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Marty’s musings: storylines from one week into the shortened season

Over a week into the season, and postponements and illnesses overshadow what’s happening on the field. 

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/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.

We’re a little over a week into the new abbreviated season, but the ‘60 games in 66 days idea’ has already come to a crashing halt, with several teams out-for-the-count due to the spread of COVID among players and staff. Today we’ll take a look at some of the on-the-field-storylines, but the reality is there’s a major damper on the whole endeavor.

News & Notes

6 - Teams ended up having games postponed this weekend, as COVID-19 ravaged the Marlins, had a major impact on the Cardinals, and affected the Phillies, Blue Jays and Brewers.

5 - Consecutive games with a home run for Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge. Judge has been in mid-season form for his first eight games, smashing six homers, and posting a .903 slugging percentage.

1 ⅔ - Innings pitched over two starts for Shohei Ohtani, who has allowed seven earned runs and walked eight batters. It’s bad news for Ohtani, bad news for the Angels, and bad news for baseball, as this sort of performance will pretty quickly knock Ohtani into the lineup as a one-way player if it continues.

7 - Inning double-headers are expected, as teams need to catch-up from the COVID postponements. Rob Manfred and the MLBPA are discussing how to best get in 60 games when they did not leave much room on the calendar for make-ups, and postponements are becoming commonplace.

8 - Games Yoenis Cespedes played for the Mets this season before going AWOL, and opting-out of the season seemingly without telling anyone. It’s a pretty Mets-thing to happen, especially the botched communication.

30+ - Pitchers have been put on the injured list so far into this short season. Clayton Kershaw missed Opening Day, but came out strong in his first outing of the season on Sunday, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber, and Miles Mikolas are all likely done for the year. While it’s impossible to isolate the injuries to a start-and-stop training program, it’s having a major impact on teams across the league.

8 - Game suspension for Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly, who threw a 3-0 ball behind Alex Bregman in a pretty obvious attempt at vigilante justice. Kelly is appealing the suspension,which is likely to get shortened, but this won’t be the last time the Astros are beaned.

Series of Note

Yankees v. Phillies

The Yankees look like the best team in baseball currently, having won six in a row, and posting a 7-1 record. New York takes on the Phillies who haven’t played a game in over a week. This will be an interesting test to see how teams bounce-back from elongated COVID breaks.

Dodgers v. Padres

San Diego is off to a decent start, with them and the Rockies keeping pace with LA through the first week of the season. This week they can make a strong statement that they’re legitimate if they win the series against the Dodgers.

Indians v. White Sox

The Twins are off to a hot 7-2 start, so it’s possible these two teams are playing for second, but if there’s an opportunity to separate from the middle-of-the-pack in the AL Central, this week would be a good time.

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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