Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Table of Contents Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes. 1. A Brief Review of Jose Alvarez’s Sunday Start 2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game 3. Today’s Complete Schedule A Brief Review of Jose Alvarez’s Sunday Start Introduction Left-hander Jose Alvarez, signed by Detroit this past November to a minor-league contract, made his major-league debut on Sunday afternoon after recording the second-highest strikeout rate (25.8%) and highest strikeout-walk differential (20.7%) among qualified starters in the Triple-A International League. What follows is a very brief review of his first career start. Alvarez’s Results Alvarez was excellent on Sunday, recording a 7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 6.0 innings and the lowest single-game xFIP among all of Sunday’s 32 starting pitchers. Here’s his overall line (box): 6.0 IP, 22 TBF, 7 K, 1 BB, 9 GB on 14 batted-balls (64.3%), 1 HR, 3 H, 1 R. Alvarez’s Pitches MLB’s Gameday algorithm had some difficulty with Alvarez, classifying what appear to be two different breaking pitches both as a slider. As the annotated PITCHf/x chart below (featuring pitch speed and horizontal movement) demonstrates, though, the distinction between the two isn’t entirely clear. Overall, it seems as though Alvarez threw four-plus pitches: anywhere from one to three different fastballs (four-seam, two-seam, cut), a slider, a curve, and a changeup. Alvarez’s Breaking Pitch: Example One Here’s an example of one pitch that was classified as a slider, Alvarez’s slowest pitch of the day — a 73 mph breaking ball for a called first strike to Michael Bourn in the third inning: Alvarez’s Breaking Pitch: Example Two Here’s a second breaking pitch, at 78 mph, by Alvarez — from later in that same at-bat, actually, for a swinging strike three: Alvarez’s Breaking Pitch: Example Three Finally, here’s another pitch that was classified as a slider — in this case, at 86 mph to Nick Swisher for a called strike. Incidentally, Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen referred to this one as a cut fastball. Alvarez’s Best Pitch According both to Gameday’s PITCHf/x data and also to Brooks Baseball, Alvarez’s most effective pitch on Sunday was his changeup, saving somewhere between 1.6 and 1.8 runs relative to average. According to Brooks, Alvarez threw the change 21 times and got three swinging strikes on it. Action Footage: Jose Alvarez’s Changeup Here’s the best footage from Sunday of Alvarez’s changeup — in this case to Yan Gomes for a strikeout in the second innings: Today’s MLB.TV Free Game Los Angeles AL at Baltimore | 19:05 ET Jered Weaver (23.0 IP, 116 xFIP-, 0.5 WAR) faces Freddy Garcia (38.1 IP, 110 xFIP-, -0.4 WAR). The former has been rather good in two starts since returning from the DL, recording a 12:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and conceding just two runs in 12.0 innings. Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Baltimore Radio. 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 5.4. Note: the following table is entirely sortable. Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time Jered Weaver LAA 2 6 3 9 2 BAL Freddy Garcia 19:05 John Lackey BOS 7 9 8 6 8 TB Alex Cobb 19:10 Yovani Gallardo MIL 5 4 4 0 4 MIA Ricky Nolasco 19:10 Homer Bailey CIN 9 5 6 5 3 CHN Scott Feldman 20:05 Scott Kazmir CLE 6 8 6 4 6 TEX Josh Lindblom* 20:05 Doug Fister DET 7 7 5 5 3 KC Jeremy Guthrie 20:10 R.A. Dickey TOR 8 6 5 0 2 CHA Dylan Axelrod 20:10 Wade Miley AZ 5 3 6 2 9 LAN Clay. Kershaw 22:10 Julio Teheran ATL 7 8 5 7 0 SD Jason Marquis 22:10 Dallas Keuchel HOU 5 4 6 6 7 SEA His. Iwakuma 22:10 To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here. To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here. * = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.
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