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Marty’s musings: the NL West is still up for grabs

Red Sox get to 100, Dodgers and Rockies continue to jockey in the NL West.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Houston Astros John Glaser-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, the Red Sox line themselves up to clinch the AL East in the Bronx, the Athletics lose another starter, and the Giants freefall continues. All this news and more in this week’s Musings.

News and Notes

1946 - The last time the Boston Red Sox amassed 100 season wins. The Red Sox have been playing great ball, and have a commanding lead in the AL East. They current have 103 wins, with 12 games still left to play. Despite nearly shutting Chris Sale down, they still continue to outpace their AL competition.

18 - Consecutive games without a home run, for the Dodgers, who broke out of their lull on Tuesday thanks to a Joc Pederson solo shot. The power-outage set a franchise record for the longest game streak without a dinger, and did little to help them set themselves apart from the underdog-Rockies, who currently lead the Dodgers in the West by one game in the loss column.

86 - ERA- for A’s starter Sean Manaea, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. It’s another in a litany of injured starting pitchers for the A’s, who are well-positioned for an AL Wildcard spot.

260 / 269 - Strikeouts for Houston starters Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, respectively. The two ‘aces’ have dominated hitters, and have a combined 11.7 fWAR. It’s the first time since 2002 that rotation-mates have posted 250+ Ks (Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson).

27 - Consecutive starts of three-runs or fewer for Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom. deGrom again ended up with a no decision, despite going seven good innings of three-run ball against the Red Sox on Sunday. deGrom is making his case for the Cy Young, which may be an uphill battle despite his 8.0 fWAR. With a current win/loss record of 8-9, he’d be a unique but refreeshing choice.

83 - Wins for the Atlanta Braves, who have not finished with an above-.500 record since 2013. The Braves are highly likely to win the NL East and look positioned to play the NL West winner in the NLDS.

11 - Consecutive losses for the Giants, who ended the misery by winning the weekend series against Colorado at home. The Giants have had a forgettable season and currently sit ten games under .500m with a 70-80 record.

Matchups to Watch

Monday, September 17

Kyle Hendricks (CHC) v. Patrick Corbin (ARI), 9:40 ET

The Cubs have a 2 ½ game lead over the Brewers, who can’t seem to overtake them. Chicago can gain some distance this week by burying the Diamondbacks further behind in the NL West, and then following it up with a strong series against the lowly White Sox. The DBacks have a huge week ahead of them, as a 4-11 September has nearly KO’d them out of the playoff race.

Tuesday, September 18

Kyle Freeland (COL) v. Clayton Kershaw (LAD), 10:10 ET

In the biggest series of the week, the Dodgers host the Rockies in a showdown that will give the NL West lead to the winner of the three-game set. The Dodgers have the pitching advantage in Tueday’s and Wednesday’s matchup, so if the Rockies can steal a win on Tuesday, this will get even more interesting.

Wednesday, September 19

David Price (BOS) v. Luis Severino (NYY), 7:05 ET

Price has been the player the Red Sox have hoped this season, as he’s stepped in beautifully since Chris Sale’s injuries have taken him out of the rotation.

Friday, September 21

Jacob deGrom (NYM) v. Max Scherzer (WAS), 7:05 ET

In a forgettable year for the Mets and Nats, this matchup should live up to expectations, as two fo the best pitchers in baseball square-off for the final time this season. deGrom continued to make his case for Cy Young, with Scherzer right on his tail.

Saturday, September 22

Antonio Senzatela (COL) v. Zack Greinke (ARI), 8:10 ET

As I pointed out a couple weeks ago, the Rockies go head-to-head with a number of NL West rivals down the stretch. This week is make-or-break for them and the Diamondbacks. This weekend series will either separate the DBacks even further out of the race, or will bring the three leaders closer in the standings.

*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