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Marty’s musings: a wild week for divisional matchups

With some critical matchups the last week of July, there are some key series that will determine what team is best positioned heading into August.

Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Indians 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 key pitching matchups.

Last week the Red Sox took three-of-four games against the Yankees in dramatic fashion, the Rays upgraded their lineup adding a veteran slugger, and Cleveland has a new team nickname.

News & Notes

7 - No hit innings thrown by Yankees starter Domingo German, before an epic Yankee meltdown in the eighth inning on Sunday. For the second time in the series, the Yankees had the lead in the eighth inning and lost. The Yanks lost three-of-four-games at Fenway, with Sunday being particularly bad, as a 4-0 lead turned into a 5-4 loss. New York is nine games behind Boston and jockeying with Toronto for third and fourth place in the AL East.

106 - Years since Cleveland has changed their team name, and in 2022, the team announced they will be known as the Cleveland Guardians.

140 - wRC+ for Rays’ newcomer Nelson Cruz. Cruz was one of the free agent prizes coming into the deadline thanks to a cellar-dwelling Minnesota team that is 17 ½ games out of first place

41 - Age of newly acquired Mets’ starter Rich Hill. The Mets are devastated by injuries at the moment, but went out and acquired perennial injured Hill. When he’s healthy he’s terrific, and if he can be a stopgap in New York for a few weeks, it would be exceedingly helpful as the Mets fend-off .500 Philly and Atlanta.

2.9 - Wins above replacement for all star second baseball Adam Frazier, who the Pirates traded to the Padres last week. Pittsburgh is going nowhere this season, while the Pads are chasing the surprising first place Giants and juggernaut Dodgers.

5 - Days until the trade deadline, this upcoming Friday.

Injury Report

Mookie Betts hit the IL with a hip injury last week.

The Nationals scratched Max Scherzer from his start with triceps discomfort. While Stephen Strasburg’s neck is still not healthy enough for him to pitch.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, July 26

Kyle Muller (ATL) v. Marcus Stroman (NYM), 5:10 ET

Monday Atlanta and New York have a two-game seven-inning set as part of a makeup, making this a five-game series. The Mets lead the division, but are limping due to injuries with Philly and Atlanta chasing them. This series is the perfect opportunity to pull ahead or be pulled back to the pack.

Tuesday, July 27

Julio Urias (LAD) v. Logan Webb (SF), 9:45 ET

It seems like the Dodgers and Giants play every single week, and the narrative remains the same. If the Dodgers sweep the Giants, they’ll finally overtake San Francisco for the West. It hasn’t happened, and San Francisco keeps winning.

Thursday, July 29

Max Scherzer (WAS) v. Vince Velazquez (PHI), 1:05 ET

While the Mets host Atlanta, the Nats and Phillies play a four-game set that can set either team in a pretty bad spot going into August. Both teams are hovering around .500, neither able to break through as true contenders so far.

Friday, July 30

Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) v. TBD (TB), 7:05 ET

The Red Sox have the Rays on their heels in the AL East, but have been able to hold them off by beating other divisional foes. This upcoming weekend Tampa hosts Boston in a three-game set.

Saturday, July 31

Zach Greinke (HOU) v. Alex Wood (SF), 4:05 ET

A battle of the teams with the two best records in baseball, we expected Houston to be in this spot, but the Giants? San Francisco has held their own against the Dodgers, how will they fare against the Astros?

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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