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 the Twins’ making franchise history, the Yankees recent series dominance over the Red Sox, and an update on Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel’s free agency.
All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
58 - Games it has taken the Minnesota Twins to get to 40 wins. It’s the fastest ever for a franchise whose history goes back to 1901, when you include the original Washington Senators. The Twins lead the AL Central by 11 ½ games over both the White Sox and Indians, who each have a below-.500, 29-30 record.
9 - Consecutive regular season series the Yankees have taken from the Red Sox. It happened again over the weekend, as New York took two of three games over the weekend, after having Thursday night’s game rained out. The Yankees have a commanding 8 ½ game lead over Boston and a 2 ½ game lead over Tampa Bay.
6 - Pitchers have at least six games of 15+ strikeouts, including the Nationals Max Scherzer, who joined the elite list on Sunday. Over eight innings, Scherzer K’d 15, gave up only one run on three hits and one walk.
1,135 - Total MLB home runs in May, a Major League record. MLB sluggers bested the previous month record, August 2017’s 1,119 home runs.
5 - Consecutive losses for the Athletics, who went undefeated between May 16th and May 27th. Though their bullpen overall has been excellence, and they’ve hit a decent amount of home runs, they were swept at the hands of the division-leading Astros over the weekend, bringing them back to earth.
300 - Home runs for Jay Bruce, who the Mariners traded to the Phillies last week, adding to their outfield depth and giving them a left-handed bat. It appears the selloff has started in Seattle, who after a 13-2 start, sit dead-last in the AL West, 16 ½ games behind the Astros.
0 - Draft pick compensation required for teams to now sign Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel. Rumor has it that teams do not think the pitchers will be ready before July, so it will be interesting to see if they are added in the next week or two.
3 - Divisions have second-place teams within three games of the division leader. The Yankees lead the Rays by 2 ½, the Brewers lead the Cubs by 1 ½, and the Phillies lead the Braves by a game. The other five divisional leaders have massive leads, and are heavy-favorites to win their respective divisions, even though we’re still in early-June.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, June 4
Madison Bumgarner (SF) v. Noah Syndergaard (NYM), 7:10 ET
Neither Bumgarner nor Syndergaard have been the elite power pitchers they were a couple years ago, but this is still a veteran marquis matchup for two teams that look to be floundering pretty badly, with the Mets five games under .500 and the Giants 10 games under .500.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) v. Taylor Clarke (ARI), 9:40 ET
Ryu is coming off a 44-of-45 inning scoreless streak, and has been one of the best pitchers in the National League. This week he takes on the Diamondbacks, who at .500 are on the bubble as to whether they should buy-or-sell as we enter the summer.
Wednesday, June 5
German Marquez (COL) v. Yu Darvish (CHC), 8:05 ET
Darvish has struggled mightily this season, but even so, Chicago is neck-in-neck with the Brewers for the division lead. The Rockies are 9-1 in their last ten games, including four walk-off wins. We’ll see if their luck will last against the Cubs.
Thursday, June 6
Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) v. Chris Archer (PIT), 12:35 ET
The Braves play the Marlins and Pirates this week, with an opportunity to show that they are the same class as the elite NL teams, and can beat-up on the weaklings. Thursday’s matinee pits two struggling starters.
Friday, June 7
Jack Flaherty (STL) v. Cole Hamels (CHC), 2:20 ET
The Brewers and Cubs make most of the news when discussing the NL Central, but the CArdinals are right behind them, and only three games out of first place. Next weekend’s series will be a fun-one to see if either team can separate from the other.
Saturday, June 8
Lucas Giolito (CHW) v. Brad Keller (KC), 2:15 ET
The White Sox are surprisingly hovering around .500, in no small part to the emergence of Lucas Giolito. Giolito is coming off a 7 ⅓ inning shutout against the Indians. He struck out nine and walked zero in the winning effort.
Jake Odorizzi (MIN) v. TBD (DET), 4:10 ET
Another AL Central matchup, it’s time to start paying attention to Jake Odorizzi. At the age of 29, he’s breaking out into the dominant pitcher the Rays always thought he was...only he’s dominating Tampa Bay! In his last outing, he went six innings against the Rays, allowed three hits and posted a 9:1 strikeout to walk rate.
*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