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Marty’s musings: the second half begins

The next-gen of sluggers breaks out in the Home Run Derby. 

2019 MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

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 miles and miles of home runs hit during the Home Run Derby, we discuss the All Star game, and prepare for the second half of the 2019 season.

All this news and more in this week’s Musings.

News and Notes

1 - Million dollar Home Run Derby prize taken home by Mets’ rookie, Pete Alonso. Alonso will make $550,000 this entire season due to his pre-arb commitment to the Mets, but he led a young class of rookies and sophomores who put on quite the show at the Home Run Derby in Cleveland on Monday night. Alonso is the third rookie to take home the trophy, the second in the modern iteration of the event.

79 - Total home runs hit in the semifinal round between Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson.

17 - 450-foot home runs by Derby runner-up, Vlad Guerrero Jr. Guerrero put on a show of his own, but fell short to Alonso. In total, Vlad hit 29 homers, good for 2.3 miles of home runs!

3 - Strikeouts on 19 pitches in the fifth inning of the All Star game last Tuesday night for Shane Bieber. The hometown hero looked dominant in his one inning of work, and considering no one else really shined individually in the game, Bieber took home the MVP award in a game the American League won 4-3.

83 - Year-old Bob Gibson announced last week that he’s been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The legendary flamethrower has been hospitalized over the last couple weeks. We send him all our best as he manages the toughest fight of his life.

13-0 - No hitter thrown by the Angels on Friday night, who took it to the Mariners in their first home game since the death of Tyler Skaggs. Everyone on the team wore Skaggs’ number 44, and rookie Taylor Cole combined his two no-hit innings with Felix Pena bringing the game home the following seven innings. The game started with a seven-run first inning. The combined no-no happened a day before Skaggs birthday.

96 ⅓ - Innings pitched for Andrew Cashner, the newest member of the Boston Red Sox. Boston acquired Cashner to help their inconsistent rotation, trading away outfield prospect Elio PRado and infielder Noelberth Romero. With the Orioles this season, Cashner struck out 66 batters and walked 29 over 96 innings; he will make his debut against Toronto on Tuesday night.

1970 - The year Jim Bouton’s Ball Four reached bookstores. The author of the controversial book summarizing the 1969 Seatle Pilots’ season passed away last week at the age of 80. Ball Four gave fans an unprecedented inside look at what happened off the field during a baseball season, where he discussed drug use, fights between members of the club, and general fraternization.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, July 15

Blake Snell (TB) v. James Paxton (NYY), 7:05

Both starters want to put the first half behind them as quickly as possible, especially Snell, who got absolutely blasted by the Yankees in his most recent start against the Bombers. The Rays trail the Yankees by six games in the East and lead Boston by four.

Tuesday, July 16

Walker Buehler (LAD) v. Vince Velasquez (PHI), 7:05 ET

The Phillies had a rough-go of it the latter part of the first half. Since June, they are 15-21, and currently sit 8 ½ games behind the division-leading Braves. They face the toughest team in the NL this week, but throw Kershaw on Monday, Buehler on Tuesday to start the four-game series. The Dodgers are coming off a series win against the Red Sox at Fenway.

Wednesday, July 17

Dallas Keuchel (ATL) v. Chase Anderson (MIL), 2:10 ET

Keuchel looks like he found his groove, in his last start, he made one mistake, giving up a solo home run in a seven inning, six hit performance against San Diego. The Brewers continue to nip at the heels of the Cubs, but face a Braves team that is running away with the NL East.

Friday, July 19

Mike Minor (TEX) v. Justin Verlander (HOU), 8:10 ET

It’s make-or-break time for Texas, that has a challenging scheduling coming up. They are unsure whether they are buyers or sellers, but this series against Houston will give some indication of which direction they may go. They’ll have their hands full with All Star Justin Verlander.

Sunday, July 21

TBD (WAS) v. Bryse Wilson (ATL), 7:08 ET

Don’t sleep on the Nationals, who are quietly making a wild card push that may position them for a decent playoff run. The Nats are 25-10 since June, and are six games above .500. They sit 1 ½ games over Philadelphia for the first wild card slot.

*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables

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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