One Night Only: Hot Game Previews for May 9th

Zack Greinke prepares for tonight’s pregame interview. (He’s a nerd, is the joke.)

This edition of One Night Only contains:

1. Expanded previews for two games: San Diego at Milwaukee and Detroit at Toronto.

2. Shorter, but no less charming, previews for three more games: Minnesota at Boston, Oakland at Texas, and Chicago AL at Los Angeles AL.

3. Pitcher and Team NERD scores for every one of tonight’s games.

Detroit (2) at Toronto (7) | 19:07 ET
Starting Pitchers
Tigers: Max Scherzer (5)
45.2 IP, 9.07 K/9, 3.94 BB/9, .303 BABIP, 38.2 GB%, 13.2% HR/FB, 3.63 xFIP, 92 xFIP-

Blue Jays: Brandon Morrow (N/A)
ZiPS (RoS): 137.0 IP, 9.66 K/9, 3.48 BB/9, 0.92 HR/9, 3.28 FIP

• If you look at the pitch-type value on Brandon Morrow’s player page, in the column for his slider — instead of a number or something — it just says, “Blam!”
• And there’s a little, like, animated hand making a karate-chop motion.
• The implication being, I guess, that, much like a karate chop, Morrow’s slider is both swift and decisive.

If I Had My Druthers
• We’d use more images in our pitch-type analysis.
• Like, maybe one of a roughly hewn prison shank for Carlos Marmol‘s slider.
• And maybe just a beautiful, beautiful rainbow for Adam Wainwright‘s curveball.

San Diego (7) at Milwaukee (6) | 20:10 ET
Starting Pitchers
Padres: Mat Latos (7)
27.2 IP, 9.76 K/9, 3.90 BB/9, .264 BABIP, 40.8 GB%, 12.8% HR/FB, 3.79 xFIP, 102 xFIP-

Brewers: Zack Greinke (N/A)
Start on 5/4: 4.0 IP, 21 TBF, 6 K, 1 BB, 7 GB on 12 batted-balls (58.3 GB%)

• It’d be totally reasonable if you watched Greinke’s season debut last week and thought, “Greinke’s doing poorly.”
• Because he gave up five runs in just four innings, is why.
• But he also gave up a home run on just two fly balls.
• And his strand rate for the game was 21.7%.
• As compared to his career rate of 72.4%, that is.

If I Had My Druthers
• Greinke would say, in a pregame interview, he’d say “Superficially, it looked as though I pitched poorly in my season debut.”
• And would continue: “But I gave up a home run on just two fly balls.”
• And would conclude: “And my strand rate for the game was 21.7%.”

Three Other Games
Minnesota (0) at Boston (5) | 19:10 ET
• No less an authority than Science has proven that Boston features the third-best center-field camera angle.

Oakland (2) at Texas (5) | 20:05 ET
Trevor Cahill (7) and C.J. Wilson (6) are (a) pitching tonight and (b) the answer to the question, “Which two pitchers were you sure would pitch more poorly in 2011 than in 2010, but actually have improved considerably?”

Chicago Americans (2) at Los Angeles Americans (8) | 22:05 ET
• The mercurial Edwin Jackson (7) faces the even-more-mercurial Ervin Santana (7).

Also Playing
These games are very likely playing at some kind of sporty channel near you.

pNERD = Pitcher NERD
Game = Time and Average NERD for Game
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD of 5 (or 10 for debuts)

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

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