Daily Notes: The Effects of Burch Smith on the Human Brain

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Featured Game: St. Louis at San Diego, 22:10pm ET
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Featured Game: St. Louis at San Diego, 22:10pm ET
Regarding This Game, What a Reasonable Person Might Say
An entirely reasonable person could say, with regard to tonight’s Cardinals-Padres game, that it is not, strictly speaking, the most watchable of today’s scheduled games — because, for example, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is facing the Reds this afternoon, or because, for other example, Justin Verlander faces Cleveland tonight, which club is 1.5 games ahead of Verlander’s Detroiters.

What the Author Would Contend
What the author would contend — is, in fact, contending by having boldly declared it the Featured Game — is that there is no other game from which we might learn more than the present one. The author would go on to reference vaguely “something he read” on the link between learning and pleasure. He would almost certainly use the word “dopamine” more than once. He would then change the subject by means of a mostly humorous segue.

Regarding This Game, What One Might Learn
A thing a spectator might learn during the course of this game is what sort of claim Burch Smith might have to a starting role in the future. Despite having posted a 30.3% strikeout rate and 80 xFIP- in his first two major-league starts, Smith has also conceded 11 runs in just 6.1 innings.

A Second Thing One Might Learn
A second thing one might learn during the course of this game is if Smith’s changeup is likely to be as good again as this one he threw to Denard Span last week:

Smith Span CH K

A Third and Fourth Thing
The third and fourth things a spectator might learn with regard to Burch Smith are whether he’ll utilize his curve at all, really, and also to what degree he will or won’t sustain his mid-90s velocity as his pitch count increases.

Additionally, for St. Louis, left-hander Tyler Lyons is making his major-league debut tonight — which pitcher (i.e. Lyons) the author not only saw in spring training this March but also upon whom that author wrote ca. 130 words. One might learn how accurate the author was when he made the claim, in re Lyons, that he throws a slider at “82 mph, keeps [it] low, and with which he [is capable of inducing] a number of swings and misses.”

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast
Per the results of our crowdsourcing project from the 2011-2012 offseason, FanGraphs readers prefer St. Louis Radio (link).

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Seattle at Los Angeles AL | 19:05 ET
Brandon Maurer (40.2 IP, 115 xFIP-, -0.2 WAR) faces C.J. Wilson (55.2 IP, 104 xFIP-, 0.5 WAR). Of note: the Angels are projected to post this fourth-best record over the remainder of the season, and to still finish at 81-81.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Seattle Radio or Television, Probably.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.9.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Vance Worley MIN 3 3 4 8 4 ATL Paul Maholm 12:10
Mat Latos CIN 7 5 8 7 10 NYN Matt Harvey 13:10
Hyun-Jin Ryu LAN 7 2 6 5 6 MIL Wily Peralta 13:10
Jarrod Parker OAK 3 6 5 4 6 TEX Ross Wolf* 14:05
Trevor Cahill AZ 5 4 5 8 3 COL Jorge de la Rosa 15:10
Gio Gonzalez WAS 6 2 6 6 8 SF Ma. Bumgarner 15:45
Jeremy Hellickson TB 5 7 4 4 3 TOR Mark Buehrle 16:37
Jeff Samardzija CHN 9 5 9 7 10 PIT Francisco Liriano* 19:05
Justin Verlander DET 9 8 8 9 7 CLE Ubaldo Jimenez 19:05
Hiroki Kuroda NYA 4 6 4 7 2 BAL Jason Hammel 19:05
Brandon Maurer SEA 4 6 4 5 3 LAA C.J. Wilson 19:05
Cliff Lee PHI 7 1 4 0 4 MIA Kevin Slowey 19:10
Clay Buchholz BOS 7 8 6 1 6 CHA Hector Santiago 20:10
James Shields KC 7 7 6 4 6 HOU Jordan Lyles* 20:10
Tyler Lyons* STL 7 2 9 6 13 SD Burch Smith* 22:10

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

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

14 Responses to “Daily Notes: The Effects of Burch Smith on the Human Brain”

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  1. cass says:

    Please don’t ever stop being you, Carson.

    I will also note that during his last start, the Nats radio team had a wonderful extended riff on whether “Seth Smith” or “Burch Smith” was harder to pronounce. But, as they say, you had to be there. These guys should be on TV, but they’d probably be ruined since most tv guys are worse than the radio guys. But maybe teams aren’t hiring enough former radio guys as tv guys.

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    • David says:

      Since TV guys have to be pretty, they have a higher positional adjustment than radio guys and you can’t expect the same level of witty banter. Vin Scully is a Tulowitzski-esque superstar with the durability of a Hank Aaron and the consistency of a Mariano Rivera.

      +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. NatsFan73 says:

    Of course Samardzija v. Liriano would be the most NERD-watchable game of the day without certain manual adjustments being made to Burch Smith’s own score.

    But I could think of a great many varieties of personal torture I would rather endure than a Cubs/Pirates tilt likely meaningless in the grand scheme of an entire season. So there’s that.

    I’m putting my good time to use watching CIN vs. Harvey, thankyouverymuch

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  3. randplaty says:

    SD vs STL will be awesome! Burch Smith is only the most obvious reason.

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  4. Hurtlockertwo says:

    I geuss I’m not getting the hype about Burch Smith?? 4 HR’s and a 15.63 ERA in six innings?? He struck out ten, is that the stat??

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    • cass says:

      It’s mostly just Carson being Carson. He readily admits that this isn’t really the most watchable game except for his Burth Smith obsession. And it gives Daily Notes more personality.

      If you’re more interested in seeing Harvey vs CIN or Verlander vs. CLE, those games were mentioned too. I think if Daily Notes always featured those sorts of game without this sort of subtle humor, it’d be a lot drier and less interesting to read. But I also get how some people probably find Carson annoying and they probably wouldn’t be looking at a column based on NERD scores in the first place.

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  5. Mike Flak says:

    Looked up the dopamine/learning reference and found it chockful of neat articles…any particular articles/sites you’d point to, Carson?

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  6. 65Kyle08 says:

    Vampire weekends new album is BALLS!

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  7. Crude Random Guy says:

    Based on his pitching, Burch Smith should be called Burnt Shit.

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    • 4233 says:

      Correct….He throws a garbage FB and does nothing to mix in any secondaries….POO POO!!!!.Next he will be GA GA over John Gast….

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