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 we discuss we review some of the more interesting storylines of the 2019 regular season and prepare for the playoffs, which kicks-off with the NL wild card game on Tuesday night in Washington, DC.
All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
53 - Home runs by Mets’ rookie Pete Alonso, who bested Aaron Judge’s record of 52 dingers hit by a rookie. He tied Judge on Saturday night, and passed him on Sunday afternoon. Alonso was a bright spot in an otherwise grim Mets season.
316 - Strikeouts by Gerritt Cole, who led the majors this season. He struck out at least ten batters in nine consecutive starts, besting the previous record by Chris Sale and Pedro Martinez. Cole led the league in ERA (2.52), ERA+ (184), FIP (2.62) and strikeouts per nine (13.7).
2524 - Strikeouts for Felix Hernandez, who likely threw his last inning as a Seattle Mariner over the weekend. It was a great run for The King, who over the course of 15 seasons, earned Cy Young votes in six of them, winning the award in 2010. Due to a precipitous decline, Hernandez became less and less relevant for a franchise that rarely sniffed the playoffs in his decade-and-a-half leading their pitching staff.
4 - Days all season the Twins did not have a share of the AL Central lead. They’ve led, or been tied for the top spot since April 26th.
20-6 - The Brewers record in September. The Brew Crew could not overtake the Cardinals, but they slid into the playoffs despite losing their MVP candidate, Christian Yelich. They face Max Scherzer in the NL wild card game on Tuesday.
9 - Seasons Clint Hurdle managed the Pirates, where he finished with a 534-625 record. Hurdle will not return as the Pirates manager in 2020. Under his tenure, the Pirates made the playoffs three times, but never made it out of the NLDS. Whoever inherits this Pirates team is in for a bumpy ride, as the Buccos finished with a 69-92 record, in dead last in the NL Central. In the past four seasons, the closest they’ve finished first place is 13 games back in 2018.
2015 - The last time the Cubs did not make the playoffs. Joe Maddon is out after five years leading the Cubbies as their skipper. He partnered with Theo Epstein to break the Cubs World Series drought in 2016, but a Chicago dynasty was not to be, as the Cubs have not made another World Series since.
304 - Home runs by the 2019 Twins, the only team in MLB history to hit over 300 home runs in one season. The Twins won the AL Central by two games, holding the lead in the division for nearly the entire year. Minnesota will take on Houston in the ALDS this week. It’s their first division pennant since 2010.
15 - Teams with a positive run differential that finished above .500. 14 Teams that had negative run differentials finished below .500 and the Phillies -20 led to an 81-81 season.
0 - Intentional walks ordered by the Houston Astros all season. They are the first team in MLB history to not intentionally walk a batter. Baserunners are bad. Free baserunners are worse.
*All pitching matchups as of Sunday night’s pitching probables