One Night Only: Hot Game Previews for April 18th


At least Nick Punto could fly.

Today’s edition of One Night Only contains:

1. Previews of two games, with sexy, updated Team NERD scores and sexy, updated ZiPS projections.

2. Notes on a third game you shouldn’t watch.

3. A poll on what’s the most depressing thing about the current iteration of the Twins.

Cleveland (9) at Kansas City (9) | 8:10pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Indians: Carlos Carrasco
180.2 IP, 6.58 K/9, 3.34 BB/9, 4.30 FIP

Royals: Kyle Davies
181.0 IP, 6.22 K/9, 4.03 BB/9, 4.39 FIP

Regarding the Youth of These Teams
The Indians and Royals have featured the league’s two youngest lineups so far this season, at 26.6 and 27.0 years old, respectively.

Regard, from Cleveland: Michael Brantley (24), Asdrubal Cabrera (25), Carlos Santana (25), Matt LaPorta (26).

Now regard some more, from Kansas City: Alcides Escobar (24), Billy Butler (25), Melky Cabrera (26), Jeff Francoeur (27), Chris Getz (27), Alex Gordon (27), Kila Ka’aihue (27).

Some Notes on That
• Regardless of his age, it’s maybe hard to make Melky Cabrera seem very exciting. (Except for this and this, that is.)
• The same likely goes for Jeff Francoeur.
• In an ideal world, the age numbers would be weighted by production in addition to/instead of just plate appearances.
• In an ideal workd, a lot of things’d be different, buddy.
• Last thing: Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon actually are — but don’t seem to be — the same age.

Hey, It’s Grady Sizemore!
Frigging Grady Sizemore played baseball yesterday, hit his first major-league home run since August of 2009, and didn’t fall over in pain even once. He’s likely to play today, as well.

In the event that you’ve forgotten — or never knew in the first place — Sizemore was absolutely one of the best major leaguers from 2005 to ’08. Consider this WAR Grid as evidence (click to embiggen):

San Francisco (6) at Colorado (9) | 8:40pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Giants: Tim Lincecum
213.1 IP, 10.42 K/9, 2.87 BB/9, 2.56 FIP

Rockies: Esmil Rogers
142.0 IP, 6.34 K/9, 3.49 BB/9, 4.01 FIP

Tim Lincecum’s Repertoire
Matthew Carruth of both FanGraphs and Lookout Landing provides series previews for the Mariners at the latter of those two sites. As part of those previews, he gives statistically based scouting reports on the probable starting pitchers for each of the series’ games.

For each pitch, Carruth looks at the swinging strikes, overall strike percentage, and ground-ball rate that said pitch induces. He expresses each rating on the 20-80 scouting scale, where league average is 50, 80 is super good, and 20 is, as my brother and sisters in So Cal would say, “totally gnar-gnar.”

In any case, here’s Lincecum’s repertoire by that measure (from 2008 to present):

Pitch	%	Sp	K	BB	GB
FA	53%	93	65	60	55
CH	18%	83	80	75	75
CV	14%	78	50	45	45
SL	8%	84	80	60	75
SI	5%	91	45	30	45
Overall	--	--	80	60	65

Some observations:
• Lincecum’s changeup is very close to perfect.
• There might be some general classification error between Lincecum’s curve and slider. Both BIS and PitchFx are showing considerably more slider usage, considerably less curve usage.
• That could just be a change that Lincecum’s actually making, too.

Minnesota (0) at Baltimore (3) | 7:05pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Twins: Francisco Liriano
180.1 IP, 8.58 K/9, 3.49 BB/9, 3.55 FIP

Orioles: Chris Tillman
159.1 IP, 6.10 K/9, 3.33 BB/9, 4.78 FIP

Warning
Don’t watch this game!

Why
Because these teams — the Twins, in particular — might make your life worse!

Science
If there’s one thing that contemporary marketing philosophy has shown us, it’s that polls are infallible… and fun! With that in mind, let’s try collectively to find the answer to what makes this current iteration of the Minnesota Twins so miserable!




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


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
john
Guest
john
5 years 4 months ago

The worst part about this Twins/O’s game is that you didn’t even mention that Chris Tillman, former stud prospect, has been hurling 88 mph batting practice fastballs for the last six months and no one appears to have any idea why.

Dash
Guest
Dash
5 years 4 months ago

Tillman said in an interview that he’s trying to get better control of it because he wasn’t successful throwing faster and having no idea where it was going.

SeanP
Guest
SeanP
5 years 4 months ago

Agreed, Tillman is killing me.

