All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
2 - Long-awaited free agent pitching signings that went down after day one of the MLB draft last week. Dallas Keuchel signed with the Braves, who edged out the Yankees to give the former Cy Young winner a one-year $13 million deal. Keuchel has pitched in various simulated games throughout his unemployed season, so may be positioned to join the team next week.
Closer Craig Kimbrel signed with the Chicago Cubs, a first-place team that is in need of some bullpen depth.
1:1 - Draft selection of Adley Rutschman by the Baltimore Orioles with the first pick in the 2019 MLB draft. The Oregon State switch-hitting catcher earned Pac-12 Player of the Year accolades last season.
6/1/13 - The last time Miguel Cabrera hit a grand slam, something he did last week against Tampa Bay. A shadow of his former self, the 36 year old DH does on occasion show signs of the player he was just a few years ago.
4 - Game winning streak the Marlins put together last week. They took two-out-of-three against both San Diego and Milwaukee. They undid the success however by then losing four consecutive games. So it goes in Miami this season where the Fish are 23-40 and in dead-last in the NL East.
200 - Career home runs for Rangers veteran Shin-Soo Choo. Choo is the first Asian-born player to reach the 200 career milestone. In 14 years in the league, he has posted 35 wins per FanGraphs.
19 - Strikeouts and only two walks in a complete-game, 131-pitch no hitter for Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker. He finished the game striking out the side helping Vanderbilt beat Duke to reach the regional finals en route to the double-elimination College World Series.
59 - Games for the Phillies Andrew McCutchen, who tore his ACL last week and is out for the remainder of the season. Cutch was having a decent year, putting up 1.7 wins and posting a .256/.378/.457 slash line.
102 - Pitches it took Chris Sale to throw a complete game against the hapless Royals. He allowed only three hits in the shutout, and he put up a 12:0 strikeout to walk rate.
51 - Of his last 52 innings in which Hyun-Jin Ryu has gone giving up zero runs. The only ‘bad’ inning was a two-run inning on May 25th against Pittsburgh. Ryu is 7-0 with a 0.75 ERA, and has been one of, if not ‘the best’, pitcher in the National League this season.
13 - National championships for the UCLA women’s softball team, which notched their latest last week by beating the Oklahoma Sooners on a walkoff. It is UCLA’s 118th NCAA sporting title.
Matchups to Watch
Monday, June 10
Mike Minor (TEX) v. Chris Sale (BOS), 7:10 ET
Boston is coming off a series loss against the second-place Rays, and is having trouble getting consecutive wins together. Chris Sale is looking to continue to take-off from his dominant start against Kansas City last week. Meanwhile, Texas is four games above .500, and very much in the wild card hunt going into mid-June.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) v. Griffin Canning (LAA), 10:0 ET
Ryu’s dominance is something to behold. He’ll try to add to his 52/53 scoreless innings streak against the Angels. At this point, most of Ryu’s starts are must-watch tv.
Tuesday, June 11
Zack Wheeler (NYM) v. James Paxton (NYY), 7:05 ET
The NY-Subway Series doesn’t have the allure it did 20 years ago, but it’s still a fun rivalry to watch. In his last three games combined, Paxton has only thrown 11 ⅔ innings. Perhaps he can put together a solid start against the Mets, who have won four-of-their-last-five games.
Wednesday, June 12
Brandon Woodruff (MIL) v. Justin Verlander (HOU), 8:10 ET
Two of the best teams in baseball square off this week, with 8-1 Woodruff taking on Houston vet, the always effective, Justin Verlander. Although the ‘stros look like they’re cruising to another division title, the Brewers need to play well against strong teams to keep-pace with the Cubs.
Thursday, June 13
Jon Lester (CHC) v. Clayton Kershaw (LAD), 10:10 ET
Although neither southpaw is in their prime, this could very easily be an NLCS game-one matchup come October. Lester has been roughed-up in four of his last five starts, while Kershaw has posted quality starts in four of his last five outings.
Friday, June 14
Nick Pivetta (PHI) v. Max Fried (ATL), 7:20 ET
While it looked like it could have been a four-team race to the finish in the NL East, it’s the Braves and Phillies who have been jockeying for the first spot. This weekend, the Phils visit the Braves, with the winner of the series very likely to leave town in first place.
Sunday, June 16
Jose Quintana (CHC) v. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD), 7:10 ET
Sunday’s national game features the last of a four-game set with the Cubs visiting the Dodgers. This will be Ryu’s big-test, as he is yet to face an offense as good as Chicago’s.
*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables