NERD Game Scores: Examining the R.A. Dickey Question

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
Cleveland at Toronto | 19:07 ET
Carrasco (56.0 IP, 80 xFIP-) vs. Dickey (95.2 IP, 109 xFIP-)
More than one reader over the past month-plus has suggested — in only the most congenial possible terms, naturally — that perhaps Toronto right-hander R.A. Dickey isn’t entirely worthy of his high marks here. This is a fair sort of criticism to make. If one looks into his or her heart and finds that it’s unmoved by the prospect of R.A. Dickey, regardless of whatever charms Dickey’s knuckleball possesses — this is, essentially, a kind of Truth.

Here’s why Dickey is so well received by the haphazardly constructed pleasure-algorithm featured here. When the author first introduced a sort of prototype of NERD to readers at this site, there was something resembling consensus among those same readers — or at least those compelled to raise their internet voices — that Dickey, who has never possessed great velocity or the promise of youth or excellent fielding-indepedent numbers, ought to receive a bonus for the knuckleball. The solution: to provide a bonus to all pitchers calculated by multiplying the frequency with which they threw a knuckleball (KN%) by five. Since then, only Dickey and (now) Steven Wright have benefited from the adjustment, essentially receiving about extra four points above and beyond their leaguemates.

Ought the knuckleball bonus to be eliminated? Ought it, at the very least, to be decreased slightly? Perhaps. Readers are invited to comment on the matter with civility in the space below. Or invited to dismiss the entire matter as an absurd thing in an ocean of absurd things.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Cleveland Radio.

Two Other Brief Notes
Today’s Free Game
Today’s free game features Chicago NL at New York NL, starts at 19:10 ET, and can be accessed by means of this hyperlinked text.

Broadcaster Rankings
Recently, the present author facilitated a crowdsourcing effort to reproduce the broadcaster rankings which appeared on this site roughly four years ago. The results from that effort are published here in one easily digestible post.

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 June 30, 2016
Away SP TM GM TM SP Home Time
A.J. Griffin TEX 4 5 6 4 10 NYA Michael Pineda 13:05
Kenta Maeda LAN 5 6 5 4 6 MIL Zachary Davies 14:10
Tommy Milone MIN 5 5 5 3 7 CHA Carlos Rodon 14:10
Brandon Finnegan CIN 3 3 5 7 6 WAS Gio Gonzalez 19:05
Carlos Carrasco CLE 7 7 7 6 9 TOR R.A. Dickey 19:07
John Lackey CHN 7 6 7 5 10 NYN Steven Matz 19:10
Jordan Zimmermann DET 5 4 5 6 5 TB Jake Odorizzi 19:10
Wei-Yin Chen MIA 5 6 5 2 8 ATL Mike Foltynewicz 19:10
Chris Young KC 4 4 5 6 5 STL Mike Leake 19:15
Madison Bumgarner SF 7 5 5 4 4 OAK Dillon Overton* 22:05
Chris Tillman BAL 4 7 6 5 9 SEA Taijuan Walker 22:10
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.

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

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Mike Green
Mike Green

Perhaps the knuckleball bonus should be at the discretion of the most civil author. I would suggest that this author might wish you to consider the aesthetic qualities of particular pitcher’s knuckleball in deciding whether to award the bonus. Butterflies are indeed solace to the learned fan numbed by the artifice that we have surrounded ourselves with.

Mr. Wright’s offerings this year have possessed this comfort. Mr. Dickey’s have not, alas, for several years.

Fortuitously for the most civil author, the aesthetic qualities of a particular pitcher’s knuckleball regularly aligns with his runs allowed per 9 innings.


“Most civil?” I thought the author was “very handsome.”