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Marty’s musings: the playoff field is set

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We know the matchups now, and despite no game 163, we’re in for quite a week of baseball.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

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 key pitching matchups.

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

While we did not end up with a game 163 in the National League West, or a crazy multi-team tiebreaker scenario in the American League Wild Card race, plenty of things were yet to be decided late in the afternoon on Sunday.

News & Notes

1 - Run it took for the Yankees to beat the Rays on Sunday, in a nail-biter pitchers’ duel that put the Yankees into the wild card game. As the Jays looked on with bated breath after destroying the Orioles, New York crushed Toronto’s playoff hopes with their walkoff 1-0 victory.

6 - Unanswered runs by the Red Sox to clinch homefield for the wild card game on Sunday. Another disappointment for Jays’ fans, Boston was losing 5-1 going into the sixth inning, but piled it on the reliever corps to win 7-5 thanks to a Rafael Devers two run go-ahead homer in the top of the ninth inning.

162 - Games it took for a National League West winner to clinch the division. The Giants were in first place the vast majority of the season, but with the Dodgers nipping at their heels all summer and fall, it came down to SF having to win their final game to avoid playing in the one-game wild card. An 11-4 drubbing, including a 7-1 fourth inning lead sealed the division.

106 - Wins for the wild card Dodgers, who posted the second-most wins in the entire sport, and yet still have to play the Cardinals in a win-or-go-home scenario, thanks to the Giants 107 victories.

2 - Mariners Losses in three games to the lowly Angels, ending Seattle’s improbable run towards the playoffs. Knowing what we know now, only a sweep would have forced a game 163, so the Ms hopes were dashed on Friday night.

46 - Home runs by Shohei Ohtani, who finished the season with a .264/.353/.537 slash line, an OPS+ of 158, and 26 stolen bases. He also started 23 games, pitched 130 ⅓ innings with an ERA+ of 141. Amazing year for the clear-favorite to win AL MVP.

0 - Runners on base in extra innings from this point forward. The zombie runner on second rule goes away for the playoffs, and as of right now, is not part of the rules going into 2022. The Manfred Rule was mostly unpopular with fans, though it could possibly resurface as part of the CBA negotiations that will commence this offseason.

1 - Pick for the Orioles in next year’s draft, thanks to a dreadful 52-110 season. Baltimore is on the clock!

Injury Report

The Dodgers will be without Clayton Kershaw, who left his start against Milwaukee over the weekend with forearm discomfort. It’s not likely Kershaw will pitch in the postseason. They also lost Max Muncy to a bit of a freak injury, when his arm bent backwards on a fielding play. He’ll be out for the wild card game this week, and likely longer.

The Giants will be without Brandon Belt for a few more weeks. He broke his thumb in the last week of the regular season, and though it’s possible he’ll play in later playoff rounds if the Giants advance, they’ll be without him for the LDS.

Brewers’ reliever Devin Williams wins the dumbest injury of the year award, as he fractured his hand punching a wall last week. He’s done for the year.

Red Sox slugger JD Martinez sprained his ankle on Sunday when he tripped on second base.

Elimination Games This Week

Tuesday, October 5th, 8:08 ET

Gerrit Cole (NYY) v. Nathan Eovaldi (BOS)

Every game is a must watch the first week of the playoffs, but it’s the Yankees / Red Sox wild card game that is likely to generate the most buzz.

Wednesday, October 6th, 8:10 ET

Adam Wainwright (STL) v. Max Scherzer (LAD)

Due to the Giants improbably 107-game winning season, the heavily-favored Dodgers now are in a 50/50 game against a team that is coming in as hot as ever.

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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