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 wild card picture comes more into focus, Chris Sale again makes his case for AL Cy Young, and the Blue Jays say a likely last goodbye to a postseason hero.
News in Numbers
2011 - The last time the Diamondbacks made the playoffs. Arizona clinched a wild card berth this weekend and are positioned to host the one-and-done wild card game next week. It’s an unexpected and pleasant surprise for a team that won only 69 games in 2016.
5,694 - The new all-league single-season home run record set by Royals’ hitter Alex Gordon. Gordon’s seventh longball of the year happened to be the one that set the record, which is going to continue to get demolished this week. More on the streak by Devan Fink, who has been tracking the numbers.
37 - Home runs by Mike Moustakas, who set a new all-time Royals single season record for Dingers. It’s appropriate, considering the MLB record-setting dinger was by his teammate.
154 - Runs the Yankees scored against the Baltimore Orioles this season. In a four-game set last week, the Yankees scored 34 runs, taking three out of four. This is the most runs scored against any opponent in one season in the expansion era, which started in 1961.
1999 - The last time a Red Sox starter hit the 300 strikeout mark in a seaon. Chris Sale notched number 300 against Baltimore last Wednesday as he struck out 13 O’s and walked zero. It was a rough week for the Orioles.
0 - Days that the Blue Jays were over .500 this season. It has been an uphill battle for the Jays who went 8-17 in April and never really got into a groove. The Yankees handed Toronto their 83rd loss of the season on Saturday.
10 - Years Jose Bautista has played for the Blue Jays, He is likely gone after this season, and in Sunday’s game, received a standing ovation as Toronto had him take the field before the rest of the team.
39 / 49 - Home runs for Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge, respectively. Both players set rookie records and are aligned to win their respective league’s Rookie of the Year Award. 2017 make a case as the ‘‘Year of the Rookie."
Matchups to Watch
Monday, September 25
Jon Lester (CHC) v. Luke Weaver (STL), 8:15 ET
While it seemed most people gave up on the Cardinals’ playoff hopes in the summertime, St. Louis is only 2 games behind the Rockies in the loss column for the second wild card slot. They’ll take on the division-leading Cubs, who send out their former ace and current struggling second-best (or maybe even third-best) starter. In his last start, Lester could not get out of the fifth inning against the Rays, giving up seven runs.
Tuesday, September 26
Bartolo Colon Lester (MIN) v. Josh Tomlin (CLE), 7:10 ET
The Twins are lined up to face the Yankees in the wildcard matchup in the Bronx, but a victory there would send them to Cleveland for a tough ALDS matchup. Bartolo Colon has been much better with the Twins than he was with the Braves (though he’s still had a tough go), and he could be a bullpen option for Minnesota, who is hoping he can show a strong performance before it’s playoff time.
Wednesday, September 27
Adam Conley (MIA) v. Jon Gray (COL), 3:10 ET
The Rockies still control their own postseason chances, and a series against the lackluster Marlins may help them secure a wild card berth. Their best starter takes the hill in the series finale. After a day off, Colorado gets Los Angeles, who is likely to be on cruise control at that point.
Friday, September 28
Chase Anderson (MIL) v. John Gant (STL), 8:15 ET
The Brewers and Cardinals face off against one another next weekend. The series could mostly be for naught if the Rockies take care of business earlier in the week or if either of these teams stumble, but if not, this series could hold implications for one of these teams to surpass the stumbling Rockies, who have not exactly invoked confidence in their ability to take a wild card spot and put the race to bed.
Sunday, October 1
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) v. Chris Sale (BOS), 3:05 ET
The chances of this matchup occurring on Sunday is pretty slim, but it is likely that these two aces will match up next week in game one of the ALDS in Houston. Chris Sale has been up and down over the last month, tossing shutouts in some games, and not making it out of the sixth in others. This series between the Red Sox and Astros is less likely to be a preview, and will likely be a dud, given the security of each team’s playoff berth.