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Marty’s musings: LDS edition

Recapping a wild LDS and previewing the League Championship Series.

MLB: NLDS-Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to “Marty's Musings,” my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball. I am your guide to an analytic look at the previous week in MLB and a preview of some of this week's starting pitching matchups.

In this week’s Musings, we review some numbers that led to the Indians loss, take a look at the Nationals’ latest unique way to exit the playoffs, and analyze the early departure of the Red Sox.

LDS by the Numbers

171 ⅔ - Innings pitched by relief pitchers this postseason, compared to 165 ⅓ innings tossed by starting pitchers. The game sure is different in October, and the cavalcade of relievers is taking its toll on bullpens, lengthening games, and creating a different standard for matchups and short-leashes.

Astros over Red Sox

2 - Losses for Chris Sale in the ALDS. Sale’s disappointing game one performance looked to be redeemed as he churned through the Indians lineup out of the bullpen in game four, but a gassed Sale allowed a go-ahead home run to Alex Bregman, propelling Houston to the ALCS for the first time since 2005.

1 - Relief appearances in Justin Verlander’s career, which came in game four of the LDS. JV has started over 400 games in his career, but came out of the bullpen to stave off a surging Red Sox team that nearly took the series to a fifth game. It wasn’t a great performance, as he didn’t strike anyone out in 2 ⅔ innings, but he did just enough to edge Boston.

3 - Home runs in 19 trips to the plate for Jose Altuve, who could easily be considered the MVP of the series. Altuve went 8-for-15 and walked four times in the four game set.

Yankees over Indians

23 / 47 - Game scores for Corey Kluber who served as the goat in games two and five. Kluber put together two of his worst outings of the year, a major factor in the Yankees stealing this series in five games. He could not get out of the third inning in game one, and left after just 3 ⅔ in game five. Kluber did not have a game score this low in the regular season since May 2nd, when he got rocked by the Tigers.

2.54 - Walks per nine for Cleveland starters, the lowest in baseball all regular season. In the five games, the Indians averaged 4.20 walks per nine over the five game set.

4 - Hits delivered by Didi Gregorius in the series in 23 plate appearances, though those hits came at the most opportune time. Didi went 3 for 4 in game 5, including two home runs that sealed the Yankees’ victory.

16 - Strikeouts in 24 plate appearances for Aaron Judge. Judge made a spectacular home run saving catch to bring back a Francisco Lindor home run in game three, but at the plate, he looked entirely lost. The Yankees will need some pop against Houston to deliver another upset.

Dodgers over Diamondbacks

7 - number of the Diamondbacks’ 11 runs in the series that came via a home run. The Dbacks rarely put a rally together, and only mustered a .189/.252/.421 slash line in the series despite another Clayton Kershaw playoff stumble.

4 - Earned runs given up by Kershaw, the most of any Dodgers pitcher in the series. Despite his sub-par game one start, the Dodgers won 9-5.

Cubs over Nationals

4 - First-round exits for the Nationals, who cannot seem to break through to the LCS, no matter the opponent or circumstances. With their backs against the wall, Stephen Strasburg delivered a seven-inning, 12-strikeout gem. Game five was another story altogether, however.

3 - Pitchers who have struck out at least ten batters in twice in an LDS. Strasburg joins Justin Verlander who has done it twice (2012 and 2013) and Cliff Lee (2010).

10 - Number of Nats losses by a combined total of only 13 runs going back to 2012 NLDS game five. The Cubs 3-0 victory in game one of the series was the largest margin they defeated DC by, as they won game three 2-1, and game five 9-8. In addition, Dusty Baker now has a ten-game losing streak in clinching playoff games. Just brutal.

7 - Outs in the save by Cubs’ closer Wade Davis, who clearly was running on fumes in the eighth and ninth inning of game five. Davis got lucky on a Willson Contreras backpick of Jose Lobaton, a unlikely play that will only add to Washington’s offseason misery.

1 - Time since the playoffs expanded to include an LDS that a team has advanced without hitting a home run in the series. The Cubs put together rallies, earned plenty of walks, and snuck through the series without one longball.


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