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 preview the College World Series finals, discuss the recent Mets drama, take a look at Albert Pujols first-and-last trip to St. Louis as an Angel, and reference the Yankees slugging power.
All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
6-0 - Combined record of Vanderbilt and Michigan who will play one another in a best-of-three College World Series final matchup. Michigan was not expected to even make it to Omaha, but they’ve played great so far in the tournament. Vanderbilt is the favorite going into the start of the series Monday night, but both teams are playing the best they’ve played all year.
3 - Consecutive walk off home runs for the Dodgers who beat the Rockies three straight on three game winning dingers, all by rookies. On Friday night, Matt Beaty broke the 2-2 bottom of the ninth tie to walk-it-off, on Saturday, Alex Verdugo hit a solo shot in the 11th, and yesterday, rookie Will Smith was the walk-off hero. Rough weekend series for Colorado!
27 - Home runs by Mets’ rookie Peter Alonso, who set the franchise record for most home runs by a rookie, and also set the National League record for most rookie homers before the All Star game. Alonso has been the only positive for the Mets who as usual, had to deal with Mets-ish drama over the weekend…
114-126 - Mickey Calloway’s career managerial record with the Mets. It’s been a rough-go recently, as Calloway got into an altercation with Mets beat writer Tim Healer. Tensions are running high in New York, and it’s likley that Calloway will be suspended by either the team or the league.
The Mets also fired their pitching coach earlier in the week piling on the drama.
4 - Hits for Albert Pujols in 12 at bats (and one walk) in his homecoming to St. Louis. The weekend series served as the first, and likely last, time Pujols played against the Cardinals. The Cards took two of three games, but Pujols hit a home run on Saturday. The most comical part of the weekend was when Michael Wacha walked Pujols and received boos.
80 - Game suspension for Frankie Montas who was busted for PEDs last week. He’s been an effective pitcher for Oakland, but after a positive test for Ostarine, he will be taking a fairly long unpaid vacation.
3 - Men still at-large in connection with the David Ortiz attempted murder. The recent news out of the Dominican Republic was that the case is one of mistaken identity, and that Ortiz was not the intended target. In the meantime, Ortiz is recovering in Boston after surgery. Stay tuned as this wild story develops.
2 - Cities that MLB is exploring have the Rays play in, with them splitting time in St. Pete and Montreal. The absurdity of the proposal gets even worse, as the plan would be to build TWO new stadiums for the team to split time. This proposal is likely nothing more than leverage to bully one of the cities into building a publicly-funded stadium, and/or to do due diligence for a permanent relocation to Montreal while controlling the narrative of a dual-city proposal that will likely never come to pass.
53 - Innings thrown by Rich Hill who will be sidelined through at least August due to a strained flexor tendon in his left elbow. He left his last start after just an inning, and an MRI revealed the bad news. The Dodgers have a commanding lead in the West, so provided they can get him back in good shape for October, the impact could be minimal to the team.
1 - ‘Professional’ inside-the-park home run for Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, who hit the homer in the Yankees Old Timers’ Day game on Saturday. I don’t think of Mo as an old-timer, but the annual game of retired Yankees tradition is a fun one despite the moniker.
250 - Career wins for CC Sabathia, who becomes the 48th member of the 250-wins club, and is one of only 14 MLB pitchers to earn that many wins and notch 3,000 strikeouts. Sabathia is only the third African-American pitcher to get to the 250 mark, along with Bob Gibson (251) and Ferguson Jenkins (284). Hopefully CC serves as an inspiration to get more diversity on the mound in the future.
26 - Consecutive game the Yankees have hit a home run. With Aaron Judge back in the lineup, the New York 1-9 is more potent than any in the league. That offense powered CC to win 250, and helped them sweep the Rays in three games and take thee-of-four from the Astros last week.
Matchups to Watch
Monday, June 24
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. Zack Grienke (ARI), 9:40 ET
A classic matchup of two veterans, Kershaw is coming off a seven inning shutout against the Giants. Grienke may not be in a DBacks uniform for the remainder of the year, if he gets dealt to a contender (and he waives his no-trade clause) remains to be seen. With the full trade deadline this July, time’s running short for Arizona to find the right suitor.
Tuesday, June 25
Blake Snell (TB) v. Kyle Gibson (MIN), 8:10 ET
The Rays had a turbulent week, with rumors of a team move, a sweep at the hands of their biggest rival in the East, in part due to Blake Snell’s worst performance of his career. Snell got one out and gave up six earned runs on two hits and four walks against New York. He’ll try to get back on track against a Twins team that has a commanding lead in the AL Central.
Wednesday, June 26
Dallas Keuchel (ATL) v. Yu Darvish (CHC), 8:40 ET
Keuchel made his 2019 debut last Friday in a five inning performance three-run performance against the Nationals. He takes on the first-place Cubs, who have overcome a horrible season so far by Yu Darvish. In 85 innings he has given up 45 runs, and 16 home runs.
Thursday, June 27
Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) v. Peter Lambert (COL), 8:40 ET
Ryu has been spectacular this season and has been nothing short of an ‘ace’ for the Dodgers. He has a 1.27 ERA through 99 innings, having given up only 14 total runs. His miniscule 1.6 walk rate has contributed to a career year and resurgence for Ryu. Let’s see what he can do in Denver, where offense comes easy.
Saturday, June 29
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) v. Brian Johnson, 1:10 ET // 6:10 GT
The series between bitter rivals will be hosted in London this upcoming weekend. The games will be played in London Stadium, where straightaway center will be a cosy 385 feet from home. Festivities will include a mascot race with Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster.
Dakota Hudson (STL) v. Chris Paddack (SD), 10:10 ET
Paddack has had a rough June so far, as he’s been on the shuttle going down to the minors supposedly to limit innings (and likely to limit service-time), and he took a major step-back from where he was performance-wise earlier this year. He tries to get it back on track with a St. Louis team that is trying to keep pace with the Brewers and Cubs atop the NL Central.
Sunday, June 30
Trevor Williams (PIT) v. Zach Davis (MIL), 2:10 ET
The Brewers are neck-in-neck with the Cubs, and have a fairly easy week against two pushover teams in the Mariners and Pirates. A strong week would go a long way, as the Cubs face Atlanta earlier in the week. Davis faces Marco Gonzales to start the week on Tuesday, then finishes up against the last place Buccos.
*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables
Ed’s note: Frankie Montas is a starting pitcher for the Oakland Athletics.