NERD Game Scores: A Curiously Relevant Sox-Yankees Game

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by sabermetric nobleman Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (and on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game. Read more about the components of and formulae for NERD scores here.


Most Highly Rated Game
New York AL at Boston | 19:10 ET
Tanaka (186.2 IP, 82 xFIP-) vs. Rodriguez (88.0 IP, 115 xFIP-)
On the one hand, one finds that Boston currently possesses over a 60% probability of winning the AL East; New York, about just a 1% probability. Looking over into the other, second hand, however, what one also finds is that the Yankees (a) currently trail the Red Sox by just four games, (b) begin a four-game series against that exact Red Sox club today, and (c) appear to have the benefit of a favorable pitching matchup tonight. Owing both to their offense and home-field advantage, Boston still possesses a slight advantage in terms of the single-game winning projection for tonight’s encounter. It wouldn’t be particularly surprising for the gap between the clubs to shrink to just three games before tomorrow, however.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Boston Radio.

Two Other Brief Notes
Today’s Free Game
Today’s free game features Cleveland at Chicago AL, starts at 14:10 ET, and can be accessed by means of this hyperlinked text.

On NERD’s Playoff Adjustment, the Cubs, and the Rangers
As the season wears on, the algorithm for game NERD scores weights team scores progressively more heavily and pitcher scores less heavily — to account for the greater influence of a team’s posteason chances on the watchability of their games. Also as the season progresses, the algorithm for those team NERD scores weights various performance factors (weighted batting, adjusted home-run rate) less heavily and playoff odds more heavily.

The idea of the postseason adjustment is to assess higher NERD scores to clubs which feature less certainty regarding the postseason. To accomplish this, the author begins with the divisional odds and wild-card odds and finds the absolute value of each number minus 0.5 (or, 50%). I then add the results together divide by two. Then I subtract the result of that figure from 0.5 and multiply the resulting number by 20. Finally, I normalize all the scores to create a league average of 5.0.

Here’s all of that using the Chicago Cubs as an example. The Cubs have divisional and wild-card odds of 100.0% and 0.0%, respectively, using the site’s “coin flip” methodology (which seems to best represent how the human mind conceives of postseason odds).

  • [ |1.000 – 0.5| + |0.000 – 0.5| ] / 2 = 0.500
  • (0.5 – 0.500) * 20 = 0.0

That 0.0 number is the postseason adjustment just before it’s normalized to create a league average of 5.0. The raw league average right now is 1.51. So, to find the Cubs’ score we subtract that figure from 5.0 and add the difference to the Cubs’ raw score.


  • 0.0 + (5.0 – 1.51) = 3.5

That 3.5 represents Chicago’s current playoff adjustment — a figure to which the team’s NERD score will gravitate continuously as the season draws closer to its conclusion. It’s also the lowest possible score a club can receive at the moment, one shared mostly by very poor clubs that have been effectively (or literally) eliminated from postseason contention. Because, like those clubs, the Cubs aren’t playing games of any great consequence at the moment. Playing in a division where it appears as though 86 wins would be sufficient to claim that division, the Cubs have already recorded 93 wins. They could almost certainly now lose every game for the rest of the season and still win the Central (in particular, as they possess a magic number of 1, as well). A similar principle applies to the Texas Rangers, as well: they’ve already won 87 games, while second-place Seattle is projected for 87 wins.

Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete and very sortable table for all of today’s games. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from and also the rest of the internet. Note that calculations both for team and game NERD scores feature adjustment for postseason odds that increases as season progresses. Read more about those adjustments here and here.

NERD Scores for September 15, 2016
Away SP TM GM TM SP Home Time
Hector Santiago MIN 2 4 4 7 1 DET Mike Pelfrey 13:10
Mike Clevinger CLE 3 5 3 3 1 CHA James Shields 14:10
Chad Kuhl PIT 5 4 4 3 5 PHI Jerad Eickhoff 19:05
Blake Snell TB 5 4 6 10 0 BAL Yovani Gallardo 19:05
Masahiro Tanaka NYA 7 5 7 10 5 BOS Eduardo Rodriguez 19:10
Daniel Mengden OAK 5 3 4 3 5 KC Edinson Volquez 19:15
Jimmy Nelson MIL 2 4 4 4 7 CHN Mike Montgomery 20:05
Rich Hill LAN 7 5 5 4 5 AZ Archie Bradley 21:40
J.A. Happ TOR 6 9 5 3 1 LAA Daniel Wright 22:05
Adam Wainwright STL 5 8 7 7 6 SF Johnny Cueto 22:15
SP denotes pitcher NERD score.
TM denotes team score.
GM denotes overall game score.
Highlighted portion denotes game of the day.

* = Fewer than 10 IP, NERD at discretion of clueless author.

We hoped you liked reading NERD Game Scores: A Curiously Relevant Sox-Yankees Game by Carson Cistulli!

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

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4? I guess the suspense of whether the Cubs clinch today doesn’t do it for you.