Daily Notes: Guide to Weekend Programming

UPDATE: Toronto’s Drew Hutchison (the fourth-best prospect in the organization entering the season, according to Marc Hulet) will make his major-league debut against Kansas City (Luis Mendoza, 9.2 IP, 136 xFIP-) on Saturday at 19:10 ET. Hulet recently previewed Hutchison’s forthcoming start in more depth. Here’s what the right-hander did so far this year at three Double-A starts: 16.2 IP, 6.48 K/9, 1.62 BB/9, 0.54 HR/9, 3.08 FIP.


Below are brief previews for select weekend games — each including the preferred television feed of FanGraphs readers, per the results of our offseason crowdsourcing project.

Note: all stats are current as of Thursday.

Other note: for the benefit of those whose viewing options are limited, each day contains a preview for that day’s featured MLB.TV Free Game.

Friday, April 20th
Minnesota at Tampa Bay | 19:10 ET
Matt Moore makes his third start of the season. To the surprise of many — including the handsome author — he currently possesses the highest xFIP (6.09) of the league’s 105 qualified starters, with the fourth-lowest ground-ball rate (27.5%) and fifth-highest walk rate (15.5%) of that same sample… He faces Minnesota’s Liam Hendriks. The right-hander was pretty excellent in his season debut on April 15th. Line: 6.0 IP, 23 TBF, 4 K, 0 BB, 7 GB on 19 batted-balls (36.8% GB), 3.22 xFIP… After finishing last season with the league’s third-worst team wRC+ (84), the Twins are average through their first 12 games, having posted a collective 103 wRC+ (better than Detroit’s 102 wRC+, for example). Leaders: Josh Willingham, 225 wRC+ (.379 BABIP) and 0.7 WAR; Denard Span, 138 wRC+ (.400 BABIP) and 0.4 WAR; and Justin Morneau, 153 wRC+ (.286 BABIP) and 0.4 WAR… Tampa Bay features one of the league’s better center-field camera angles, although the pleasure provided by said camera is mitigated by the shadowy interior of Tropicana Field.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Tampa Bay.

Philadelphia at San Diego | 22:05 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Cole Hamels starts for Philadelphia. He’s allowed five runs in two starts, but has been excellent in terms of the defense-independent numbers. To wit: 12.1 IP, 48 TBF, 39.6% K, 2.1% BB, 32.0% GB, 1.28 SIERA, 0.87 xFIP, 23 xFIP-. That’s essentially a weird left-handed, starting-pitcher version of 2011 Sergio Romo… In terms of field players, there’s little of interest for Philadelphia after Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino and (maybe) Carlos Ruiz, at the moment… Edinson Volquez (17.0 IP, 115 xFIP) pitches for San Diego. He continues to demonstrate control issues, having walked 15.8% of batters faced, the third-worst mark among qualifiers.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: San Diego.

Saturday, April 21st
Miami at Washington | 13:05 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Stephen Strasburg makes his fourth start of the season. To date, his DIPS numbers have been excellent, if not entirely dominant. Line: 19.0 IP, 25.3% K, 6.7% BB, 38.8% GB, 3.11 SIERA, 3.19 xFIP, 87 xFIP-… Jack Moore recently wrote a piece noting how, even though Strasburg’s fastball is as fast as a really fast thing, it’s still less effective when thrown in fastball counts… Anibal Sanchez starts for Miami.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Miami.

Texas at Detroit | 13:05 ET
Neftali Feliz faces Justin Verlander… The reader is probably already aware, but I’ll restate here anyway, that Justin Verlander not only pitched a complete game in his most recent start, but that he threw four of his ninth-inning pitches at 100 mph or better (give or take 2 mph of error). That start prompted Bill Petti to look at Verlander and two other pitchers (Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia) whose fastball velocity increases in later innings… Neftali Feliz has now made two starts (a) this season and (b) as a major leaguer. His line so far: 12.0 IP, 14.9% K, 8.5% BB, 38.9% GB, 4.66 SIERA, 4.62 xFIP, 111 xFIP-. Here’s a question you might be asking: “What’s his velo like as a starter?” To which I reply: “First of all, I like that we’re using the abbreviation velo. It saves time for other activities. Second, here’s what PITCHf/x has for Feliz’s average fastball velo (!) so far: 93.8 mph. And here’s what it was last season: 96.3 mph.”

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Detroit.

Philadelphia at San Diego | 20:35 ET
Because it features a matchup between Roy Halladay and Cory Luebke (i.e. two talented pitchers), this game merits at least some kind of mention; however, the respective offenses have little to offer home audiences at the moment, nor is the PETCO camera angle particularly good.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: San Diego.

Sunday, April 22nd
Minnesota at Tampa Bay | 13:40 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Francisco Liriano faces Jeff Niemann. That’s all anyone knows.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Tampa Bay.

Baltimore at Los Angeles AL | 15:35 ET
Even if Baltimore loses both its Friday and Saturday games, they’ll still enter today with a winning record — which, that’s not as shocking as many things, but at least qualifies as Mildly Surprising… As of Thursday, Baltimore was second in the majors in home runs, with 20. Team leaders in that regard: Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, and Matt Wieters (all tied at four). And, actually, Jones hit another one Thursday. So, five for him… Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen pitches for Baltimore. Here’s his line through two starts: 11.0 IP, 19.6% K, 5.9% BB, 37.1% GB, 3.81 SIERA, 4.35 xFIP, 105 xFIP-. Here’s what he throws: fastball (90 mph, 61% of the time), slider (82 mph, 16%), curve (72 mph, 8%), and change (83 mph, 17%). That all of those percentages add up to 102% suggests the magic of which Chen is capable… Dan Haren pitches for the Angels.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Los Angeles AL, Barely.

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

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“Francisco Liriano faces Jeff Niemann. That’s all anyone knows”

Spot. Freaking. On.

Well-Beered Englishman
Well-Beered Englishman

…I don’t get it.