One Night Only: Living in a Post-NERD World

Today’s edition of One Night Only is totally organic and farm-raised and all that crap.

Cleveland at Texas | Tuesday, July 6 | 8:05pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Indians: Justin Masterson (NERD: 8)
94.2 IP, 7.32 K/9, 3.99 BB/9, .345 BABIP, 64.2% GB, 9.8% HR/FB, 3.91 xFIP

Rangers: C.J. Wilson (NERD: 2)
102.1 IP, 6.42 K/9, 4.22 BB/9, .258 BABIP, 51.0% GB, 5.9% HR/FB, 4.64 xFIP

A Possible Comment You’re Making
Hey, chief: what’s the deal? C.J. Wilson has a crap NERD score. What’re you thinking? Why not talk about Jered Weaver (8) versus Jake Peavy (6) tonight. Or CC Sabathia (7) versus Trevor Cahill (6)?

Two or Three Comments I’m Making Right Back
1. Don’t call me “chief.”

2. Yes, it’s true: we live in a post-NERD world now. And, yes, we have to face it: things just aren’t as simple as they used to be. I get it. But we also have to make sure that — despite the fact that simply because the incredibly proprietary and deadly accurate NERD score is designed to make our lives easier — we have to make sure that we don’t stop using our mind grapes. It’s like that part in the Bible where God says, “And I giveth thee Mind Grapes, so that ye will always use them, etc., etc.” That’s a direct quote. I’m not lying.

Anyway, if you’ll recall, when Jerome Holtzman invented the Save, he was doing so merely to credit a certain breed of pitcher for their otherwise nebulous contributions to the game. What happened, as we generally know, is that coaches began to deploy relievers not according to leverage (if they ever really did in the first place, I don’ know), but according to the criteria of the save. That’s what we in the industry refer to as “totally lame-o.”

3. My point: C.J. Wilson has become a credible starting pitcher — one with a groundball rate above 50% — after relieving all of last season and for most of his career before that.

Cleveland’s Rookie Crop
If, like that great philosopher Socrates, you’re into hairless youths, then the Cleveland Indians are very probably your jam. Here’s the Cleveland lineup from last night’s game at Texas.

Michael Brantley, CF, 23
Jayson Nix, 2B, 27
Carlos Santana, C, 24
Travis Hafner, DH, 33
Austin Kearns, RF, 30
Jhonny Peralta, 3B, 28
Matt LaPorta, 1B, 25
Trevor Crowe, LF, 26
Jason Donald, SS, 25

Per Baseball Reference, the average age of a field player in the MLB this year is 29.2 years old. Cleveland’s lineup last night had an average age of 26.8 years old.

Briefly, On Carlos Santana
He’s so good. Right now, he’s slashing .297/.436/.622. That’s good for a .447 wOBA and 184 wRC+. He’s walking (19 BB) more than he strikes out (14 K). He hit a ball 444 feet last night.

Briefly, On Jayson Nix
He appears to be the new second baseman for the Indians. He hit two homers for the Tribe last night. Also, if, hypothetically speaking, you’re the sort of person who owned both Dustin Pedroia and Chase Utley on your fantasy team, Nix might not be the worst replacement in the world. He had 12 homers and 10 stolen bases for the White Sox in just half a season last year.

If I Had My Druthers
The next person to whom I mention the name Carlos Santana will not, like almost all of his predecessors, make an allusion to Black Magic Woman or sweet guitar licks or anything else like that.

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

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