June 16, 2005

Quick story this week, since I am getting way too depressed every time I have to think about fantasy baseball at this point …

On Tuesday morning I went online to pick up my nightly spot starter. Since I’m desperately trying to catch up in Ks and wins, and am far below my league’s innings-pitched limit, I’ve been doing this for two weeks now — with little success, of course.

I had three options on Tuesday, none of whom stood out much, but could all potentially help for a night. Here’s what I was faced with:

Sergio Mitre

Mitre was coming off an impressive start against Toronto in which he allowed two hits and a walk over seven shutout innings. He would be facing Florida Tuesday, which wasn’t bad since the Marlins were ranked 19th in runs scored coming into the game — and he’d be pitching at home. Plus he has a cool sounding name, although someone informed me it is actually pronounced MEE-TRAY instead of MY-TER.

El Duque Hernandez

He’d won his last two starts since I had dropped him, and only had one horrific appearance all season (May 16). He’d be facing Arizona at home, with a good offense supporting him. Plus, he’s always the type of guy you want pitching for you in big games — or when you need to get out of the cellar in fantasy.

Tomo Ohka

Had been pitching really well up until his June 4, 3.1 IP, 7 H performance against Florida. Liked the fact that he would be facing Tampa Bay on Tuesday, but realized at best he would probably only strike out three hitters.

So after thinking about it for 10 minutes, I decided to go with Mitre. But sure enough, MLB.com ticketing guru Mark Plutzer managed to beat me to him, and Mitre was already gone when I went to go grab him.

Down to Duque and Ohka, I chose the former Yankee postseason ace, simply because I would rather watch him pitch than sit through an entire Devil Rays-Brewers game. Making decisions based off emotions is never a good idea if you actually want to compete in your fantasy baseball league.

Sure enough, the trio of pitching lines Tuesday night were as follows:

Ohka: Win, 9 IP, 9 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

Mitre: Win, 9 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Duque: Loss, 4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

El Duque made it through three shutout innings before he started to unravel. After a homer to Troy Glaus to start the fourth inning, the D-Backs had two on with two out, and the .227-hitting Royce Clayton up at the plate, who of course doubled in both runs. Three more runs in the fifth and El Duque was kaput. Once again I would have been better off never touching my fantasy team.

Nights like this are enough to make you want to go back to the prefantasy days, when you could actually enjoy baseball if your favorite team won that day (which the Yankees did on Tuesday).

To top off this wonderful day, my only ace, Josh Beckett, got beat up in the Mitre game, allowing six hits and four runs in 5.1 innings. The only hitter I owned in the game, Corey Patterson, managed to go 0-for-4 despite his team scoring 14 runs on 18 hits. And my second catcher, Chris Snyder, whom I had just picked up after a solid week, decided to go 0-for-5 for Arizona in its 10-4 win over El Duque.

The following day, Kyle Davies and spot-starter-of-the-night Kyle Lohse combined to lose two games, allowing 18 hits, four walks and 10 earned runs over 9.1 innings.

So on Thursday afternoon, right before writing this column, I dropped them both, picked up Woody Williams and Brandon Claussen (both starting on Thursday), then realized rosters had already frozen for the day, and I had just picked up two guys I couldn’t even use.

Seventy-four days into the season and I have exactly half the amount of points in my league (37). Eleventh place out of 12 against a combination of savy owners and clueless novices is pretty sad. I can only imagine how much worse it would all look if I didn’t have Miguel Tejada supporting my team on his own.

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