Marty’s musings: wild card review and the LDS series

Baseball News
2 weeks ago

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A wild card round review, and a look at where we stand in the LDS series. 

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 the end of the Brewers wild run, the Nationals unconventional use of their pitchers, and an American League LCS that looks all but certain.

All this news and more in this week’s Musings.

Wild Card

The Nationals squeak by the red-hot Brewers, while the Rays make easy-work of the Athletics.

11.6 – Percent win expectancy for the Nationals who entered into the eighth inning down 3-1 to the Brewers. Despite a major starting pitcher advantage, Brandon Woodruff outperformed Max Scherzer early in the game leaving it up to the Milwaukee bullpen to seal the deal.

Brent Suter and Drew Pomeranz pitched excellent in the fifth, sixth, and seventh inning, allowing only one hit between the two of them. Craig Counsell gave the ball to flamethrower Josh Hader, and his 2.62 ERA allowed three runs (two earned) putting the Nationals on-track to advance.

1 – Major error by Christian Yelich’s understudy, Trent Grisham. On a base hit allowed by Bader, the game was sure to be tied, but overrunning the ground ball allowed the go-ahead run to score. Milwaukee did a great job managing without their MVP candidate, but in the biggest spot of the year, Washington exposed the downgrade.

8 – Combined innings pitched by Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. More on this later, as it looks like Dave Martinez is going the unconventional route to get the Nats through the playoffs.

29 ⅔ – Innings pitched in the regular season by Sean Manaea, who Bob Melvin tagged with starting the American League wild card game. Manaea just didn’t have it, and allowed runs in the first three innings, a hole that the A’s couldn’t pull themselves out of against Charlie Morton.

8 – Baserunners allowed by Charlie Morton over five innings, though none of those baserunners came around to score. Morton was hardly brilliant in the effort, but he got creative on the mound despite not having his best stuff, and threw five scoreless innings. In a game that was much less competitive (and interesting) than the NL wild card game, the Rays earned a right to face the Astros in the LDS.

League Divisional Series

The Twins and Rays are on the brink of season-ending series, while the Dodgers and Braves try to fend off their competition in competitive series.

4 – Games on the docket for Monday. All four series could be closed out by the end of the day. The Rays and Twins are going to Tampa and Minneapolis, respectively, and need to sweep their only two home games to stay alive. The Cardinals and Nationals are at home as well, and need one more victory to force a deciding winner-take-all game five.

Rays v. Astros

7 – Innings and zero runs allowed by Justin Verlander, who gave the Rays fits at the plate. It was a welcome-to-the-playoffs moment for JV, who dominated throughout and made game one a lopsided Houston victory.

33 – Swings and misses induced by Gerritt Cole, who threw one of the best games of his career in Saturday night’s game two LDS start. Through 7 ⅔ innings, Cole allowed only five baserunners, and struck out 15 batters.

6 – Batters faced by Roberto Osuna, who came in to relieve Cole. He nearly coughed up the game, as three of those six batters reached base. Will Harris got the call to put out the fire, positioning the Astros one-game away from a series sweep.

Nationals v. Dodgers

2 – Hits and zero runs allowed by the Dodgers in their game one drubbing of the Nationals. Washington tossed out 2019 free agent signee Patrick Corbin, but the DC offense had nothing going against Walker Buehler and three relievers.

7 – Innings combined by Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, in the Nationals only win of the series so far. It’s pretty clear that Dave Martinez is going to live-and-die with his starters, as Washington entered the postseason with one of the worst bullpens of the modern era.

3 – Earned runs allowed by Clayton Kershaw in game two over six innings. Not a terrible line, but not one that will help him move-on from his reputation as not getting it down in the postseason. Fair or not, Kershaw’s 4.33 ERA is much less than you’d expect from a pitcher of his caliber.

1 – Strike away from ending the sixth inning on Sunday night, when all hell broke loose for the Nats’ pitchers. With two outs in the inning, Washington allowed seven runs in what became a blowout game three. Martinez again went to a starter out of the pen, but Patrick Corbin allowed six runs and generated only two outs.

Cardinals v. Braves

2 – Blown saves in the series, a game one blown save by Mark Melancon, who replaced Luke Jackson who struggled in his outing. With two outs in the eight inning of game one. Melancon came in to put out a fire, but made it worse giving up four runs and handing the game to the Cardinals.

In game three, Adam Wainwright positioned the Cardinals to take a 2-1 series lead in a 1-0 nailbiter, but Carlos Martinez blew the game in the ninth inning allowing three runs to score.

57 – Curve balls thrown by 38-year-old Adam Wainwright, who threw 7 ⅔ shutout innings in his game three effort. Waino was great, but it was the bullpen that could not hold a 1-0 lead he handed them.

18 ⅔ – Innings thrown by Braves starters, who have allowed only two total earned runs. Dallas Keuchel only went 4 ⅔ in game one, but Mike Foltynewicz and Mike Soroka followed it up with excellent starts in games two and three. Folty threw seven scoreless and put up a 7:0 strikeout to walk rate, while Soroka was nearly as strong, allowing only one run in seven innings.

Twins v. Yankees

10/5/2004 – The last time the Minnesota Twins won a postseason game. Their frustration, futility, and failure against the Yankees continued in the LDS.

18 – Runs allowed by the Twins in the first two games of the ALDS. Neither game has been competitive, and the Minnesota pitchers are finding ways to give up runs via singles, doubles, and home runs. 16 earned runs in 16 innings will certainly position a team for an early playoff exit.

***

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

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