One Night Only: Hot Game Previews for May 12th


Justin Masterson, James Shields, and Bud Norris enjoy a boating holiday.

This edition of One Night Only contains:

1. Expanded previews for two games: Tampa Bay at Cleveland and Arizona at San Francisco.

2. Brief, but still entirely illuminating, comments on three more games: Los Angeles (NL) at Pittsburgh, Washington at Atlanta, and St. Louis at Chicago (NL).

3. Pitcher and Team NERD scores for every one of tonight’s games.

Tampa Bay (8) at Cleveland (10) | 12:05 ET
Starting Pitchers
Rays: James Shields (7)
53.2 IP, 7.38 K/9, 2.01 BB/9, .234 BABIP, 45.9 GB%, 7.5% HR/FB, 3.21 xFIP, 81 xFIP-

Indians: Justin Masterson (7)
47.0 IP, 6.51 K/9, 2.49 BB/9, .295 BABIP, 60.4 GB%, 2.8% HR/FB, 3.45 xFIP, 87 xFIP-

Notes
• It would be entirely accurate to say that Shields and Masterson are, metaphorically speaking, “in the same boat.”
• Regard: last year, Shields posted a 129 ERA-; Masterson, a 115 ERA-.
• That is, their ERAs were 29% and 15% above (read: worse than) league average.
• This season, the pair have posted ERA-s of 53 (Shields) and 55 (Masterson) so far.
• Meanwhile, their xFIP-s remain almost entirely unchanged. (Shields had an 85 xFIP- last season; Masterson, 93 xFIP-.)

If I Had My Druthers
• Shields and Masterson would be, very literally speaking, “in the same boat.”
• Maybe Bud Norris or someone could join them and they could re-enact Jerome K. Jerome’s hilarious comic novel Three Men in a Boat.
• To say nothing of the dog.

Arizona (9) at San Francisco (3) | 15:45 ET
Starting Pitchers
Diamondbacks: Daniel Hudson (10)
44.1 IP, 8.73 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, .331 BABIP, 40.3 GB%, 3.9% HR/FB, 3.33 xFIP, 90 xFIP-

Giants: Matt Cain (4)
42.2 IP, 6.54 K/9, 2.53 BB/9, .269 BABIP, 38.0 GB%, 7.7% HR/FB, 3.93 xFIP, 106 xFIP-

Daniel Hudson Scouting Report
Occasionally, in these pages, we’ll steal Matthew Carruth’s saber-minded scouting reports for pitchers. (And by “we,” I mean “me.” And by “Matthew Carruth,” I mean the Perl script that we refer to fondly as “Matthew Carruth” just for fun or whatever.)

The scouting reports work like this: for each offering in a pitcher’s repertoire, a grade is given — on the 20-80 scouting scale — for the swinging strikes, overall strike percentage, and ground-ball rate that said pitch induces. League average is 50, 80 is super good, and 20 is très mal.

Some Notes on that Scouting Report
• For each of his pitches, Hudson gets swinging strikes at an above-average rate.
• This is a point that’s supported by his Pitch F/x numbers at Texas Leaguers, which indicate, among other things, that Hudson gets about twice as many whiffs with his changeup (23.0%) as an average pitcher (12.6%).
His pitch-type values indicate that, for his career, Hudson’s slider (which he uses 10%-15% of the time) and his changeup (just over 20%) are both considerably above average on a per-pitch basis.
• The center-field camera at AT&T should provide a pretty decent view of Hudson’s pitches.
• Or, better than the camera at Chase Field, at least.

Three Other Games
St. Louis (7) at Chicago Nationals (3) | 14:20 ET
Jaime Garcia features the best swinging-strike rate among all qualified starters.

Los Angeles Nationals (4) at Pittsburgh (5) | 19:05 ET
Charlie Morton continues to mutate into Roy Halladay tonight. (If you haven’t, I very much endorse listening to this brief interview with Morton.)

Washington (2) at Atlanta (5) | 19:10 ET
• Per Base Runs standings, the Braves “ought” to have the league’s best winning percentage, at .638. (Click here for spreadsheet.)

Also Playing
These games are very likely playing at some kind of sporty channel near you.

pNERD = Pitcher NERD
tNERD = Team NERD
Game = Time and Average NERD for Game
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD of 5 (or 10 for debuts)





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

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