Welcome to ‘Marty's Musings', my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball and looking forward to this week’s key matchups. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the previous week in MLB and previewing some of this week's key matchups, identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.
In this week’s edition, we take a look at the Indians’ bullpen dominance against two of the best offenses in baseball, reexamine the wacky and wild Nats/Dodgers series, and discuss the Cubs theatrics so far in the NLCS. Of course, we celebrate Clayton Kershaw’s dominance, and take a look at what he has in common with Babe Ruth.
Closing out the Wild Card round
Giants v. Cubs
2-11 - Chicago hitters with runners in scoring position in Game Two of the NLDS. The Cubs stranded ten runners on the night but still managed a convincing 5-2 victory at Wrigley. Anthony Rizzo went 0-6 in the game which served as harbinger of his playoff production to date (more on this below).
1911 - The last time the Giants had a walkoff in an elimination game before nabbing Game Four of the NLDS from the Cubs. It seems so long ago, but Joe Panik’s game-winning RBI double in the 13th ensured that the Cubs did not sweep a playoff series. Speaking of which…
1907 - The last time the Cubs swept a playoff series. The Cubbies swept the 1907 World Series winning four straight games against the Detroit Tigers. Game One was a tie (how do we deal with ties? I don’t know…) but then went on to sweep the series never losing a game.
39 - Year-old David Ross became the oldest catcher to ever hit a postseason home run. In an epic come-from-behind victory the Cubs clinched their spot in the LCS by dramatically winning Game Four. The Giants blew a 5-2 ninth inning lead for a season-ending 6-5 loss. Chicago plated four runs before San Francisco recorded an out in the ninth. The Cubs are the first visiting team to win a postseason series at AT&T Park since it opened 16 seasons ago.
12/13 - Triple-digit Aroldis Chapman pitches in the bottom half of that Game Four ninth inning. Chapman made short-work of the Giants in the bottom of the devastating frame. He struck out Gorkys Hernandez, Denard Span, and Brandon Belt on a combined 13 pitches.
Nationals v. Dodgers
48 - Pitching changes in the Nationals / Dodgers NLDS. Both managers utilized every weapon they had in their bullpen and the series looked to be as evenly-matched as a five-gamer can possibly be; it took some unconventional managing, but Dave Roberts pulled the right strings to get the Game Five victory.
1:06 - It took over an hour to get through the seventh inning of Game Five at Nationals Park. It was the longest regular season postseason game in history. A total of 13 pitchers were used including Clayton Kershaw who generated the final two outs.
1 - Save for Clayton Kershaw who earned his first (s) since his Gulf Coast League days. Since baseball never ceases to entertain, the catcher in said ‘Save’ was none other than Kenley Jansen.
And the LCS Kicks-off
Blue Jays v. Indians
9/28 - September 28th, the last time the Cleveland Indians lost a game. The Tribe made quick work of the Red Sox in three games. Boston never looked in control and the same can be said of two close, albeit dull games in the LCS. The Tribe are looking good despite some pitcher injuries that left them without Carlos Carrasco and Dannly Salazar. Adding to the issues, Monday night starter Trevor Bauer had a drone incident that lacerated a finger.
13 - Inning scoreless streak by Corey Kluber is the longest postseason scoreless streak by an Indians pitcher since Duster Mails’ 15.2 scoreless frames in 1920.
27 - Strikeouts in 16 innings for fireman reliever Andrew Miller. Miller has been the biggest story of the American League playoffs, as he’s completely befuddled both Toronto and Boston hitters.
0 - Runs given up by the Cleveland bullpen in the League Championship Series. So far, the ‘pen has tossed six innings and has struck out 13 batters. The series now moves to Toronto for three games, but so far this series, their bats have been whisper quiet.
Dodgers v. Cubs
3 - Pinch hit grand slams in MLB postseason history, most recently Miguel Montero’s improbable off-the-bench home run on Saturday night. He’s the first to hit a PH grand slam since the Yankees’ Ricky Ledee (1999). With a total of eight dingers on the season, Montero was an unliekly hero as he did not even serve as the Cubs everyday catcher (he split time with David Ross).
44 - Percentage of outs that have been made by Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen over the course of the Dodgers’ 2016 postseason run. Dave Roberts is calling on his best players to take the lion’s share of work, and it has gone splendidly so far. The question remains, can the Cubs take advantage of the non-Kershaw starts and will Kershaw continue to pile on the innings.
3 - Baserunners for the Cubs in Game Two. Kershaw threw seven scoreless innings of two-hit / one-walk ball. He and Babe Ruth are the only pitchers to ever toss 1-0 victories against the Cubs. The year of the Babe’s masterpiece: 1908.
22/155 - Non Javier Baez / Kris Bryant hitters on the Cubs have only mustered 22 hits in the playoffs. Taking the dynamic duo out of the picture, Cubs’ batters only have hit .141 through the NLDS and first games of the NLCS. The youngsters have productive enough to make up for Anthony Rizzo’s 1-23 this postseason.
Other baseball news
4 - Year deal supposedly given to Mike Hazen who the Diamondbacks announced as their new General Manager. Hazen most recently served as the Red Sox GM where he was essentially a deputy to President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski. Hazen spent 11 years with Boston following five seasons in Cleveland. Many have speculated that perhaps Torey Lovullo will follow Hazen to manage the DBacks in 2017.