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 matchups.
This weekend we saw some red flags out of the Mets bullpen, the Astros may be losing their ace for the year, and Nelson Cruz lights up the White Sox.
News & Notes
0 - Fans in paid attendance on opening weekend. Although some team staff was able to enjoy games in-person, the stands are empty in these strange times. It’ll take some getting used to for sure, but MLB is back.
1 - Loss for every team in the majors over the weekend. Starting the first full week of the season, no team is undefeated and no team is winless. Every team is either 2-1 or 1-2 heading into Monday night’s action.
16 - Teams that will make the playoffs this year. The league announced the one-time adjustment on Opening Day. The top two teams from each division will make the postseason, as will two wild cards from each league. It’s good news for middle-of-the-road teams who need only get hot at the right time to make a deep playoff run.
7 - Seven runs batted in including two home runs for Twins veteran Nelson Cruz. The Twins took two-of-three from Chicago over the weekend.
1 - Blown save for Mets’ closer Edwin Diaz. Diaz struggled last season, though much of the issue was attributed to bad luck. Along with the White Sox (14), Giants (12), and Orioles (10) the Mets are one of four teams to already give up 10+ bullpen runs on the short season.
6 - Batters faced by Shohei Ohtani in his first pitching outing since September 2nd, 2018. Every Oakland hitter reached base, and he recorded zero outs. It was hardly the pitching homecoming he was hoping for, and his next outing is against Houston on Friday.
2 - Current aces on-the-shelf due to non-COVID related injuries. Clayton Kershaw who annually misses time due to a bad-back was a late-scratch from his start against the Giants and the Astros’ Justin Verlander is rumored to be out for the season due to forearm tightness, though he’s disputing those reports via Twitter.
Series of Note
This week teams take on some four-game series, some split in two different cities (for whatever reason).
Atlanta v. Tampa Bay, July 27th to 30th
In an unusual interleague matchup, two playoff teams from last year matchup. Both the Braves and the Rays have the chance to take their division, but neither is favored to do so thanks to the Nationals and Yankees.
Cleveland v. Minnesota, July 30th to August 2nd
In a wide open AL Central, the Indians and Twins make their first marks in a division-heavy schedule.
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