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 Vanderbilt takes home another College World Series, the Yankees slug past the Red Sox in London, and the Indians have themselves a month.
All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
3 - Games it took Vanderbilt to defeat underdog, Cinderella-story Michigan, to win the 2019 College World Series. Michigan was well-positioned after taking game one of the three-game series, but lost two in a row, including an 8-2 thrashing in the deciding game three.
The Most Outstanding Player award went to Vandy starting pitcher Kumar Rocker, who saved the season for the Commodores in game two, going 6 ⅓ innings and giving up only one run. He struck out 11 in the outing and looked like the dominant pitcher who threw a no hitter in the regional finals against Duke last month.
50 - Runs scored in a two-game London series. The Yankees potent offense put on a show in the adapted multi-purpose, but definitely NOT a baseball stadium. New York beat Boston with a 17-13 football score on Saturday — after the first inning, it was 6-6! On Sunday, Boston’s bullpen melted down in the seventh inning, and turned a late-inning 4-2 lead into an eventual 12-8 loss.
31 - Current consecutive games streak in which the Yankees have hit a home run. They set the MLB record last week, when they bested the 2002 Rangers’ record of 27 consecutive games with a homer. The potent Yankee offense exploded in London, posting 29 runs in two games.
4 - Game sweep of the Mets by the Phillies who benefited from having the Mets and Marlins on the docket last week. It was a much needed reprieve following a seven game losing streak. Philly beat New York via two walk-offs in the four game series, and then went on to take two out of three from Miami. They are in second place. 5 1/2 games behind Atlanta, who they play this week.
5 - Consecutive games in which the Mets blew multi-run leads last week. On the season, the Mets have more blown saves (21) than saves (19). Manager Mickey Calloway does not seem capable of hitting on any of the right buttons as far as bullpen management, with Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz both giving up crucial winnable games last week.
9 - Different teams that Fernando Rodney has recorded a save after notching his first with the Nationals last week. DC acquired the 42-year-old from Oakland to try to salvage a leaky bullpen in what is looking more and more like a lost season in the nation’s capital.
.654 - June winning percentage for the Cleveland Indians, who posted a 17-9 June record. On May 31st, Cleveland was 28-29, 10 ½ games behind the division-leading Twins. They still trail the Twins by eight games in the division (because Minnesota never has a bad week), but have looked much better of late. They take on the Twins in their first series after next week’s All Star Game.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday, July 2
Nick Pivetta (PHI) v. Dallas Keuchel (ATL), 7:20 ET
The Phillies got back on track beating up on the bottom of the division, but they still trail the Braves in the standings by 5 ½ games. They’ll need to take two of three to feel good about their divisional hopes entering the All Star break. On the other side, the Braves are looking to see if Dallas Keuchel can return to form, he’s been less than stellar in his first couple starts.
Wednesday, July 3
Chris Sale (BOS) v. Sean Reid-Foley (TOR), 7:07 ET
Sale and Boston really need to get back on track quickly after an embarrassing display in the London series. They are 11 games out of first place, and four games behind the Rays for second place in the East. They play Toronto and Detroit to close out the first-half, teams they should easily beat, but we’ll see.
Thursday, July 4
Jose Berrios (MIN) v. Jordan Lyles (OAK), 4:07 ET
Oakland is right in the thick of the wild card race, only ½ game back of the second slot. They take on the AL-best Twins this week, with a fun late-afternoon matchup on the Fourth of July.
JA Happ (NYY) v. Brendan McKay (TB), 5:10 ET
Not only are the Rays likely the best chance to take down the Yankees in the East (probably not happening), they recently called up two-way prospect, Brendan McKay, who pitched six scoreless innings against the Rangers last Saturday.
(The most notable thing about the schedule July 4th, is that only 24 teams play (including the Blue Jays...who are at home). Why six American fan bases are left without a game to watch on America’s Independence Day is frustrating. Scheduling is hard, but c’mon.)
Saturday, July 6
Glenn Sparkman (KC) v. Max Scherzer (WAS), 4:05 ET
Scherzer won’t play in the All Star Game since he’s starting on Saturday, but after his last couple outings, his starts are must-watch tv. He has only given up five earned runs in his last 45 innings, and posted his 24th 10+:0 strikeout:walk game in his return to Detroit last week.
Sunday, July 7
American League Futures’ Team v. National League Future’s Team, 7:00 ET
In the perennially-underrated event of All Star weekend, the Future’s game will be on MLB Network on Sunday night. The format is different than the past US v. The World format, pitting AL Future All Stars against their NL counterparts. MLB announced the rosters this week, and this game should be fun to watch; it always is.
*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