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Marty’s musings: the quiet before the storm

With a week to go, most of the playoff picture is set.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-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 playoff picture comes more into focus, the Yankees lose a key piece, possibly for the postseason, and . All this news and more in this week’s Musings.

News and Notes

3 - Teams in the National League jockeying for two spots. The Dodgers and Cardinals are 1 ½ games in front of the Rockies for the division and wildcard, respectively. Although neither the NL Central nor AL wild card is mathematically decided, this three-team race is the most interesting because only two of these three teams are going to make the postseason.

11 - Inning walkoff home run for the Yankees clinched a postseason berth, but the final play of Saturday’s night game came with a cost: Didi Gregorius tore cartilage in his wrist sliding in for the winning run. It’s possible Didi misses the rest of the season, and we all have seen how long wrist injuries can take to fully heal.

18 - Division titles for the Atlanta Braves, who surprised most everybody with their divisional clinching this week. 18 ties Atlanta with the Yankees for the most division titles in the game.

4 - 200-strikeout starters for the Cleveland Indians this season. It is the first time in MLB history a team has four 200+ K pitchers. Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, MIke Clevinger, and Trevor Bauer round out the four flamethrowers for the AL Central Indians.

8.3 - fWAR for Jacob deGrom, who only has nine wins on the season. If the Mets scored three, or even two runs in all his starts, it would be a different story. As it stands, deGrom’s 1.77 ERA is sterling, despite many MANY lesser players amassing more wins. #Killthewin

Matchups to Watch

Most teams this week will be resting players, and setting up their rotation for next week’s playoff series. Having said that, there are several teams to watch this week, as their playoff status or seeding is still uncertain.

New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics

The Yankees lead the A’s by 1.5 games in the AL wild card race, but New York faces two division rivals who would love to spoil the party and send New York out to California for a wild card game. With four games against the Rays, and three against Boston, the 1.5 game lead looks surmountable.

While the Yankees face some tough interdivisional competition, the A’s are on the road to face Seattle and then Anaheim. While neither team has much to play for, they can play spoiler against a A’s team that early season projections had finishing behind both the Ms and Angels.

Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies

Neither of these teams is playing any other team with anything to win. The Dodgers face the Diamondbacks, who came into September in first place in the division, and were eliminated from playoff contention last week. They then play the Giants, who have been in a freefall. Between them, the Dbacks and Giants have posted a 9-32 September record. Yikes.

The Rockies are in a similar spot, as they play the Phillies, who ran out of steam and were taken out of contention last week, and the Nationals, who likely cannot wait for this season to be behind them.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals face two playoff teams this week, in the Brewers and Cubs. The Brewers are still chasing the Cubs, but that race looks to be the Cubs to lose, rather than the Brewers to win. St. Louis can either move into the top wild card slot, by overtaking Milwaukee, who currently has a two game lead. They could also lose a playoff position if the Dodgers and Rockies have a good week, and the Cardinals do not. Luckily for the Cards, the Cubs are likely to be resting guys this weekend.

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

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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