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: the Yankees make it interesting and take the ALCS to the brink, while the Dodgers steamroll the Cubs. It’s a story of homefield advantage in the AL and a National League pennant winner with a ton of depth.
LCS by the Numbers
Astros over Yankees in seven
10:1 - Strikeout to walk ratio for Dallas Keuchel in game one of the ALCS. Keuchel put together a dominating performance across seven scoreless innings, allowing only four hits. Only four starters have pitched 7+ postseason shutout innings against the Yankees, and struck out double digit batters. Those three are Pedro Martinez (1999), Randy Johnson (2001), Cliff Lee (2009) and Dallas Keuchel (2017). Good company!
9 - Innings thrown by Houston ace Justin Verlander, who gave up only one run, and struck out 13 Yankees batters in his complete game victory. The game ended on a questionable send call of Jose Altuve who, in many scenarios, would have been thrown out at home plate by 10 feet. Instead, Altuve slid in safely amidst a tough Didi Gregorius throw, and a muffed fielding play by backstop Gary Sanchez.
8 - Yankee runs in game three, after mustering only two runs on ten hits in the first two games of the series. New York’s offense finally came alive, with Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge both going deep to secure the Yankees a game three victory.
34m 49s - Time it took to play a four-run, go-ahead bottom of the eighth inning. The Yankees entered the eighth down 4-2, after halving the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Joe Musgrove started the inning of by giving up two hits, which was followed by two Yankee doubles that put them ahead in the game, tying the series at 2-2.
4 ⅔ - Innings for Dallas Keuchel, who left the game trailing 4-0 in the fifth inning. As brilliant as Keuchel was in game one, game five was an entirely different story. Backed by seven strong innings (and a 78 game score from Masahiro Tanaka) the Yankees took control of the series heading back to Houston for games six and seven.
1 - Runs scored by the Yankees in games six and seven combined. The offense looked totally impotent against Justin Verlander (who sealed his status as ALCS MVP with another gem), and Charlie Morton, who was brilliant in five innings in game seven.
24 - Consecutive curveballs thrown by Lance McCullers in game seven. In the eighth and ninth inning, the Yankees’ hitters could not do anything with a pitch they seemingly knew was coming. It’s almost hard to believe until you see it in sped-up time.
70 - Strikeouts induced by Astros pitchers, compared with 45 for the Yankees. The contact problems were huge and apparent, with Aaron Judge leading the way with 11 in the series. His 27 Ks in the playoffs is an MLB record.
Dodgers over Cubs in five
2 - Times a four-out playoff save included four strikeouts. Kenley Jansen did it in game one, joining Brian Wilson who managed the feat in game one of the 2010 NLCS. Jansen came into the eighth inning to get the last out, and then struck out all three batters in the ninth. Of the 17 pitches thrown in game one, 14 were strikes. The Dodgers won the game 5-2.
1988 - The last time the Dodgers had a walkoff playoff win. Justin Turner’s walkoff home run against John Lackey in the bottom of the ninth in game two puts him in postseason Dodgers lore with Kirk Gibson. The three run homer broke a ninth inning 1-1 tie, and set the Dodgers on a path to a near-sweep.
40 - Years since a pitcher drew a bases-loaded walk, which Yu Darvish did in game four. Although the Cubs struck early in the game, to take a 1-0 lead, the Dodgers notched a run in the second, third, fifth, and sixth innings, adding a two-spot in the eighth inning. The bases-loaded walk just exemplified the difficulties in the Cubs’ bullpen.
1 - First pitch home runs that Dodgers’ left fielder Enrique Hernandez hit all season. He hit two first-pitch home runs in game five, and eventually added a third dinger in the 11-1 laugher. His seven runs batted in is a single-game LCS record and tied for the most in any postseason game.
18 - How many of the 19 runs given up by the Dodgers in this postseason have come via home runs. With Clayton Kershaw allowing four in his first LCS start, and the DBacks driving home the long ball, the Dodgers have been victim to homers. Of course, they have not been too much of a hindrance to overcome, considering they are 7-1 in the postseason so far.