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Marty's Musings: 9/19

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Cubs clinch, Ned Yost hits a milestone, and the Giants continue to struggle.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

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 to 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: a GM gets scolded and suspended, Ned Yost manages his way to a milestone, the Cubs clinch their division, and David Ortiz continues his farewell tour dominance; it's all in this week's Musings.

Numbers

4 - Times the Chicago Cubs have advanced to consecutive postseasons. It only took Chicago 146 games to clinch the National League Central and they are poised for home field advantage through the entirety of the National League playoffs.

30 - Number of days in the suspension for Padres' GM AJ Preller. Preller has been implicated in medical impropriety with regards to openness and trading partners. This time of year, General Managers rarely do much with regards to transactions and draft prep, but it's certainly a reputational sting for Preller (whose reputation wasn't great to begin with).

537 - Career home runs for David Ortiz, who notched his 34th of 2016 last week against the Yankees. He passed Mickey Mantle for 17th on the all time homer list, but has his work cut out for him to catch Mike Schmidt at 548. Ortiz' most recent home run sailed 442 feet, with an exit velocity of 109.1 MPH.

1001 - Managerial wins for Ned Yost, who tallied number 1,000 in a win against the White Sox on Saturday night. With the Royals sputtering last week, he sat at 999 for five games before KC won. As the Royals skipper, he is 543-542.

8 - Straight victories for the Mariners last week. They took the last two of a three game set with Texas and then swept the Athletics and Angels on the road. Seattle remains relevant in the wildcard race and will face one of the teams they're trying to catch this week, the struggling Blue Jays.

2 - Sweeps for the Padres this season, both of which came against San Francisco. The Giants have had a rough go of it in the second half with a 22-37 record. Last week the Padres outscored the Giants 13-5 in a three game drubbing.

30 - Games this season in which the Orioles have hit at least three home runs. It's the most in baseball this year and second-most in club history (in 1996 the O's blasted 3 or more homers in 38 games). The Orioles beat the Red Sox in the middle game of their three game series last week, in part thanks to three belted home runs.

9 - Blown saves by Giants closer Santiago Casilla. Part of the Giants' struggles have stemmed from a bullpen that cannot protect leads. Casilla gave up the game against the Cardinals on Saturday night.

19 - Times the Mets have played the Nationals this year, and 19 times that Daniel Murphy has posted a hit.

112 - Relievers used across all15 games last Monday night. In total, 142 total pitchers were used in a single day, including 16 pitchers called upon in the Marlins/Braves game alone. September baseball everyone!

Series to Watch

Red Sox v. Baltimore, Monday through Thursday

All games at 7:05 eastern

Monday: Porcello v. Bundy

Tuesday: Rodriguez v. Gausman

Wednesday: Buchholz v. Gallardo

Thursday: Price v. Jimenez

A series split in Baltimore will bring the Red Sox significantly closer to clinching the American League East. With the O's trailing the Sox by three games going into this four game set, a lot can shake out in the division in the next few days.

On Monday Dylan Bundy tries to improve upon his mediocre (at best) 5.1-inning, 3-run game he threw against Boston last week.

Tuesday pits flamethrower Kevin Gausman against former Oriole Eduardo Rodriguez. In four of his last five starts Gausman has not given up a single run. He has tossed at least six innings in each of his last six starts, including an eight-inning shutout against Boston last Wednesday.

Giants v. Dodgers, Monday through Wednesday

All games at 10:10 eastern

Monday: Bumgarner v. Kershaw

Tuesday: Cueto v. Hill

Wednesday: Moore v. Maeda

Los Angeles leads their northern California rivals by five games, so the Giants really need a sweep to make the NL West interesting. Setting aside the division race, where the Dodgers have a pronounced advantage, the Giants are still playing for their postseason lives. San Francisco is one game in front of the Cardinals, who at the moment are on the outside looking in at the Giants (+1) and Mets (+2).

Monday's matchup is one of the best we can hope for in the game. Kershaw missed a good portion of the season and is still at the top of many of the pitcher leaderboards, thanks to his complete dominance this year when he was healthy. Tuesday, Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto takes on Rich Hill, who over his last two starts threw up a hidden perfect game (27 outs in a row over the course of multiple games), and has emerged as one of the best stories in baseball over the last 12 months.

Blue Jays v. Mariners, Monday through Wednesday

Monday: Marco Estrada v. Taijuan Walker, 10:10

Tuesday: JA Happ v. Hisashi Iwakuma, 10:10

Wednesday: Aaron Sanchez v. Felix Hernandez, 3:40

If the Mariners are going to make their move in the American League, they need to do some damage against the WC2 Jays. Seattle is tied with the Tigers two games back of Toronto, with Baltimore an additional game up. If the Jays take the first game of this series, the pressure will be firmly on the M's. Seattle is hoping to take at least two out of three to gain a little ground, but either way they'll need some help.

Games to Watch

Tuesday, September 20

Adam Wainwright (STL) v. Jorge De La Rosa (COL)

The Cardinals are chasing the Giants who are playing a healing Dodgers team this week. St. Louis took two of three from the Giants last week, and are hoping to keep the momentum against the Rockies before going up against the behemoth Cubs.

Friday, September 23

Danny Duffy (KC) v. Michael Fulmer (DET)

Fulmer has been magnificent and a key piece to the Tigers' continued relevance into September. While the Royals had their run a few weeks ago, they would have to jump over several teams including the Tigers to make it to the postseason. If the Tigers win this series, they'll still have an uphill climb, but the Royals are probably finished.

*Pitching Matchups based on early week probables

Ed's Note: The Cubs were mistakenly identified as winning the East in an earlier version. Despite having enough of a lead to win both divisions, they only clinched the Central.

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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