Daily Notes, With Some Cheerful Facts re: Matt Moore

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

1. Featured Game: Baltimore at Tampa Bay, 13:40 ET
2. Other Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Featured Game: Baltimore at Tampa Bay, 13:40 ET
Regarding Which of These Teams Is in First Place
In terms of which — between the Orioles and the Rays, that is — which of them is currently in first place in the AL East, the answer to that is: “Both of them.”

For Reference, The AL East Standings
For reference, here are the current AL East standings (including Saturday games):

Place Team Wins Losses Win%
1 Rays 30 23 0.566
2 Orioles 30 23 0.566
3 Yankees 28 24 0.538
4 Red Sox 28 25 0.528
5 Blue Jays 27 26 0.509

For Reference, The AL East Standings, According to WAR
Here are the AL East standings, using WAR winning percentage instead (also including Saturday’s games):

Place Team WAR W WAR L WAR%
1 Red Sox 29.0 24.0 0.547
2 Rays 28.5 24.5 0.537
3 Orioles 28.0 25.0 0.528
4 Yankees 26.9 25.1 0.518
5 Blue Jays 23.2 29.8 0.437

A Thing You Mightn’t Have Noticed
A thing the reader mightn’t have noticed is that very young left-hander Matt Moore, who starts for Tampa Bay, has pitched quite well over his most recent three starts. To wit: 17.2 IP, 32.9% K, 8.2% BB, 48.8% GB, 2.45 xFIP.

What That’s Compared To
That’s compared to his less impressive full-season line. As such: 56.2 IP, 23.2% K, 11.2% BB, 37.1% GB, 4.43 xFIP.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast
Per the results of our offseason crowdsourcing project, FanGraphs readers prefer Tampa Bay Radio (link).

Other Notable Games
New York AL at Detroit | 13:05 ET
Justin Verlander (81.1 IP, 74 xFIP-, 3.0 WAR), who pitches for the Tigers this afternoon, hasn’t actually thrown a no-hitter in every appearance he’s made at Yankees Stadium, but it sounds like something he’d do.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Detroit Radio.

Atlanta at Washington | 13:35 ET
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (61.2 IP, 72 xFIP-, 2.4 WAR) continued his excellent season in his most recent start — also against Atlanta — last Sunday. Of note: the number of whiffs on just his fastball. Per PITCHf/x, Gonzalez induced swing-and-misses on 25% of his four-seamers. (League average is ca. 6%.)

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Either Atlanta or Washington Radio.

Arizona at San Diego | 18:35 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
San Diego’s 23-year-old catching prospect Yasmani Grandal recorded his first major-league at-bat on Saturday, flying out in an eighth-inning pinch-hit appearance. Here’s what he did at Triple-A Tucson before his recent promotion: 145 PA, .308/.414/.492 (.394 BABIP).

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Arizona Radio.

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 5.5.

Note: the following Game Scores include the poorly conceived playoff-odds adjustment discussed in a recent edition of Daily Notes. Also note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Phil Hughes NYA 5 5 8 5 10 DET Justin Verlander 13:05
Daniel Bard BOS 1 4 5 6 6 TOR Drew Hutchison 13:07
Tommy Hanson ATL 4 7 8 5 10 WAS Gio Gonzalez 13:35
Carlos Zambrano MIA 3 4 6 3 7 PHI Joe Blanton 13:35
Jake Arrieta BAL 8 5 8 6 6 TB Matt Moore 13:40
Bronson Arroyo CIN 5 3 4 5 6 HOU Jordan Lyles 14:05
Tommy Milone OAK 4 1 3 6 5 KC Vin Mazzaro* 14:10
James McDonald PIT 7 2 6 5 8 MIL Michael Fiers* 14:10
Kevin Millwood SEA 3 5 6 6 10 CHA Chris Sale 14:10
Scott Diamond MIN 7 2 4 4 3 CLE Justin Masterson 15:05
Nathan Eovaldi* LAN 7 5 6 10 7 COL Alex White 15:10
Matt Harrison TEX 6 10 7 3 7 LAA Dan Haren 15:35
Travis Wood* CHN 4 4 3 5 0 SF Barry Zito 16:05
Trevor Cahill AZ 5 4 3 5 2 SD Eric Stults 18:35
Jake Westbrook STL 5 10 6 1 6 NYN Jonathon Niese 20:05

To learn more about Pitcher and Team NERD scores 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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When Drew Hutchinson has a 5 point advantage in NERD to Daniel Bard, then I know the terrorists have already won.

I’m going to watch Bard throw more walks than strikeouts and whimper quietly (as I usually do watching baseball)


I wrote that before the game today, and now I fully appreciate the NERD rating, but my god…


Both he and Andrew Miller were drafted out of North Carolina in the first round in 2006. Why do both of them struggle so badly with control when they are put in the starting rotation yet seem to pitch so well in a relief role. Bard needs to go back to the bullpen when Daisuke is ready. He’s had enough of a chance and I’m not impressed.


I was all for the Bard to starter move, and I thought it still might work out until today. Bobby V will feel vindicated when he gets his top reliever back in the pen.


Bard was never successful as a starter – granted his minor league stint was abbreviated…. mainly because he has a reliever arm and they wisely stuck him there when his walk rates were high and his K rates were low in A ball as a starter.

His fastball is straight – at 97 it moved a bit more and with that velocity it doesn’t matter as much, at 93mph it does. Couple the velocity dip with the horizontal movement per f/x being nearly gone (-1.7 vs -3.7 and -5.3 the previous 2 years) and you have an average-ish fastball as a starter. He has a good slider but that’s basically it. Why would that repertoire work as a starter? That’s basically a grind out it out 5-6 inning guy who is mainly good for 2 turns through a lineup… and that’s with good control/command of those 2 pitches

Not sure why people thought this was a good move – yes a starter can be more valuable than a reliever, but that’s when the starter is actually good.