Every week this MLB season, we took a look at the most interesting takeaways. Now, here's what we learned from the final seven days in MLB:
Cole ends season in top form
Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole had himself a record-breaking week in the final days of the 2019 regular season. As did his teammates Justin Verlander ( ) and Zack Greinke ( ). But for now, we'll focus in on Cole's impressive accomplishments. On Sunday, Cole will make his final regular season start against the Angels (GameTracker) as he goes after a career-best 20th win. Sunday will also see Cole look to extend his 10-strikeouts (or more) streak to nine consecutive starts.
Cole (19-5) has recorded 316 strikeouts this season, which leads the league and is the Astros single-season record. In his last 21 starts, Cole is 15-0 with a 1.78 ERA and 216 strikeouts in 141 2/3 innings., Cole gave up just two hits and struck out 14 without walking a batter over seven innings. Tuesday saw his strikeout total jump to 316, which passed Astros' J.R. Richard's tally, set in 1979.
There are plenty of milestones to celebrate when it comes to the Astros rotation this season. As far as team marks, they clinched their third-straight AL west title and secured at least a tie for the best record in all of baseball, and clinched home-field advantage through the entire postseason. Houston will face the winner of the AL Wild Card Game in the first game of the. The club hasn't announced its starter yet, but is there really a bad choice?
Indians couldn't dig themselves out of hole
The Cleveland Indians were eliminated from the AL Central race on Tuesday, and eventually Francisco Lindor and Corey Kluber) and unlike the Yankees, who also faced the same unfortunate situation, Cleveland wasn't equipped with a strong enough depth to keep pace with the first-place Twins. Thanks to a summer surge, Cleveland did catch and pass the Twins in the division, but the first-place spot only lasted for one day.on Friday. This season for the Indians seemed to be an uphill climb right from the start. They faced injuries early on in the season to their biggest stars (
On Tuesday with the club still in the race for the final AL wild card spot, Jose Ramirez crushed a grand slam and a three-run homer in his first two at-bats since returning from the injury list after right hand surgery last month. Tuesday's win had the Indians within a half-game of Tampa Bay, but the win was followed by four straight losses. In their last four games this week, the Indians were outscored 34-12. The top five hitters in their lineup went 6 for 61 in those losses.
But without any big signings this past offseason, the Indians weren't able to compete with the Twins, whose offseason additions proved to be very valuable.
Four teams hit century mark for first time
The last week of the regular season sawmark for the first time. The Twins, Yankees, Dodgers and Astros all will end the 2019 season with triple digits in their win column. There's never been this many 100-win teams in the same season.
On the flip side of this news is the fact that this represents the very little parity in the league right now. The Marlins, Tigers, Orioles and Royals all have posted 100-loss seasons. That's four 100-loss teams in the same season for just the second time ever in MLB history. The 2002 season was the first time it happened, with the Royals, Tigers, Rays and Brewers hitting the 100-loss mark.
You can call it rebuilding, resetting or retooling but it's also branded as tanking. The "strategy" was really first put to the test when the Astros and Cubs were once some of the worst teams in baseball before setting up the foundation for World Series runs. But the disparity in the league today is creating a more lopsided imbalance than ever before. When a contending team from the 100-win club faces a rebuilding team from the 100-loss club, the matchup can lose its appeal before the game is even played. This season proved that the gap between winning and losing teams just is continuing to grow. We'll see if MLB will address the issue this offseason.