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One Night Only: Hot Game Previews for April 25th

The real Matt Garza?

This edition of One Night Only contains:

1. Far-seeing previews for two games.

2. Updated Team NERD scores in parentheses and updated ZiPS projections for pitchers — plus, an updated Team NERD table featuring all 30 MLB teams.

3. Some serious questions about Matt Garza’s identity.

Colorado (9) at Chicago Nationals (1) | 8:05pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Rockies: Esmil Rogers
139.0 IP, 6.28 K/9, 3.56 BB/9, 4.43 FIP

Cubs: Matt Garza
207.2 IP, 8.06 K/9, 2.90 BB/9, 3.60 FIP

• Despite the 0-2 record and 4.74 ERA or whatever, Garza is the best qualified starter — on a per-inning basis, at least — in the majors.
• Line: 24.2 IP, 12.41 K/9, 2.92 BB/9, .471 BABIP, 45.6 GB%, 0.0% HR/FB, 1.93 xFIP.
• Interesting thing here: per the PitchFx data, Garza appears to be throwing a two-seamer about 21% of the time — about double the rate of last season.
• He’s throwing his slider and changeup about twice as often, as well.
• In effect, Matt Garza is an entirely different pitcher.

If I Had My Druthers
• It would turn out, this actually is a different Matt Garza than the one who played for Tampa Bay.
• This one was, like, a Coldwell Banker employee or something in Schenectady.
• The New York Times would write about that instead of how there aren’t that many giant gardens in the city.

Philadelphia (3) at Arizona (10) | 9:40pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Phillies: Cliff Lee
204.1 IP, 8.06 K/9, 1.23 BB/9, 2.68 FIP

Diamondbacks: Ian Kennedy
140.1 IP, 7.31 K/9, 3.40 BB/9, 3.94 FIP

Some Notes on Cliff Lee
• Cliff Lee’s strikeout totals have been decidedly strange over his first four starts.
• To wit: 11, 3, 12, 1.
• I’m not no genius or whatever, but I can tell you that’s an average of 6.75 per start.
• But a standard deviation of 5.56.
• Conclusion: Cliff Lee will almost definitely have somewhere between 1.19 and 12.31 strikeouts tonight.

Ryan Roberts Watch
Ryan Roberts has started at third base for seven consecutive games for Arizona.
• Line: 60 PA, .320/.433/.620 (.324), .450 wOBA, 175 wRC+, 0.9 WAR.

Arizona Bullpen Watch
• The Arizona bullpen continues to be one of the best in the league.
• As a group, they have a 3.16 xFIP — versus a league-average bullpen xFIP of 4.04.
• Some highlights from their nasty brigade: J.J. Putz (8.0 IP, 1.80 xFIP), Kam Mickolio (5.0, 2.41), the Josh Collmenter (7.0, 2.72).

Updated Team NERD Table
Totally Superfluous Bold Heading