May 2006

May 19, 2006

Every year there is one pitcher who manages to destroy myfantasy chances on his own.

In 2001, Shawn Chacon was the perpetrator, putting together back-to-back atrocious
starts at midseason (including one game where he allowed 11 earned runs) to
permanently drop me out of first.

Brandon Duckworth (when was the last time you thought of his name) ruined 2002
by winning only eight games and posting a 5.41 ERA a year after a 3.52 ERA. The
next year, Jeff Weaver?s 5.99 ERA and 1.62 WHIP throttled any chances I had of
winning a crown.

And topping all of this off was Oliver Perez, who destroyed
four of my teams last year by going from a 2.98 ERA/239 K pitcher in 2004 to
one with a 5.85 ERA and only 97 K?s in ?05.

Well this year had been different up until Juan Cruz decided
to join this lowly group this past week.

Cruz had started two games prior to May 12 and had allowed only
one earned run and six hits in 10 innings of work, to go along with 10 K?s. So
despite the fact he would be facing the tough Cardinals lineup last Friday, I
slotted him in for the start. Five earned runs and 10 baserunners later (in
only five innings), Cruz picked up his first loss of the year, while only
slightly damaging my ERA and WHIP.

Might have been the worst call so far of the year. The
skinny righty got pummeled, allowing nine earned runs in two thirds of an
inning, something that it almost impossible to accomplish in a single outing.

His last start alone caused by ERA to go up .23 points.  Recovering from this both statistically and
mentally will be tough. 

May 10, 2006

After failing to make any major blunders the first month ofthe season, my usual bad luck is creeping back in.

Last Wednesday, I picked up Tony Armas for a spot start. The oft-injured hurler
had been pitching exceptionally well, compiling a 2.76 ERA in April to go along
with 20 K’s in 29 IP and two wins. He was set to face the feeble Marlins
offense, and would be pitching at home, so picking him up for the start seemed
to make perfect sense.

My pitching strategy had been working brilliantly prior to this move. I waited
until the seventh round to take any pitchers this year, and still wound up with
John Lackey, Chris Capuano and Scott Kazmir, all of whom have pitched well. On
top of those three, I kept picking up guys like Nate Robertson for a start or two,
and despite not having an ace, I was leading
my 15-team league in ERA and WHIP after a month.

But then came Armas? start, which yielded five earned runs
in just 2.1 IP. So as punishment, I sent him back to the waiver wires,
especially with his next start coming against the first-place Reds in Cincinnati (a great hitter?s park). Armas retaliated by pitching superbly (Win, 6 IP, 2 H,
1 ER, 4 K) against the red-hot Reds.

Quick comment on the whole Delmon Young incident?

My question with this whole thing is ? why was a camera from
1986 being used to tape this game?
Take a look at the clip. The video looks like lost footage from the filming of Bull Durham, or the grainy footage you would expect to see on an ESPN profile about some high school pitcher from the 1980s who threw 97 mph, but hurt his arm and never made it to the Majors.
The quality is worse than the betamax tape of my sixth grade graduation from 20 years ago. Plus the clip is crooked and looks like someone was balancing the camera on a stack of programs.

Were they intentionally going for a retro feel? If so, the cameraman did a superb job.

May 5, 2006

A bunch of people have e-mailed me wanting to know why I haven’t written much about my fantasy woes, like I have the past five seasons. The truth is, I was cleaning up in fantasy the first few weeks. But as fate would have it, I finally have something to complain about.

Two weeks back I decided to drop Aaron Harang in one of my leagues. He had a 6.35 ERA and had been hit pretty hard in three of his four outings. Plus, the league I’m in only requires seven pitchers, and since their are only 10 teams (70 pitchers), mid-range guys like Harang do not have as much value as they would in a standard 12-team, 9-pitcher league (108 total pitchers)

Despite the fact that Harang was one of 2005’s biggest surprises, I decided there were much better options than a non-superstar who pitches in Cincinnati.

So how does Harang repay me for cutting him loose? Three starts, 3-0, 25 IP, 14 H, 4 ER and 23 K’s. Pretty much what I expected after releasing him,

And to top it off, I cost myself three home runs by benching Josh Barfield in favor of Chase Utley on Wednesday, and then sending Grady Sizemore and Hideki Matsui to the bench on Thursday, after they had been in my lineup the entire season.

My team, which had been in first since Day One, fell to fourth, and based on my track record, will never find its way back to the top.

My Kentucky Derby picks for Saturday: A.P. Warrior-Jazil-Steppenwolfer

Baseball Card Awards of the Week:
1979 Topps

Least-effective, but best-looking glasses:
Mark Lee (he walked 69 and struck out only 63 in his brief career)


Worst photo of the entire set: Rob Picciolo

StoneBest non-use of an undershirt for a guy who is going to win the Cy Young Award within a year: Steve Stone

GrubbBest cool-guy pose while wearing an airbrushed hat: Johnny Grubb

Oldest looking guy in the set:
Phil Niekro (he wins every year from 1975-1988). It’s scary to think that he was still in his 30s when this photo was taken. I can’t believe I could look like this in eight years. Kind of freaky.