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Marty’s musings: three weeks and several divisions to go

It’s go-time for the Dodgers, Dbacks, Rox, Cubs

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to ‘Marty’s Musings’, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the happenings in the baseball world. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the news and notes throughout the game, and highlighting this week’s key pitching matchups.

This week, Shohei Ohtani gets some bad news in the afternoon and lights up at the plate at night, we see the first 30/30 player in a while, and the Phillies continue to spiral out of contention. All this news and more in this week’s Musings.

News and Notes

4 - Hits, including two home runs, for Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Wednesday night. Ohtani got some bad news earlier in the day, when the Angels announced he would need Tommy John Surgery; he then went out and had a four-for-five day. Ohtani currently has a 162 wRC+ on the season.

39 - Players in MLB history who have hit the 30 home runs / 30 stolen bases mark. Jose Ramirez became the most recent player added to the club, and the first sine 2012. He currently has 37 home runs and 30 stolen bases. He is putting up an MVP-caliber season and has 7.8 wins to date.

9 - Straight series lost by the Philadelphia Phillies, who were jockeying with the Braves for first place in the NL East for a good part of the season. The Phils have not won a series since August 4th and now sit 4.5 games out of first place.

54 - Saves for Mariners’ closer Edwin Diaz, the fifth-most single season saves in MLB history. Despite his consistency in the back of the bullpen, Seattle has not been able to capitalize on early season good luck and has effectively fallen out of the playoff race.

25 - Consecutive starts of three earned runs of fewer for Jacob deGrom, who continues to make his underdog Cy Young case. deGrom has 7.3 wins per FanGraphs, and an 8-8 record.

- There weren’t any significant sweeps over the weekend, but the Dodgers took two out of three from the Rockies to move to within a ½ game of the division. The Diamondbacks dropped three-of-four to the Braves, and fell from the divisional lead to being down 2 ½ games. The Astros took two out of three from Boston, which didn’t matter in the AL East, but was important as the Athletics are 2 ½ games behind the ‘stros.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, September 10

Wade Miley (MIL) v. Jon Lester (CHC), 8:05 ET

The Brewers trail the Cubs by two games in the NL Central, and with only a few weeks to go, will need to take this week’s series to position themselves to overtake Chicago. The first of the three-game set is the most intriguing of the matchups, as Wade Miley has been excellent, and in his last outing, gave up only one run in six innings against Chicago.

Tuesday, September 11

Zack Greinke (ARI) v. Antonio Senzatela (COL), 8:40 ET

With a true three-team race happening in the NL West, every game is magnified. Greinke is having an excellent second half, having held opposing hitters to a .197 average. He is trying to right the ship after a disastrous series against the East-leading Braves. Meanwhile, the Rockies are in a brutal stretch of games that will make-or-break their season.

Wednesday, September 12

Stephen Strasburg (WAS) v. Aaron Nola (PHI), 7:05 ET

The disappointing thing about this game is what ‘could have been’. With the Phillies downfall over the last month, and the Nationals never positioning themselves as a force in the NL East, this becomes an old-fashion pitchers’ duel, with no playoff implications. Even so, the emergence of Aaron Nola, and the continued strikeout dominance of Stephen strasburg make this an interesting matchup nevertheless.

Thursday, September 13

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. John Flaherty (STL), 7:15 ET

With Milwaukee in control of the top wild card spot, and a mess of teams in the NL West vying for the division, this series will put either the Dodgers or Cardinals in the driver’s seat for the second wild card seed. The important four-game set commences on Thursday, and finishes as the Sunday night finale.

Friday, September 14

Robbie Ray (ARI) v. Charlie Morton (HOU), 8:10 ET

The Astros are coming off a good series against Boston, where they came very close to sweeping the Sox at Fenway. Although they didn’t complete the comeback on Sunday night, they are well-positioned in the West, ahead of the A’s. Houston can wreak havoc on Arizona, as the Dbacks try to keep pace in the NL West.

Saturday, September 15

Jacob deGrom (NYM) v. TBD (Boston), 4:05 ET

The potential of a deGrom / Chris Sale matchup may be a pipe dream with the way Boston is handling their ace, but the Mets don’t visit the Red Sox very often, and a true test, pitting one of baseball’s best pitchers’ against the best offense in baseball will be a fun game to see, even if Sale does not get the nod.

*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables


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