Yes, yes, I’m very aware. An absence over the weekend has left you in dire need of some fantasy love from me. My apologies. This was the first weekend in a very long time that my wife and I had coinciding schedules and we were looking to take advantage and get in a little quality time together. But of course, there was the inevitable fly in the ointment. Upon going out Friday night, my wife decided to have a snack at the concert venue we were at and before we knew it, we were forced to leave the show in mid encore and race home because she was feeling well. The subsequent food poisoning put her on the shelf for most of the weekend and left me to play nursemaid and house custodian over the next two days. Sadly, baseball was forced to take a back seat, but the whole experience got me to thinking and here’s where I bring it around full circle…
Who is this Murphy character and what’s up with the stupid law? One weekend out of dozens and now is the time she gets sick? What are the odds? Well, 100-percent if you believe in Murphy’s Law. To add insult to injury, as I checked on my live scoring during breaks between serving dry toast with warm, flat ginger ale and running a bunch of towels through the wash, that son of a bitch Murphy was at it again with my fantasy teams.
Mets starter, Dillon Gee, whose season last year was cut short due to shoulder surgery to remove a blood clot, was on my radar during the spring. Based on his ADP, I knew he wouldn’t cost anything more than a late-round pick and would be a good candidate for the back-end of my rotation. After all, prior to the surgery, Gee was looking reasonably solid with an FIP a few ticks lower than his ERA and improved walk and strikeout rates form the year before. I think, had his year not been cut short, he would have been on a lot more people’s radar.
Well, we all know how his season has gone so far – a decent start to open the year followed up by an abusive 12 earned runs over 7.2 innings during his next two. With a match-up against the Nationals coming, I figured I’d save my ratios and throw him on the bench. Well, of course, he throws 5.2 shutout innings with a season-high six strikeouts and locks down his first win of the season. After all, he was on my bench where he belonged. Are you feeling the sarcasm here? But Murphy wasn’t done with me this weekend.
I’m in a very deep 18-team NL-only league and as I was starved for pitching towards the latter half of the draft, I went and grabbed Barry Zito. After two masterful starts, I made the stupid mistake of leaving him in my lineup for his road start Tuesday in Milwaukee and got housed. Nine earned runs in 2.2 innings and I was thrust to the bottom of the standings in both WHIP and ERA. I’m not sure what my rationale was for leaving him in really, but I knew better. So for his Sunday start, despite it being back in front of the home crowd where he excelled earlier, I opted to put him on the bench and just go with reliever Mitchell Boggs who was getting back on track and hadn’t allowed a run in his previous two outings.
Yeah, that’s right…..Boggs in for Zito on Sunday. Are you bleepin’ kidding me? I’m going to have to need a censor here for the tirade I would LOVE to go on right now.
I had a few odds and ends like that with hitting, such as using Will Middlebrooks in a double-header over Kyle Seager so I could score myself a cool 1-for-9 from my corner infielder, but the real question is – could this have been avoided? Was this match-up for Gee particularly favorable? According to his numbers last year, he was slightly better at home than he was on the road, so should I have simply left him in because the start was at Citi Field? Do I leave him in for his next start which comes at home against the same Phillies who rung him up for seven runs over three innings during his second start? And what about Zito? Same thing, with regard to numbers at home versus on the road. Should I be leaving him in for home starts only as well? His next outing comes against the same Padres he just shut out for seven innings, but the game is in San Diego? Bench him? I know what the numbers are saying but are they foolproof here?
Obviously, the data we have nowadays is plentiful and it becomes a lot easier to make decisions if you just look at the numbers. They should give you a much better guess than say just throwing darts. But the system isn’t perfect and just because the numbers say one thing, doesn’t mean the other can’t happen. If that were actually the case, then we’d all be robbing sites like Daily Joust and Fan Duel on a regular basis. The fact remains, that baseball players are people too and are capable of moments both sucky and great at any and all times. The numbers sure help, but keep in mind that Murphy’s Law is definitely in effect here.
