Daily Notes: Bang! Bang! Verlander’s Yellow Hammer

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. Brief Previews for Select Games
2. Video: Verlander’s Curveball Against Boston
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Los Angeles (NL) Radio

Brief Previews for Select Games
Here are brief previews for four of today’s games — each including the preferred television feed of FanGraphs readers, per the results of our offseason crowdsourcing project. (Information on probable pitchers from MLB.com.)

Chicago AL at Cleveland | 12:05 ET
Justin Masterson makes his second start for Cleveland. He was excellent on Opening Day. To wit: 8.0 IP, 27 TBF, 10 K, 1 BB, 10 GB on 16 batted-balls (62.5%). Also, from the box score: 2.19 FIP, 1.14 xFIP, 30 xFIP-, 86.9% fastballs (89.3 mph), 13.1% sliders (81.3 mph), .296 WPA.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Cleveland.

Tampa Bay at Detroit | 13:05 ET
James Shields faces Justin Verlander… The pair combined for 11.9 wins above replacement in 2011… Verlander struck out seven in his Opening Day start against Boston, four of those coming on curveballs for called strikes (see below)… A note for lineup-optimization enthusiasts: Carlos Pena has batted second for each of the Rays’ first three games against right-handed pitchers.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Detroit, Barely.

Washington at New York NL | 13:10 ET
Stephen Strasburg faces Johan Santana… More impressive, perhaps, than the 27.3% strikeout rate Strasburg posted in his 24.0-inning return last season was his 2.3% walk rate. Strasburg continued that trend in his season debut on Thursday, walking only one of the 26 batters he faced (3.8%)… Per our PITCHf/x data, Strasburg’s four-seam fastball averaged 95.9 mph — almost precisely where it was upon his return last season… Santana’s first start since 2010 was more or less a success. Here was the left-hander’s line in 5.0 IP: 19 TBF, 5 K, 2 BB, 4 GB on 12 batted-balls (33.3% GB)… Per PITCHf/x, Santana’s velocity was down ca. 2 mph from his 2010 season, to 87.7 from 89.6 — although it’s not inconceivable that such changes are due to calibration/classification issues with PITCHf/x… Santana will be held to ca. 95 pitches, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: New York NL.

Miami at Philadelphia | 19:05 ET
This game offers a third pairing of aces: Josh Johnson against Roy Halladay… Johnson gave up three runs over 6.0 innings his first start. Question: did he really pitch like someone who’d give up three runs over six innings? Both FIP (2.36) and xFIP (3.12) from our box score suggest that, no, he didn’t… Thing to note: Johnson’s four-seamer averaged 92.8 mph, per our PITCHf/x data — as opposed to 94.0 mph in 2010.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Miami.

Video: Verlander’s Curveball Against Boston
Below is footage from Justin Verlander’s Opening Day start against Boston. The reader, on account of it’s a free country, is permitted to watch the entire thing, but is invited in particular to watch the called strikes three on curveballs at 0:23, 0:38, 0:55, and 1:01.

Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Los Angeles (NL) Radio
Recently, we released the results of our television broadcaster rankings — itself the product of reader crowdsourcing that started in late November. Now, FanGraphs is asking readers to rate the radio broadcast teams for all 30 major-league clubs (Click here for more on this project.)

Rate other teams: Washington / Toronto / Texas / Tampa Bay / Seattle / San Francisco / San Diego / St. Louis / Pittsburgh / Philadelphia / Oakland / New York (NL) / New York (AL) / Minnesota / Milwaukee / Miami.

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Eric Cioe
10 years ago

Verlander’s curveball exemplifies the idea that perhaps swinging strike% isn’t the only thing that goes into strikeout rates. His curveball doesn’t get offered at all that much, but he seems to be able to spot it pretty much where he wants when he’s having a good day.