From the offices of Stats, Inc.
Ø Justin Verlander, who starts Game 1 in the ALDS for the Astros, struck out 12 batters in his final regular season start to bring his season total to 300. Verlander and Gerrit Cole (326) are the second pair of teammates all-time to strikeout 300+ batters in the same season, joining Randy Johnson (334) and Curt Schilling (316) of the 2002 Diamondbacks. Verlander ranks fourth in MLB postseason history with 167 strikeouts, trailing only John Smoltz (199), Andy Pettitte (183) and Roger Clemens (173).
RAYS at ASTROS
Ø The Astros won a franchise record 107 games en route to their third consecutive 100-win season. Houston’s 311 wins over the last three regular seasons are the sixth-most by any team all-time over any three-season span, and most since the Baltimore Orioles rattled off 318 wins from 1969-71.
Ø The Rays finished the regular season with a 96-66 record in 2019. Tampa Bay has recorded six 90-win seasons this decade (since 2010), tied with the Yankees for second most in MLB over that time. The Dodgers are No. 1 with seven seasons in that stretch.
Ø Former Astro Charlie Morton was the winning pitcher for the Rays in the AL Wild Card game, becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to earn the win in three winner-take-all playoff games (also 2017 ALCS Game 7 and 2017 World Series Game 7).
Ø Yandy Diaz returned to bat leadoff for the Rays in the Wild Card game after missing 58 of the team’s final 59 games of the season. Diaz homered in each of his first two at-bats in his return, becoming the first leadoff hitter in MLB history to hit a home run in each of his first two at-bats of a single postseason.
Ø Justin Verlander struck out 12 batters in his final regular season start to bring his season total to 300. Verlander and Gerrit Cole (326) are just the second pair of teammates all-time to strikeout 300+ batters in the same season, joining Randy Johnson (334) and Curt Schilling (316) of the 2002 Diamondbacks. Verlander ranks fourth in MLB postseason history with 167 strikeouts, trailing only John Smoltz (199), Andy Pettitte (183) and Roger Clemens (173).
Ø Tyler Glasnow has made four starts since returning from a forearm injury in early September; over these four starts, Glasnow has a 1.46 ERA and a .119 opponent average, though his longest start during this stretch was just 4.1 innings in his final start of the season at Toronto on September 27.
Ø The Rays won the season series against the Astros this year, 4-3, and have won the season matchup over Houston in each of the last three seasons. Tampa Bay is 12-9 against Houston since 2017, the best record of any AL team against the Astros over that time.
CARDINALS at BRAVES
Ø The Cardinals won Game 1 by a score of 7-6, scoring four runs in the top of the ninth and withholding three runs scored by the Braves in the bottom of the frame. It was the third postseason game in history where both teams scored at least three runs in the 9th inning.
Ø St. Louis is 9-1 all-time in best-of-5 playoff series when leading 1-0. The only best-of-5 round that the Cardinals have lost under these circumstances was their most recent, the 2015 NLDS against the Cubs which Chicago won, 3-1.
Ø The Braves are 1-10 all-time in best-of-5 series when trailing 1-0. Atlanta has lost each of its last eight best-of-5 series when trailing 1-0.
Ø Jack Flaherty posted an MLB-leading 0.91 ERA across 15 starts after the All-Star break (min. 70 IP). Flaherty’s post-All-Star break ERA is the lowest mark in team history, besting the 1.19 post-ASB ERA recorded by Bob Gibson during his 1968 NL MVP and NL Cy Young campaign, the year before the mound was lowered (min. 70 IP).
Ø Mike Foltynewicz went 4-1 with a 1.50 ERA in five starts this September. Foltynewicz made two starts in the 2018 NLDS against the Dodgers (both Braves’ losses), throwing a combined six innings, allowing five runs and issuing seven walks.
Ø Paul Goldschmidt went 2-for-4 with a home run in St. Louis’ Game 1 win, bringing his career postseason slash line to .333/.415/.778 in 41 plate appearances. Goldschmidt has struggled against Foltynewicz throughout their careers, batting .190 (4-for-21) with no home runs, one RBI and 10 strikeouts.