Steven Ellingson
Guest
Steven Ellingson
5 years 4 months ago

You put a picture of Nick Punto at the top, but then don’t include his absense in the poll?

Christian
Guest
Christian
5 years 4 months ago

Carson, w/r/t Lincecum’s slider:

After his hellish August, Lincecum was looking for help. Matt Cain taught him his (Cain’s) slider grip in early September, and Lincecum took it and ran with it. Before September, the slider was only a show me pitch that Lincecum used to keep batters honest. Since then, with the best example being his start against the Braves, it has become death to all things carrying wood (Batters and frat bros alike).

In short, it’s probably not a classification error, in SF they’re making a big deal about his “new” slider.

eckmuhl
Member
eckmuhl
5 years 4 months ago

Two points:

1) Lincecum has indeed been throwing more sliders so far this season.

2) I thought gnar-gnar meant, like, totally beyond gnarly, sick, or awesome.

Barkey Walker
Guest
Barkey Walker
5 years 4 months ago

When do we get UZRs for 2011 so we can get quantitative about Alexi Casilla?

John
Guest
John
5 years 4 months ago

As bad of idea it was to start Cassilla at shortstop (and it was a bad idea) it pales in comparison to A) deciding that Michael Cuddyer should move to 2B when the Twins face RHP despite the fact that he can neither field the position nor hit RHP and B) that trading away both Morales and Ramos was a good idea leaving the Twins w/ light hitting Drew Butera to start and Steve Holmes to back up when the inevitable Mauer injury took place.

joeymitch
Guest
joeymitch
5 years 4 months ago

Anyone that thinks Nick Punto being subtracted from the Twins line up is a bad thing deserves to be taken out behind the shed. He was fine as a utility infielder, but Gardenhire would find a way to get him in the line up every day somehow! As a Twins fan, I can’t tell you how happy I was when they didn’t resign him this summer.

One could argue the Twins could use him now and I would agree if he would have been used like Matt Tolbert was supposed to be used – strictly utility. But given both his and Gardenhire’s past history together, I know this wouldn’t have been possible.

Shame on the Twins for not getting someone in house that could start at second or short though. If you can’t start your utility infielder at a position when an injury occurs, why is that utility player on the roster in the first place?!?!?

One last observation from an obviously frustrated Twins fan: if Gardenhire’s sole reason for wanting to get rid of Hudson and Hardy was to get some “speed”, why the h3ll aren’t the Twins running? Gardenhire doesn’t tolerate players who don’t fit his mold and while it may have helped in years past, it is a huge hindrance to there success this year. I guess you live by the Gardy, you die by the Gardy…

j6takish
Guest
j6takish
5 years 4 months ago

Gardy may be the single most frustrating manager in the history of the game. Filling out his lineup card by position, pitching to contact, “creating havoc on the basepaths”, and Micheal Cuddyer should never be allowed to touch a glove, let alone play 2nd base

glassSheets
Guest
glassSheets
5 years 4 months ago

“Live by the Gardy, die by the Gardy” is a fantastic quote. Congratulatons.

mhad
Guest
mhad
5 years 4 months ago

The poll should have a “Yes” option.

Fraggle Rock
Guest
Fraggle Rock
5 years 4 months ago

It’s hard to pick the worst thing about the Twins currently but the most glaring weakness from this weekend is the lack of depth in the back end of the bullpen. Joe Nathan has lost his control and is clearly not back to full strength posting a 8.44 BB/9 and xFIP 6.95. Matt Capps also has been less than stellar with a xFIP 4.55 which is the worst of his career. Both blew leads late in the game and a great performance from Pavano was thrown down the drain in the 9th. Watching a team lose like that is rough to watch.

Twins fan (not the team)
Guest
Twins fan (not the team)
5 years 4 months ago

As far as I’m concerned, this Twins team is just as disappointing as any other team Minnesota has fielded. To the best of my knowledge, they have never had actual twins on the roster. Every time I tune into a Twins game, I expect to be treated to a three-hour Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum commercial, and every time I am sorely disappointed.

Danye
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I think you’re underestimating the joy of watching Drew Butera call the heck out of a game.

John
Guest
John
5 years 4 months ago

…only to watch grounder after grounder roll by the porous infield defense.

Kroot
Guest
Kroot
5 years 4 months ago

Drew whom ?

MikeS
Guest
MikeS
5 years 4 months ago

Nothing is depressing me about the Twins. I’m a White Sox fan, their misery is the only thing keeping me going for the last week.

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