This Monday edition of One Night Only bears a resemblance to last Tuesday’s.
It’s either due (a) to a tear in the fabric of the space/time continuum or (b) to the five-man rotation.
You decide, America!
(Games listed in order of likely awesomness. NERD scores in parentheses.)
Pittsburgh (6) at New York Nationals (3) | 7:10pm ET
Pirates: James McDonald (8)
41.0 IP, 8.78 K/9, 3.51 BB/9, .340 BABIP, 34.8% GB, 2.1% HR/FB, 3.92 xFIP (w/ PIT)
Mets: Dillon Gee (10*)
161.1 IP, 9.20 K/9, 2.29 BB/9, 4.01 FIP (Triple-A)
A Brief Apology
On the one hand, it makes some sense for the baseballing enthusiast to turn his attention towards the various playoff races currently unfolding. The NL West, for example, features three teams all within 1.5 games of each other. I don’t think it’s necessary to elaborate upon the appeal of that.
On the other hand, for the teams who’re very clearly not in the hunt for a red — or any other colored — October, the end is nigh. These last three or so weeks of the regular season represent our last chance to see the players who’ll compose the majority of next year’s rosters.
For some teams (like the Mariners, for example, or Astros), there’s no real urgency, on account of how they (a) haven’t been particularly active with their September call-ups, nor do they (b) feature much youth in the first place. (Although Brett Wallace is of some interest, I assume.) For others, though, like the Pirates, there are a number of players who are still very likely improving before our eyes.
Dillon Gee was featured in last Tuesday’s edition of One Night Only. He was making his major league debut then, and it turned out pretty good: 7.0 IP, 26 TBF, 4 K, 3 BB, 10 GB on 18 BIP. Also, he got through those 7.0 IP in just 86 pitches.
One of the questions we considered then was what Gee’s strikeout rate might look like in the majors. As you can see above, he struck out over a batter per inning at Triple-A Buffalo. But he’s also never distinguished himself with great stuff.
What did a start teach us?
For one, Gee throws four pitches: a 90-91 mph fastball; a change; a standard-issue slider; and a kinda loopy, 73-75 mph curve. Per Texas Leaguers, he actually managed to get whiffs on four of 12 sliders and two of 12 curves. Those are both good figures, if in a limited sample. Also, quite frankly, it’s a little suprising.
To these barely qualified eyes, it was actually Gee’s fastball that appeared most effective — not as a swing-and-miss pitch, at all, but as a pitch with some movement to throw for strikes. Also, anecdotally speaking, Gee appears pretty good at keeping it down. Overall, he got 10 GB on 18 BIP.
Lucas Duda Watch
Through 32 PA: .036/.156/.071 (.056 BABIP), .127 wOBA, -29 wRC+.
In September (33 PA): .325/.394/.571 (.320 BABIP), .423 wOBA, 169 wRC+.
Washington (6) at Atlanta (5) | 7:10pm ET
Nationals: Yunesky Maya (10*)
MLB Debut (9/7): 5.0 IP, 21 TBF, 3 K, 2 BB, 4 GB on 16 BIP.
Braves: Derek Lowe (5)
169.0 IP, 5.80 K/9, 3.09 BB/9, .310 BABIP, 57.7% GB, 13.7% HR/FB, 3.91 xFIP
I Wish I Maya
Maya is the 29-year-old Cuban defector who made his major league debut opposite Dillon Gee last Tuesday. He was less effective than Gee on that particular occasion, allowing 4 R (to Gee’s 1 R) and taking the loss.
However that start might’ve turned out, though, Maya is the more aesthetically pleasing of the two. His fastball’s nothing to write home about. (Although, to be fair, I don’t know that I’ve ever actually sat down to write a letter about the finer points of any major leaguer’s fastball. Conclusion: “writing home about” it may not be a great litmus test in this instance.)
In any case, it’s Maya’s secondary offerings for which the enthusiast should watch. Maya throws a curveball that both (a) leaves his hand at about 20 fewer mph than his fastball and (b) is well-disguised.
The slider is notable, too. It’s not a Daniel Bard-type thing where he (i.e. Maya) simply overpowers the batter with it. Rather, it appears to be the definition of late-breaking, appearing to be pushed slant-ways to the catcher’s right. If I’m remembering correctly, he threw a couple nice ones up under the hands of lefty batters.
Danny Espinosa Watch
Through 31 PA: .310/.355/.724 (.286 BABIP), .453 wOBA, 187 wRC+. He was OPS-ing about 1.900 a couple days ago, so these are his numbers while in a slump.
San Diego (10) at Colorado (6) | 8:40pm ET
Padres: Cory Luebke (9*)
57.2 IP, 6.87 K/9, 2.65 BB/9, 3.91 FIP (Triple-A)
Rockies: Jeff Francis (6)
92.2 IP, 5.73 K/9, 1.94 BB/9, .310 BABIP, 46.6% GB, 7.3% HR/FB, 3.95 xFIP
On August 22nd, Colorado was 11 games out of first.
On August 27th, they were still 10 games out of first.
Entering play tonight, the Rockies are only 1.5 games out of first.
A Brief Note
At 3:10pm ET, in Kansas City, 30-year-old Bobby Cramer will make his major league debut for the A’s.
Here’s his line for Triple-A Sacramento this year: 41.2 IP, 7.56 K/9, 2.38 BB/9, 2.31 FIP. Per StatCorner, Cramer’s posted groundball rates in the low-50% area.
Go, Bobby Cramer.
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
* = Estimated NERD
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.