Now let’s hit the highlights from yesterday…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Greg Holland, RP KC||2.0||0||0||0||0||5||2||0.00||0.00|
Sure, maybe there were pitchers who threw more innings or had more strikeouts, but it takes a lot for a guy to come in during the day, throw his best stuff to close out a game and then do it all again later that same night. But if there were a day to assuage all the fears of Greg Holland owners everywhere, Sunday was the day. Not only did he notch both saves of a double-header, but he did it in style, throwing two perfect innings with five of his six outs coming by strikeout. We don’t even need to mention the recent struggles of Kelvin Hererra to exhibit how solid Holland’s job security is right now.
|Nelson Cruz, OF TEX||2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI|
|Erik Kratz, C PHI||2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI|
|Kyle Seager, 3B SEA||3-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB|
|Barry Zito, SP SF||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 4 K|
|Dillon Gee, SP NYM||W, 0.00 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 6 K|
Rather than suffer my weekend angst yet again, I’ll leave most of these alone as they’ve been covered already. But we can talk a little Nelson Cruz and Erik Kratz here as both were huge boosts for their owners. Cruz has been solid this season with three home runs and a .290 average, but don’t expect him to return to the way he was when he first started out. With chronic hamstring problems over the years, not only does he not run much anymore, but last year was the first time he appeared in more than 150 games for the Rangers in a given year. His power is a definite plus, but be sure you have a strong bench option if you’re rolling with him.
As for Kratz, this is basically his swan song week. With Carlos Ruiz set to come back from suspension on April 28th, Kratz will go back to his bench job and maybe see a start or two per week. It will be safe to drop him, but keep in mind that, in addition to a positive test fro amphetamines, Ruiz also has a case of plantar fasciitis which could come back to haunt him and his owners. So while Kratz’ value takes a sever hit next week, he shouldn’t be a forgotten man.
|Jeff Francoeur, OF KC||1-8, 5 K|
|Stephen Drew, SS BOS||0-4, 3 K|
|Ryan Doumit, C MIN||0-4, 3 K|
|Mitchell Boggs, RP STL||L, 108.00 ERA, 12.00 WHIP|
|Aaron Harang, SP SEA||L, 15.43 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, 5 K|
While I was incredibly tempted to keep Middlebrooks in this section alongside Jeff Francoeur, I thought I’d spread the “love” here and give a shout-out to Stephen Drew who padded his stats on Sunday with another 0-for performance. Since coming off the DL, Drew is now 3-for-30 (.100) with 12 strikeouts. Mind-boggling that Jose Iglesias was sent down for this guy.
Looks like Aaron Harang isn’t enjoying the same success in Seattle that he did during his resurgence with the Padres and the Dodgers. In fact, he’s looking a lot more like the Harang of 2010, the worst season he endured during his tenure with the Reds. Doesn’t matter what the numbers are saying…..he’s definitely one to avoid.
Mitchell Boggs? I’m embarrassed that I gave him another chance this weekend. I deserved to have Murphy kick me in the fantasy groin with this one.
Dan Uggla, 2B ATL – calf (day to day)
Shane Victorino, OF BOS – back (day to day)
Dayan Viciedo, OF CHW – oblique (15-day DL)
Zack Cozart, SS CIN – finger (day to day)
Ryan Hanigan, C CIN – thumb (day to day)
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS CLE – wrist (day to day)
Brett Myers, SP CLE – forearm (15-day DL)
Jhoulys Chacin, SP COL – back (15-day DL)
Todd Helton, 1B COL – forearm (day to day)
Ramon Santiago, 2B DET – illness (day to day)
Alberto Callaspo, 3B LAA – calf (15-day DL)
Kevin Youkilis, 3B NYY – back (day to day)
Derek Jeter, SS NYY – ankle (now out until after All Star break)
Franklin Gutierrez, OF SEA – hamstring (day to day)
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B WAS – hamstring (15-day DL)
On the Mend
Freddie Freeman, 1B ATL – expected to return April 22
Kyuji Fujikawa, RP CHC – expected back end of April
Ted Lilly, SP LAD – expected to start April 24 vs NYM
Shaun Marcum, SP NYM – might return April 27
Carlos Ruiz, C PHI – eligible to return from suspension April 28th
Carlos Quentin, OF SD – eligible to return from suspension April 23rd
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a vaiety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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