TWINS at YANKEES
Ø This series will pit the top two home run hitting teams in MLB history against each other, as the Twins set the all-time mark with 307, with the Yankees falling one shy at 306. This will also be the second season in a row that will feature an ALDS with two 100-win teams facing off, as the 108-win Red Sox defeated the 100-win Yankees in the 2018 ALDS.
Ø This is the 21st season in which the Yankees have won 100+ games, giving them more 100-win seasons than the next two closest teams combined (A’s & Cardinals, 19 combined). New York placed 30 different players on the IL in the regular season, the most of any team in a single season since at least 1987.
Ø This has been a historically lopsided postseason matchup as the Yankees have won all five of the rounds played (includes 2017 AL Wild Card game), and 13 of 15 games overall. The Yankees enter this series with an active 10-game winning streak against the Twins in the postseason, tied for the second-longest win streak by any team against a single opponent in postseason history. The Red Sox hold the record, having won 11 straight playoff games against the Angels from 1986-2008.
Ø Over his final 11 starts, James Paxton went 10-0 with a 2.51 ERA, and the Yankees won all 11 games. In his first season in the Bronx, Paxton racked up 11.11 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest single season mark in franchise history (min. 150 IP). The Twins will counter with 25-year old Jose Berrios, whose only postseason experience came in 2017 when he allowed three runs in three innings in a loss against the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game.
Ø Aaron Judge has averaged a home run every 9.6 at-bats in his postseason career, as he has hit seven across 18 career playoff games. Judge hit 15 home runs from August 20 until the end of the season, tying him with Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez for most in MLB over that time.
Ø Nelson Cruz led the Twins with 41 home runs in his first season with the team despite playing in only 120 games. He joined Barry Bonds (45 HR in 2004) and Hank Aaron (40 HR in 1973) as the only players all-time to hit 40+ HR in their age-39 season. Cruz ended the decade (2010-19) with an MLB-high 346 home runs, besting current Yankees Edwin Encarnacion (335) and Giancarlo Stanton (308), who rank second and third, respectively. Cruz has hit 16 home runs in his postseason career, tied with Carlos Beltran for ninth all-time. Cruz owns a career .669 slugging percentage in the postseason, second all-time among the 157 players with at least 150 postseason plate appearances (Babe Ruth - .744).
NATIONALS at DODGERS
Ø The Dodgers won Game 1 by a score of 6-0 on the back of six scoreless, one-hit innings by starter Walker Buehler. Buehler became the first NL pitcher all-time with back-to-back postseason starts pitching 6.0+ innings while allowing two or fewer hits (7 IP, 2 H in 2018 World Series Game 3).
Ø At 21 years and 314 days, Gavin Lux became the youngest player all-time to hit a pinch-hit home run in the playoffs. He's also the second-youngest player to homer in his first plate appearance in the playoffs, behind only Brian McCann (21 yrs, 228 days).
Ø The Dodgers are 9-0 all-time when leading 1-0 in a best-of-5 playoff series, the most series wins without a loss by any MLB team in the same situation. All-time, teams up 1-0 in a best-of-5 playoff series have gone on to win that series 72.0 percent of the time (95/132).
Ø The Nationals/Expos are 0-4 all-time in best-of-5 series when trailing 1-0. Two of those four series losses came at the hands of the Dodgers: 1981 NLCS and 2016 NLDS.
Ø When he last pitched in the postseason, Clayton Kershaw suffered losses in Games 1 and 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Red Sox. Among the 22 pitchers all-time to make at least 15 postseason starts, Kershaw’s 4.32 ERA ranks 22nd.
Ø Stephen Strasburg has a 0.41 ERA in the postseason in his career, having allowed only one earned run in 22.0 innings. Strasburg has a 2.54 ERA in 11 career starts against the Dodgers; two of those starts came in 2019, where Strasburg allowed three runs across 13.0 IP and limited Los Angeles to a .140 average.