One Night Only: The (Temporarily) Mighty Casey by Carson Cistulli August 13, 2010 The editors of FanGraphs invite you to put the following in your pipe and smoke it. Or just read it with your eyes. You choose. (NERD scores in parentheses.) Friday, August 13 Milwaukee (Yovani Gallardo, 9) at Colorado (Jorge de la Rosa, 9) | 9:10pm ET • Casey McGehee entered Wednesday’s game versus Arizona batting .272. Entering play today, that number’s risen to .285 — mostly on account of he’s gone 9 for his last frigging 9. “But, Cistulli,” maybe you’re saying, “didn’t you even know that batting average is so 1997?” “Well,” I reply, “it also makes up about 80% of a player’s on-base percentage, so stick it.” • Jorge de la Rosa currently sports a 5.01 ERA, but only a 3.73 xFIP. Impress your friends and/or enemies by reciting this loudly in a public place. • If I had my druthers: We could all impress each other without even trying. Toronto (Marc Rzepczynski, N/A) at Los Angeles Americans (Scott Kazmir, 2) | 10:05pm ET • Hear me now and believe me whenever you want: this game isn’t being featured because of Scott Kazmir’s sweet pitching skills. Kazmir has below-average strikeout, walk, and groundball rates. No, the real pleasure will be watching Toronto, currently the only team with a collective ISO greater than .200 (specifically, .210), take massive hacks at Kazmir’s junk*. • Jose Bautista hit his league-leading 36th dongpiece last night. Hear him roar! • Ah, man: I love the Rze and so can you. Like Tom Cruise in a certain 1983 cinematic masterpiece, Marc Rzepczynski has all the right moves. He doesn’t qualify for a NERD score yet, but has a 3.41 xFIP against a 7.15 ERA. And he’s only 25. And even the vowels in his name are consonants. • Peter Bourjos! Peter Bourjos! Peter Bourjos! (Yes, this is what passes for baseball analysis these days.) *And by “junk,” I mean his pitches, of course. Saturday, August 14 San Diego (Mat Latos, 10) at San Francisco (Madison Bumgarner, 7) | 4:10pm ET • Damn, Mat Latos, you’re only 23 and have one of the best xFIPs (3.56) among starting pitchers. • Damn, Madison Bumgarner, you’re better than I thought you were going to be. • Damn, Ryan Ludwick, who died and gave you a career 7.9 UZR/150 in right field? Oakland (Trevor Cahill, 5) at Minnesota (Brian Duensing, 4) | 7:10pm ET • Neither Cahill nor Duensing are real edge-of-your-seat exciting pitchers. Both are below average in terms of swinging-strike rates, and hence K/9. But they’re also pretty-really good at inducing grounders. On the season, Cahill is sporting a 56.4% groundball rate; Duensing, 52.4%. How many will they induce tonight?!? Tune in to find out! • In case you didn’t hear, Oakland recently promoted prospect Chris Carter to the big club. I had the opportunity to see all 6’5″, 230 of Carter this spring when Triple-A Sacramento visited Portland, Ore. Here was my first thought: “I could totally take that guy.” Here was my second: “I must be pretty sauced right now.” • If I had my druthers: I could totally take that guy. Boston (Jon Lester, 9) at Texas (Colby Lewis, 6) | 8:05pm ET • Lester has groundball rate of 54.3%. That’s surprising to me, and, because I’m not that special, I’m guessing it surprises you and you and you. How’s he doing it? Well, I asked the internet that question — specifically, StatCorner’s awesome scouting tool — and here’s what I found. (All pitches are graded on 20-80 scouting scale in each cat). Pitch % Sp K BB GB FB 58% 93 70 60 75 SI 16% 89 80 65 50 CB 14% 77 65 45 70 CH 8% 85 60 25 75 Overall -- -- 70 50 75 What we find here is that, with the exception of Lester’s sinker, he’s getting near league-best groundball rates on all his pitches. Now you know! • Colby Lewis is dynamic. That’s it: he’s just frigging dynamic. • If I had my druthers: Someone would design a plane or something modeled after Colby Lewis’s dynamism. Sunday, August 15 Cleveland (Justin Masterson, 8) at Seattle (Felix Hernandez, 10) | 1:05pm ET • Fact One: Justin Masterson has 63.4% groundball rate. • Fact Two: The Cleveland infield has had a whole lot of Jason Donald and Asdrubal Cabrera and Mark Grudzielanek and Anderson Hernandez and Jhonny Peralta and Andy Marte up in it. • Fact Three: Literally, all those guys have negative UZRs. Yeah, it takes some time for UZR to stabilize, but that’s a bad trend, at the very least. • Fact Four: Justin Masterson has a .347 BABIP against. • You fill the blanks, America. Baltimore (Jake Arrieta, 1) at Tampa Bay (Jeremy Hellickson, N/A) | 1:40pm ET • He’s only pitched 14 innings, so whatever, but here are the (very impressive) nerd scouting numbers for Hellickson. (Again, per StatCorner, on the 20-80 scouting scale.) Pitch % Sp K BB GB FB 51% 91 65 25 80 CH 27% 81 80 80 35 CB 18% 75 80 80 80 Overall -- -- 80 70 80 • Who’m I kidding? I’m just watching this so the computer-robot known as R.J. Anderson doesn’t freak out on me. • If I had my druthers: R.J. would someday get his wish to become a real boy. Milwaukee (Manny Parra, 7) at Colorado (Ubaldo Jimenez, 8) | 3:10pm ET • Dear Future Self, Is Casey McGehee 18 for his last 18 now? What’s it like where you are? Do they have frozen yogurt still? • Manny Parra is a lefty who throws 92-94 mph and has a killer split-finger pitch. He’s also someone who’s been cursed by God, as his career .352 BABIP-against confirms. • Experiment: Sit at a sports bar and tell the dude next to you that Ubaldo Jimenez isn’t the best pitcher in the majors. Wait for his reaction.