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Daily Notes: Give a Care About Jeff Samardzija

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. Featured Game: Atlanta at Chicago NL, 20:05 ET
2. Video You Can Watch: Jeff Samardzija’s Most Recent Start
3. Other Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
4. Today’s Complete Schedule

Featured Game: Atlanta at Chicago NL, 20:05 ET
Regarding Who’s Starting Tonight for Chicago
In terms of who’s starting tonight for Chicago, it’s right-hander Jeff Samardzija.

Regarding Why Anyone Should Give a Care
In terms of why anyone should give a care about how Jeff Samardzija is starting, consider that, among the 137 pitchers with 20-plus innings as a starter this season, he ranks 14th by xFIP (2.92), third in swinging-strike rate (13.0%), and third in average fastball velocity (95.0 mph, per PITCHf/x) — and also has an above-average overall strike rate (65.2%).

Regarding the Significance of the Aforecited Metrics
The significance of the aforecited metrics is that they’re all, each of them, scientifically proven by science to correlate pretty strongly with the aesthetic appeal — or, watchability — of a pitcher.

Something That Science Probably Understands Less Well
Something that science probably understands less well is Bryan LaHair‘s 2012 season to date. Line (after play Sunday): 92 PA, .390/.478/.779 (.548 BABIP), 228 wRC+. His WAR entering the game was 1.6.

Pitching for Atlanta
Right-hander Tommy Hanson (33.2 IP, 105 xFIP-, 0.7 WAR) pitches for Atlanta.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast
Per the results of our offseason crowdsourcing project, FanGraphs readers prefer Chicago NL Television (link).

Video You Can Watch: Jeff Samardzija’s Most Recent Start
Here’s video of Jeff Samardzija’s most recent start, a 3-1 Cubs win over the Reds (box). Samardzija’s line: 7.2 IP, 27 TBF, 7 K, 2 BB, 6 GB on 17 batted-balls (35.3%), 2.81 xFIP.

Among the most impressive pitches you’ll see here are the splitters at 0:12 and 1:23, and then what is either a 91-92 mph slider or cutter at 1:33 and 1:57.

Other Notable Games
Chicago AL at Cleveland | 19:05 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Left-hander Eric Stults, 32, gets the start in this, the second game of a Monday doubleheader between Chicago and Cleveland. Stults last started a major-league game for the Dodgers in 2009. He’s a candidate to replace left-hander Chris Sale in the White Sox rotation. One wouldn’t think that Stults would have much to offer, but pitching coach Don Cooper‘s track record for unlikely reclamation projects continues to grow.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Cleveland.

St. Louis at Arizona | 21:40 ET
Lance Lynn pitches for the Cardinals. Line so far: 33.2 IP, 24.8% K, 5.8% BB, 56.0% GB, 2.80 SIERA, 78 xFIP-, 0.8 WAR.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Arizona.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 4.6.

Regard, a magnificent and sortable table:

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Philip Humber CHA 5 6 5 4 5 CLE Zach McAllister* 13:05
Eric Stults* CHA 5 6 5 4 6 CLE Josh Tomlin 19:05
Jonathon Niese NYN 7 2 5 2 6 PHI Roy Halladay 19:05
Matt Harrison TEX 6 10 4 5 0 BAL Brian Matusz 19:05
Tommy Hanson ATL 4 8 7 2 10 CHN Jeff Samardzija 20:05
Carlos Zambrano MIA 3 3 4 8 5 HOU Wandy Rodriguez 20:05
Jered Weaver LAA 7 3 3 2 0 MIN Francisco Liriano 20:10
Felix Doubront BOS 8 5 5 9 0 KC Jo. Sanchez 20:10
Bronson Arroyo CIN 4 3 4 6 4 MIL Yovani Gallardo 20:10
Lance Lynn STL 9 10 7 6 3 AZ Joe Saunders 21:40
Drew Pomeranz COL 4 10 5 5 5 SD Edinson Volquez 22:05
Doug Fister* DET 8 2 4 3 1 SEA Blake Beavan 22:10
Barry Zito SF 0 5 2 6 2 LAN Ted Lilly 22:10

To learn more about Pitcher and Team NERD scores click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.