This edition of One Night Only is so funny you’ll probably forget to laugh.
(NERD scores listed beside pitchers’ names.)
Friday, August 06
St. Louis (Adam Wainwright, 8) at Florida (Ricky Nolasco, 9) | 7:05pm ET
• I’ll let people who’re smarter than me and care more about it debate the relative merits of trading away Ryan Ludwick. The immediate benefit of the trade, however, is that we all get more Jon Jay and Allen Craig in our respective lives. Jay’s .416 BABIP and regressed wOBA of .326 (courtesy of StatCorner) suggest that — shockingly! — his .366/.415/.553 line is unsustainable. Craig’s 48 plate appearance this season haven’t been super impressive, but at Triple-A the last two seasons, he’s been like the Prince of baseball — i.e. a producer of hits — slashing .322/.380/.551 in 842 PA.
• My memory isn’t so good, but I don’t recall Nolasco’s NERD being so high even this time last month. What’s happened in that time? Well, I asked the internet that question, and here was its answer: 4 GS, 27.1 IP, 30 K, 5 BB. That’s about a 2.50 FIP, probably. Also, Nolasco has an excellent strike rate of about 69.5% over that time.
• If I had my druthers: Adam Wainwright would throw the curveball to end all curveballs.
Los Angeles Americans (Jered Weaver, 8) at Detroit (Justin Verlander, 8) | 7:05pm ET
• Per Total Zone, Peter Bourjos was worth +76 runs in 360 games started in center field from 2006 to 2009.
• Per Erik Manning’s trick knee, Peter Bourjos is gonna be a star.
• If I had my druthers: Peter Bourjos, Peter Bourjos, Peter Bourjos. (Those are the lyrics to a song.)
Texas (Cliff Lee, 8) at Oakland (Dallas Braden, 6) | 10:05pm ET
• Perhaps it’s because the Texas farm system is so incredibly deep, or perhaps it’s because he was originally a 17th round draft pick, but Mitch Moreland appears to have received less attention than his performance would otherwise merit. If Gaby Sanchez (9/2/1983) and Logan Morrison (8/25/1987) were the oldest and youngest of three brothers, Moreland (9/6/1985) would be the middle brother. Like those two, he plays first base. And, like those two, his game is more predicated on excellent contact skills than power. Last year, his stikeout rate hovered around 13% between High-A and Double-A. This year, in 410 Triple-A plate appearances, it came in at 15.4%.
• Cliff Lee is, in the parlance of our ancestors, bodacious. As our Full-Time Employee noted a couple days ago: “Cliff Lee has completed at least eight innings in nine consecutive starts, throwing the full nine innings in six of those. In 18 starts, he’s only failed to finish the 7th inning once.”
• If I had my druthers: We would always, all of us, use the parlance of our ancestors.
Saturday, August 07
Boston (John Lackey, 3) at New York Americans (CC Sabathia, 3) | 4:05pm ET
• Have you ever watched a baseball game surrounded by the hardcorest of the hardcore baseballing nerds? Not in a sexy/gross way, but more like a hey-we’re-all-friends way? I ask, because that’s the the sort of thing that’ll be happening today in New York City, after the Live Event. (Note: Only ticketed Live Event-ers will be given the very secret location of the viewing spot).
• Ken Tremendous tweets: “Ryan Kalish will hit .538 for his career. 20 years. .538. Book it.”
• If I had my druthers: Ken Tremendous would also tweet: “Carson Cistulli is America’s sweetheart.”
Colorado (Jorge de la Rosa, 9) at Pittsburgh (Ross Ohlendorf, 2) | 7:05pm ET
• With a roster full of prospects — or, if not prospect-prospects, at least interesting young players — on their side, the Pirates have been one of the more compelling teams for the baseballing nerd. This past trade deadline, GM Neal Huntington made the team even cooler, sending away Octavio Dotel, Bobby Crosby, and some Donruss ’87 Rated Rookie card for more interesting young players (like my man Chris Snyder over here). But don’t take my word for it! Jack Frigging Moore wrote about it real hard this past Monday.
• I’m a Nerd and So Can You isn’t the title of Ross Ohlendorf’s forthcoming book. But Matt Klaassen wouldn’t surprised if it were.
• If I had my druthers: Ross Ohlendorf would’ve actually already written a book.
Sunday, August 08
New York Nationals (R.A. Dickey, 6) at Philadelphia (Roy Halladay, 10) | 1:35pm ET
• A guy goes away for a week and then, when he gets back, Domonic Brown all of a sudden has over 30 major league plate appearances. Sheesh, what gives? Anyway, he entered the season as the top prospect in the Philly system per Baseball America and Marc Hulet. Minor League Splits has his MLE line at .270/.321/.454 between Double- and Triple-A this season.
• Back in March, Tom Tango suggested how the differential between strikeouts and walks actually reveals more about a pitcher’s control over the strike zone than the ratio. Well, this year, Roy Halladay is striking about 7 more K than BB for every 9 innings he pitches (7.99 K/9, 1.06 BB/9). That marks the best differential of his career.
• If I had my druthers: When his pitching career is over, R.A. Dickey would fight cancer with this much intensity:
Cincinnati (Travis Wood, 7) at Chicago Nationals (Thomas Diamond, N/A) | 2:20pm ET
• In his major league debut — this past Tuesday versus Milwaukee — Diamond posted a line that looked almost identical to this: 6.0 IP, 27 TBF, 10 K, 3 BB, 3 GB on 14 BIP. Really, with the exception of all those strikeouts, it’s exactly the line you’d expect from Diamond, who (per First Inning) recorded 104 K, 46 BB, and a 33% GB rate through 108.1 Triple-A innings. (Our man Joe Pawl wrote about Diamond more in depth a couple days ago.)
• For his part, Wood has posted only a 28.7% groundball rate through his first. His minor league numbers suggest something at least closer to the mid-30% area, but that’s still extreme-flyball territory. Long story mostly short: with Wood and Diamond pitching — and a high of 89 degrees expected in Chicago — I’d take the over on whatever the line is for home runs in this game.
• If I had my druthers: Young men, the whole land over, would somehow make the surnames Diamond and Wood into a dirty joke type of thing.
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