NERD Game Scores for Sunday, August 28, 2016

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.

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Most Highly Rated Game
Minnesota at Toronto | 13:07 ET
Gibson (106.0 IP, 104 xFIP-) vs. Dickey (154.1 IP, 113 xFIP-)
By the coin-flip methdology used at this site — which seems to best represent how human minds conceive of postseason odds — both Toronto and Boston feature roughly an equal chance either of winning the division or securing a wild-card spot or of not qualifying for the postseason at all. With just a month or so left in the season, in other words, basically every outcome is equally possible. The consequences of each game are considerable. This is an example of one such game.

Two Other Brief Notes
Today’s Free Game
Today’s free game features Philadelphia at New York NL, starts at 13:10 ET, and can be accessed by means of this hyperlinked text.

NERD’s Ongoing Playoff Adjustment with the Cubs as an Example
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 99.8% and 0.2%, respectively, using the site’s “coin flip” methodology.

• [ |0.998 – 0.5| + |0.02 – 0.5| ] / 2 = 0.498
• (0.5 – 0.498) * 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 2.10. So, to find the Cubs’ score we subtract that figure from 5.0 and add the difference to the Cubs’ raw score.

So:

• 0.0 + (5.0 – 2.1) = 2.9

That 2.9 represents Chicago’s current playoff adjustment. The more the season progresses, the more that figure will represent a team’s NERD score. And, indeed, with only about a month left in the season, that postseason adjustment exerts a great influence over the Cubs’ own NERD score. They’re are a fantastic team — almost too fantastic. Given the respective win totals and talents of the other clubs in the NL Central, it would appear that something like 87 or 88 wins should be sufficient to win that division this year. The Cubs have 82 wins already. Their games certainly possess some sort of consequence. But in terms of qualifying for the postseason, they don’t really.

Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete and very sortable table for all of today’s games. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com 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 August 28, 2016
 Away SP TM GM TM SP Home Time Kevin Gausman BAL 7 7 6 5 3 NYA CC Sabathia 13:05 Kyle Gibson MIN 4 4 7 10 9 TOR R.A. Dickey 13:07 Tyler Skaggs LAA 6 3 5 6 4 DET Anibal Sanchez 13:10 Vince Velasquez PHI 8 3 5 5 7 NYN Robert Gsellman* 13:10 Luis Perdomo SD 8 3 5 6 3 MIA Justin Nicolino 13:10 Chad Bettis COL 5 3 3 5 0 WAS Lucas Giolito 13:35 Ivan Nova PIT 6 6 4 3 2 MIL Chase Anderson 14:10 Taijuan Walker SEA 8 5 5 3 7 CHA Carlos Rodon 14:10 Chris Archer TB 9 4 5 6 3 HOU Doug Fister 14:10 Andrew Triggs OAK 6 3 5 7 6 STL Jaime Garcia 14:15 Danny Salazar CLE 7 6 5 4 2 TEX Derek Holland 15:05 Aaron Blair ATL 1 3 5 9 7 SF Madison Bumgarner 16:05 Jon Lester CHN 6 4 6 8 8 LAN Brock Stewart* 16:10 Homer Bailey CIN 8 3 5 4 5 AZ Archie Bradley 16:10 Yordano Ventura KC 6 4 6 10 5 BOS Eduardo Rodriguez 20:08
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.