One Night Only: Your Entire Weekend, Planned

You know what’s the worst? Thinking! And you know what’s doubly the worst? Having to think even for a second about what games to watch over the weekend.

Well, now — thanks to cutting-edge research (that, and the internet) — you don’t have to.

Hail, nerds! These are your games of the weekend.

Texas at Minnesota | Friday, May 28 | 8:10 pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Rangers: Colby Lewis
57.1 IP, 9.10 K/9, 3.77 BB/9, .263 BABIP, 38.4% GB, 7.9% HR/FB 3.98 xFIP

Twins: Kevin Slowey
49.2 IP, 6.89 K/9, 2.36 BB/9, .350 BABIP, 28.1% GB, 9.6% HR/FB, 4.63xFIP

Watch For
• Colby Lewis. Duh.
• Of 113 qualified pitchers, Kevin Slowey has the absolute lowest groundball rate in the majors. Here are some people who’re happy about that: Ian Kinsler and Vladimir Guerrero and Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz and Justin Smoak.
• Smoak is currently sporting a slash line of .173/.287/.317, but here’s what nerds know: he’s not that bad! Smoak’s BABIP is a paltry .171. StatCorner places his regressed wOBA (wOBAr) at .367.

The Other Reason I’ll Be Watching This
Because my friend Dan, a Twins fan, invited me to.

What You’re Saying to Me
What is that my business?

What I’m Replying Back
Sorry, guy. I just thought it’d be possible to reach out and forge a real human connection. Like in that one movie where two people from totally different worlds — he’s a ruthless entrepreneur, she’s a small-town librarian — forge a real human connection.

If I Had My Druthers
• Americans would stand up and take notice of Justin Smoak.
• Americans, while standing up and noticing Justin Smoak, would resist the urge to call him the Smoak Monster.
• Americans would start being polite, and stop being real.

Houston at Cincinnati | Saturday, May 29 | 7:10 pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Astros: Bud Norris*
43.2 IP, 11.13 K/9, 5.36 BB/9, .400 BABIP, 36.8% GB, 11.4% HR/FB, 3.99 xFIP

Reds: Aaron Harang
58.2 IP, 7.36 K/9, 1.99 BB/9, .353 BABIP, 41.4% GB, 16.9% HR/FB, 3.79 xFIP

Watch For
• Norris and Harang. The pair are currently two of the least lucky pitchers (per ERA-xFIP) in the majors. Norris has a 6.80 ERA; Harang, a 5.98 ERA. Impress your friends and/or standers-by with this knowledge!
• The Reds! They’re good. Offensive Rank (per WAR), 2009: 15th in the NL. Offensive Rank (per WAR), 2010: 5th!
Jay Bruce regressing real hard back to (and then above) the mean. Bruce, 2009: .221 BABIP, 97 wRC+. Bruce, 2010: .348 BABIP, 127 wRC+.

If I Had My Druthers
• Aaron Harang would stop getting dumped on by Fortune.
Miguel Cairo would not both start at first base and occupy the most important spot in the batting order.
• The part of the game where Houston’s supposed to bat wouldn’t exist.

*As reader Jason notes in the comments sections, Norris has actually been sent to the DL recently. In his place will be Gustavo Chacin. That’s less interesting than Norris. Sorry, dogggz.

Los Angeles (NL) at Colorado | Sunday, May 30 | 3:10 pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw
59.0 IP, 9.61 K/9, 5.03 BB/9, .284 BABIP, 40.1% GB, 4.8% HR/FB, 4.25 xFIP

Rockies: Jhoulys Chacin
32.0 IP, 8.44 K/9, 3.66 BB/9, .249 BABIP, 41.9% GB, 6.7% HR/FB, 3.81 xFIP

Watch For
• Clayton Kershaw. Of starters with more than 20 IP, Kershaw is fourth — behind Tim Lincecum (13.5%), Brandon Morrow (13.0%), and Dan Haren (12.8%) — in swinging strike percentage (11.9%). His fastball, a pitch that league-wide gets swing-and-misses only about 7 percent of the time, is getting whiffs 11.8 percent of the time.
• Jhoulys Chacin can throw the frig out of a baseball and is only 22 years old.
Chris Iannetta’s back in the majors after hitting .349/.447/.698 in his 70-something Triple-A plate appearances.

More on Kershaw
Matthew Carruth does these cool things for Lookout Landing where he looks at each pitcher’s basic repertoire and then grades it on the 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are determined by league percentiles in swinging strikes (K), strike rate (BB) and ground balls (GB) for each pitch.

Here’s what Kershaw’s looks like:

Pitch 	%	Sp 	K 	BB 	GB
FB 	71% 	94 	80 	60 	60
CB 	18% 	73 	45 	20 	60
SL 	6% 	82 	65 	35 	20
Overall	--	--	75	35	50

If I Had My Druthers
• Kershaw would just throw all those fastballs.
• The world would wake up and smell the Chris Iannetta.
• Actually, that’s gross.

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

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12 years ago

Next up, ‘Your Entire Weekend Planned for Orioles Fans Without MLB.TV.”