NERD Game Scores: Joe Blanton Re-Assessment Opportunity

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
Kansas City at Houston | 20:10 ET
Blanton (26.0 IP, 75 xFIP-) vs. McCullers (46.1 IP, 86 xFIP-)
Reason dictates that the most recent three or four years of Joe Blanton’s career are more representative of his true talent than a small collection of appearances — including merely two starts — over the first three months of the current season. What one notes, however, is that Blanton has been particularly effective in those same recent appearances, producing a 75 xFIP- over 26.0 innings — and, indeed, has recorded even better numbers in a starting capacity, striking out nearly a third of the 39 batters he’s faced while walking none.

The most probable cause for Blanton’s uncharacteristic success is, naturally, randomness — or at least something like randomness. That said, were one in the mood for mounting a case against the merely random, one might note that Blanton both (a) has thrown his fastball harder this season (even as a starter) by 1-2 mph in each outing, and also that he (b) has almost always recorded above-average fielding-independent numbers, even if he’s conceded runs at a rate less stellar than that. What this encounter represents — in addition to another game featuring that flawed and compelling bande à part the Houston Astros — is an opportunity to re-assess Joe Blanton based on his most recent track record.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Houston Radio.

A Single, Brief Note
Today’s Free Game
Today’s free game features Milwaukee at Philadelphia, starts at 19:05 ET, and can be accessed by means of this hyperlinked text.

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 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.

NERD Image 4

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Jimmy Nelson MIL 5 3 2 1 0 PHI Sean O’Sullivan 19:05
Wa. Rodriguez TEX 3 3 4 6 4 BAL Bud Norris 19:05
Clay Buchholz BOS 7 4 7 9 7 TOR R.A. Dickey 19:07
Cod. Anderson* CLE 7 6 6 6 4 TB Nate Karns 19:10
Mike Pelfrey MIN 2 3 4 4 5 CIN Mike Leake 19:10
Joe Blanton KC 9 7 9 10 8 HOU Lance McCullers 20:10
Mike Bolsinger LAN 5 6 4 5 2 AZ Allen Webster 21:40
David Hale COL 7 4 5 5 4 OAK Kend. Graveman 22:05
CC Sabathia NYA 6 9 6 7 4 LAA C.J. Wilson 22:05

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

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

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There’s a very good reason that game is free today.


Because the White Sox aren’t playing?