Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by viscount of the internet 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
Toronto at Boston | 18:10 ET
Drew Hutchison (23.0 IP, 94 xFIP-, 0.2 WAR) faces Clay Buchholz (22.1 IP, 67 xFIP-, 0.5 WAR). Entering the 2015 season, the latter had recorded a career strikeout- and walk-rate differential of roughly 9.5 points, with 2013’s 14.4 points representing his career-high mark. Over four starts and 22.1 innings, Buchholz has produced a differential of 21.8 points (28.7% K, 6.9% BB) while also posting what would represent his career-best ground-ball rate (55.6%). What else this game represents is an opportunity to regard the eighth-best player by WAR in the majors: rookie second baseman Devon Travis. Travis has produced 1.2 wins over the first 74 plate appearances of his career.
Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Toronto Radio.
Three Brief Notes
Regarding Today’s Pitcher Debuts
Washington right-hander A.J. Cole and Philadelphia right-hander Severino Gonzalez make their major-league debuts this evening at 7:10pm and 8:15pm ET, respectively. The former has, at points, been regarded as one of the game’s most promising talents. A modest decline in velocity, however, has rendered him merely one of Washington’s most promising talents. Gonzalez, for his part, was signed out of Panama for just $14,000 in 2011. He’s recorded excellent strikeout and walk rates — although a lack of premium arm speed has rendered him less effective against batters in the upper minors. He was ranked 16th among Phillies prospects by Kiley McDaniel this offseason.
A Brief Comment Regarding Madison Bumgarner
Reason suggests that San Francisco left-hander Madison Bumgarner remains one of baseball’s best pitchers. What the numbers from his first four starts suggest, however, is that he hasn’t pitched like that in April. Consider merely this one note: in each of 2013 and -14, Bumgarner produced a swinging-strike rate of 11.1% exactly. In 2015 so far, that mark stands at 8.5% — i.e almost the exactly league-average mark for starts. (A standard deviation is about 2.5%.)
Regarding Today’s Free Game
Today’s free game features Washington at Atlanta, starts at 7:10pm ET, and can be accessed by means of this hyperlinked text.
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 the calculations both for team and game NERD scores have changed recently to better integrate playoff odds into same. Read more about those changes here, if you’re the sort of person accustomed to making poor life decisions.
|Jeremy Guthrie||KC||3||7||6||6||9||CLE||Trevor Bauer||18:10|
|Drew Hutchison||TOR||9||7||8||5||9||BOS||Clay Buchholz||18:10|
|Jeff Samardzija||CHA||6||1||5||6||6||BAL||Ubaldo Jimenez||19:05|
|Jake Odorizzi||TB||7||6||6||6||6||NYA||Chase Whitley*||19:05|
|Kyle Lohse||MIL||6||1||6||4||10||CIN||Johnny Cueto||19:10|
|Rafael Montero*||NYN||7||7||5||5||2||MIA||David Phelps||19:10|
|A.J. Cole*||WAS||9||5||6||4||4||ATL||Julio Teheran||19:10|
|Jeff Locke||PIT||7||7||6||7||5||CHN||Travis Wood||20:05|
|J.A. Happ||SEA||6||6||3||3||0||TEX||Ross Detwiler||20:05|
|Anibal Sanchez||DET||7||5||5||2||3||MIN||Mike Pelfrey||20:10|
|Sev. Gonzalez*||PHI||7||1||6||6||8||STL||Michael Wacha||20:15|
|Kyle Kendrick||COL||3||4||4||5||4||AZ||Archie Bradley||21:40|
|Jered Weaver||LAA||5||5||6||5||7||OAK||Sonny Gray||22:05|
|Ro.to Hernandez||HOU||4||9||6||4||8||SD||Tyson Ross||22:10|
|Ma. Bumgarner||SF||6||4||7||8||10||LAN||Clayton Kershaw||22:10|
* = Fewer than 10 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.