Have you ever heard that story about the baby bull sitting atop a hill with his father overlooking the valley strewn with cows? The son looks up to his father and says, “Hey dad! How ‘bout we run down that hill and grab one of them cows and have our way with her?” And the father looks down at his son and responds, “How about we just quietly walk down that hill and have our way with them all?” It’s a story about patience and maturity and it’s a story about thinking before you act. It popped into my mind here this early, early Sunday morning when I turned on my laptop to see a series of emails from both Giants fans and Tim Lincecum owners deriding me for my blasphemous statements regarding the one they belovedly refer to as The Freak.
Really people? Really? This is the fight you want to have today? This is how you want your Sunday to go? Didn’t any of you learn your lesson from a few weeks ago? I don’t have a personal vendetta against the Giants hurler – none of this is personal. I criticize and point out disastrous things in an effort to help you, the readers, win your fantasy leagues. I don’t care who the player is or what he’s done in the somewhat distant past. I’m talking about what’s happening right here, right now.
Yes, Lincecum pitched a beautiful game against the Astros on Saturday. Absolutely beautiful. Eight solid shutout innings with just five hits, one walk, and 11 strikeouts. An outing like that does wonders for your fantasy team. But it’s the Astros, people. The Astros. You’re looking at one of the worst offenses in baseball here. It’s a team in shambles that just traded away its biggest offensive threat in Carlos Lee and just lost their next best player, Jed Lowrie, to injury. You’re going to brag about beating the Astros? You’re going to tell me that I’m a moron for speaking ill of Lincecum and recommending that you look elsewhere for pitching help? Come on, folks. You’re better than that.
Remember the Dodger game back at the end of June? Lincecum tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out eight and walking two. Sure it was a great game, but with no Matt Kemp and no Andre Ethier in the lineup, the Dodgers were just a shell of a team. They had no offensive punch whatsoever. So Timmy dominates them and you all start clamoring for my head on a stick. But where were all of you for his next two starts? Where were all of you when he has coughing up 13 runs off 16 hits and three walks in two starts that lasted a total of 6.2 innings? Beating up a weak-ass team like the Dodgers is worthy of your praise, but big-time losses to the more-competitive Nationals and Pirates gets ignored? Really?
I understand there’s a certain amount of loyalty you must show, but you also have to be a realist. If I showed you Lincecum’s numbers and the obvious decline over the last three years, but told you they belonged to Randy Wolf, you wouldn’t touch Wolf if he were the last fantasy player on earth and you needed one just one more starter to win your league. But because it’s little Timmy and he was masterful for his first two years in the majors, you guys are clutching to him as if he were the baseball messiah. It’s time to let go, people. Sell him off while you can. There’s likely some sucker in your league who will immediately buy into the whole second-half stud notion. Probably some blinded Giants fan, for sure. Cast off your diminutive, long-haired ratio-buster and get yourself some value before it’s too late.
Now let’s hit the highlights real quick…
|Felix Hernandez, SEA||9.0||3||0||0||0||12||0||0.00||0.33|
Now here’s a guy who I can get behind regardless of whether or not he puts up an occasional stinker of a game. Felix Hernandez is exactly the type of guy you want. Sure, maybe the wins total is lacking a bit, but until the Mariners provide some consistent offensive punch or he gets traded, that’s just going to be the way it goes. But still, look at his numbers this season. His ERA is down to a 2.92 on the year, both his K/9 and BB/9 have improved, he pounds the strike zone (63.2 F-Strike%) and a 9.9 SwStr% means that he’s missing plenty of bats. Virtually all of these numbers are an improvement to what he gave last season and there’s little or no sign of him slowing down. Match him up with your boy Timmy and there’s no competition right now. Maybe there was room for a dialogue a few years back, but these days it is strictly a monologue and only King Felix is doing the talking.
|Alcides Escobar, SS KC||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B TOR||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB|
|Shelley Duncan, OF CLE||3-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI|
|Andre Ethier, OF LAD||3-5, R, HR, 4 RBI|
|Tim Lincecum, SP SF||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 11 K|
Yes, Timmy is in here for the day. No, I don’t think he’ll be here even after facing the Phillies his next time out. Nuff’ said. Let’s change the subject.
I am loving the way Alcides Escobar has taken his game to another level this season. No, I don’t see him suddenly powering up and raking a ton of home runs now, but he has done a lot more work in the gym this season and he is definitely getting stronger. The breakout this season has been fun to watch, especially if you picked him up for a buck as a middle infielder/bench depth type guy. He’s still the same slick-fielding defensive whiz we expected, but with a .311 average, 13 stolen bases and a newfound home in the two-hole in the batting order, his offensive totals are certainly worthy in a 12-team mixed league. He might not have a day like this again, popping two home runs like that, but he’ll continue to methodically plod along, provide you with solid stats and prove that slow-and-steady does indeed win the race.
Look at E5 just rolling along, hitting home runs, doing his thing. What a season he’s having and definitely worthy of my pick for the best value at the third base this season…well at least the first half. But seeing him start off like this in the second half is certainly encouraging when you’re hoping for another three months of killer production.
Alas Shelley Duncan…if only the Indians could see it in their hearts to give you more consistent playing time. The start of the season was nice, but then came Johnny Damon and it all went downhill from there. Nice to see you start off the second half exactly as you did the fist. Too bad Manny Acta’s head was so far up his own ass to see it.
And welcome back Andre Ethier. We trust the knee is feeling better? How about the oblique? The ankle? Everything in working order? Good. Now let’s get back to work here. Saturday was Ethier’s 27th multi-hit game of the season and his owners are ready to see some more. With the array of bumps and bruises, he probably won’t be doing as much running these days, so lower your expectations for stolen bases. Power, however, he can certainly provide, so make sure you have him active.
|David Wright, 3B NYM||0-5, 4 K|
|A.J. Ellis, C LAD||0-5, 4 K|
|Jon Jay, OF STL||0-5, 3 K|
|Tommy Hanson, SP ATL||ND, 10.13 ERA, 2.06 WHIP, 5 K|
|Ubaldo Jimenez, SP CLE||L, 30.86 ERA, 4.71 WHIP, 2 K|
Nothing here that we haven’t seen all year long, is there? And yes, I’m also referring to Ubaldo Jimenez’ place here that we’ve now see several time already this season. Strikeouts are down, walks are up, he’s giving up more home runs than before and both his ERA and FIP are sitting in the toilet right now. And if you were wondering if he was just suffering from some bad luck due to a high BABIP, he’s not. The .282 mark is actually lower than last season’s when the decline first began to rear its ugly head.
The decline of A.J. Ellis has also been in full force for at least a month now as well. He started the season incredibly hot and was looking like a solid pick-up in May, but June was just awful and it doesn’t look like July is going to be any better.
Jason Kubel, OF ARI – hamstring (doubtful)
Gavin Floyd, SP CHW – forearm (questionable for July 18 start)
Johnny Cueto, SP CIN – blister (questionable for July 17 start)
Rick Porcello, SP DET – leg (questionable for July 16 start)
Jason Castro, C HOU – knee (questionable)
Jed Lowrie, SS HOU – ankle/knee (questionable)
Torii Hunter, OF LAA – groin (doubtful)
Lucas Duda, OF NYM – hamstring (doubtful)
Coco Crisp, OF POAK – shoulder (doubtful)
Mike Napoli, C TEX – quad (out until at least July 17)
Ian Desmond, SS WAS – side (doubtful)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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