UPDATE: according to the entire internet, very celebrated prospect Bryce Harper will be making his major-league debut on Saturday. As noted below, Washington plays Los Angeles at 9:10pm ET on Saturday and 4:10pm ET on Sunday.
Below are brief previews for notable weekend games — each including the preferred television feed of FanGraphs readers, per the results of our offseason crowdsourcing project.
Furthermore, for the benefit of those whose viewing options are limited, each day contains a preview for that day’s featured MLB.TV Free Game.
All stats current as of Thursday, except when they’re current as of Friday.
Friday, April 27th
Los Angeles AL at Cleveland | 19:05 ET
• As noted in yesterday’s edition of Daily Notes, which all of America — and probably some of the more important European countries — will have read with rapt attention, the Cleveland Indians entered Thursday with a considerably higher walk rate (13.1%) than even the next-highest team (Tampa Bay, 10.9%).
• Indeed, this trend continued on Thursday (box), with Cleveland walking five times in 38 plate appearances (13.2%) against Kansas City.
• Here are the team leaders in that regard: Carlos Santana (68 PA, 22.1% BB), Travis Hafner (64, 21.9%), and Shelley Duncan (61, 19.7%).
• In light of this stirring information, the reader is certainly forgiven for wanting to regain his breath and/or compsoure.
• After he recovers, however, the reader will also want to know that the starting pitchers for this game are Jered Weaver (29.2 IP, 65 xFIP-, 1.1 WAR) and Justin Masterson (21.2, 116, 0.0).
Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Los Angeles AL.
Arizona at Miami | 19:10 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
• Joe Saunders faces Carlos Zambrano.
• Regarding Zambrano: despite optimistic reports from spring training with respect to his velocity, his four-seam fastball has averaged just 88.5 mph so far, according to PITCHf/x — compared to 90.2 mph in 2011, for example.
• Zambrano’s line, through three starts: 19.0 IP, 21.9% K, 11.0% BB, 41.7% GB, 4.02 SIERA, 3.84 xFIP, 107 xFIP-, 0.2 WAR.
• Regarding these offenses: both of them are, perhaps surprisingly, below league average so far.
• Ahem: Arizona, 90 wRC+ and .277 BABIP; Miami, 83 and .275.
Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Miami.
Saturday, April 28th
San Diego at San Francisco | 21:05 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
• Anecdotal evidence maybe to the contrary, the Giants actually possess one of the league’s stronger offenses so far, it appears.
• Indeed, as of Thursday, San Francisco field players have accrued a collective 3.7 WAR, sixth in the majors.
• Of note, of course, is that 11th-place Boston is only 0.3 WAR behind and a number of other teams are in close proximity.
• Team leaders: Buster Posey (64 PA, 183 wRC+, 0.9 WAR), Melky Cabrera (88, 124, 0.7), and Pablo Sandoval (85, 148, 0.7).
• Pitching: Anthony Bass (19.1 IP, 95 xFIP-, 0.2 WAR) and Tim Lincecum (18.2, 78, 0.3).
Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: San Francisco.
Washington at Los Angeles NL | 21:10 ET
• Stephen Strasburg pitches for Washington.
• Through four starts and 25.0 innings, he’s been roughly the same pitcher he was after returning from Tommy John surgery last season.
• Compare: 25.0 IP (24.0 last season), 25.8% K (27.3%), 6.2% BB (2.3%), 42.9% GB (27.7%), 2.95 SIERA (2.46), 80 xFIP- (63), 1.0 WAR (1.1).
• He faces Chad Billingsley (23.2, 106 xFIP-, 0.1 WAR) and a Dodgers team that has posted the fourth-highest field-player WAR (4.7) so far this season.
• Matt Kemp Status Update: 80 PA, .449/.513/.942, (.477 BABIP), .590 wOBA, 293 wRC+, 2.2 WAR.
Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Los Angeles NL.
Sunday, April 29th
Oakland at Baltimore | 13:35 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
• Some rudimentary spreasheeting reveals that Bartolo Colon, Oakland’s starter tonight, leads baseball’s 112 qualified starters in strike percentage, at 70.9% — a figure that’s 2.5 standard deviations above the league average of 63.5%.
• The league’s top five in that regard: Colon, Bronson Arroyo (70.5%), Jordan Zimmermann (69.3%), Bruce Chen (69.1%), and Cliff Lee (69.0%).
• And bottom five: James McDonald (55.1%), Kyle Drabek (55.2%), Trevor Cahill (56.8%), Ubaldo Jimenez (58.5%), and Ricky Romero (58.8%).
• Facing Colon is Tommy Hunter (24.2 IP, 113 xFIP-, -0.3 WAR).
• Yoenis Cespedes Status Update: 79 PA, .269/.367/.537 (.317 BABIP), 152 wRC+, 0.9 WAR.
Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Oakland, Barely*.
*Note that the away feed might not feature Baltimore’s excellent center-field camera angle.
Washington vs. Los Angeles NL | 16:10 ET
• I was feeling a lot of pressure to preview the Tampa Bay and Texas game — ESPN’s Sunday Night Game, in fact — instead of this one.
• Like, the kind of pressure one’ll find addressed in an after-school special about teenagers who are feeling a lot of pressure.
• But what I did was to ask my True Self, “What game would you really prefer to see?”
• The answer was this one — mostly with a view to answering the question “What the eff, Gio Gonzalez?”
• Because: 23.2 IP, 29.7% K, 7.7% BB, 52.7% GB, 2.58 SIERA, 66 xFIP-, 1.0 WAR.
Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Los Angeles NL.
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