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Marty’s musings: Ohtani dazzles in Denver

A fun All Star week clears the way for the dog-days of summer. 

2021 T-Mobile Home Run Derby Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via 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 key pitching matchups.

Last week MLB did a great job showcasing two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani participated in the home run derby, started the game, and served as the AL’s designated hitter. Quite a two-day span!

News & Notes

72 - Dingers hit by Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso across three rounds of the home run derby. Alonso earned his second win in as many Home Run Derbies, and took home the $1 million check. Not a bad night for a guy whose 2021 salary is a modest $550,000.

Alonso bested cancer-survivor Trey Mancini by one home run in the final round, and next-day starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani lost in the first round to Joan Soto on a fun three-pitch-swing off. Positive stories all-around!

468 - Foot, monster home run hit by Vlad Guerrero Jr. in last Tuesday night’s All Star game. Between his immense power, and the thin air of Denver, Guerrero put on a show and won the Ted Williams Award as the game’s most valuable player.

7 - Unanswered runs for the Mets on Sunday, who overcame a first inning 6-0 deficit to defeat the lowly Pirates 7-6. Two runs in the ninth inning capped up a great comeback win. New York remains two games ahead of the Phillies for first place in the NL East.

2024 - The earliest free agency year for 34-year-old Lance Lynn. The veteran White Sox starter signed a two year extension with the Sox. He’s tossed over 90 innings for Chicago this year with an impressive RA9 of 2.38

7/30 - The day that the Blue Jays can return to play at home in Toronto. With COVID restrictions easing, and the border opening slowly, the Canadian government gave the Jays an exemption on border restrictions so they can play most of the second half at home.

2 - Seasons and likely done for the seven-inning double-headers and extra innings runner-on-second. MLB announced that both COVID-adjusted rules are likely to disappear going into next season. Good riddance gimmicky extra inning rules!

Injury Report

Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom is on the injured list with forearm tightness.

Mets’ Shortstop Francisco Lindor is out indefinitely with a strained oblique.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, July 19

Shohei Ohtani (LAA) v. Cole Irvin (OAK), 9:40 ET

In case you didn’t get enough of Ohtani-fest last week, he’s set to take on the first Athletics in his first start fo the second half. The Angels are a .500 team, but the A’s are only 3 ½ games behind division leading Houston for first place in the AL West.

Tuesday, July 20

TBD (SD) v. Touki Toussant (ATL), 7:20 ET

Braves’ starter Toussant makes his season debut after working through a shoulder injury since Spring Training. He joins Atlanta’s rotation at a pivotal time, as the Braves are two games under .500 and four games behind New York. The Padres, despite having a better record than every NL East team, unfortunately is in third place behind the Giants and Dodgers.

Wednesday, July 21

Marcus Stroman (NYM) v. Jeff Hoffman (CIN), 7:10 ET

With deGrom shelved for who-knows-how-long, the Mets will look to their other starters to keep them afloat and atop the NL East. The Reds are in a distant second place behind the Brewers who took over the Central before the break.

Thursday, July 22

Anthony DeSclafani (SF) v. Walker Buehler (LAD), 10:10 ET

San Francisco has been in sole position of first place in the NL West since Memorial Day. They’re only one game up on the Dodgers, with this game being the last game of an important four-game set.

Friday, July 23

Gerrit Cole (NYY) v. Nathan Eovaldi (BOS), 7:10 ET

Since the Yankees and Red Sox didn’t play any games until June, the second half is loaded with New York / Boston matchups. Last weekend, despite numerous Yankee players testing positive for COVID, New York took two of three in the Bronx. They are still hovering just over .500, and are in fourth place in the East behind the division-leading Red Sox, the Rays, and the Blue Jays.

Sunday, July 25

Lance Lynn (CHW) v. Corbin Burnes (MIL), 7:10 ET

Both Central division leaders have a nice separation between themselves and the teams chasing them. This weekend, the Brewers host the White Sox in an interleague first-place matchup. Lance just inked a two year extension, and Burnes is coming off his first All Star game.

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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