As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Two-Startapalooza’s back, beoches!

Man, I gotta tell yunz, I had a superly-dooperly extended break, and all ya’ll who know me know that there is not one hint of sarcasm in that statement. There were some lessons learned, particularly on the baseball front, although almost none of those items involved fantasy baseball since there was no fantasy baseball. We learned that Major League players love Derek Jeter so much that they’re willing to sully their good name by not only grooving him pitches in the All-Star Game and but also admitting it and then awkwardly and unsuccessfully backtracking. We learned that the Guru had a Derek Jeter Retirement Barf Bag – I bought five, by the way. Thanks Guru! We learned that another Derek, Derek Holland, is the grand Puba of not one but two fart games played in the Rangers bullpen, Pink Eye and Fart Bottle Roulette (nevermind the fact that Holland has been injured all year). We learned that baseball doesn’t give a crap about one Anthony Keith Gwynn Sr.

I for one learned that Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom gets recognized around New York for his fantastic early 1990s mullet and that he is not one bit ashamed of it. I discovered this in a great New York Times piece on deGrom that I read when trying to decide if I should stream him or hang onto him. Well, the fact that deGrom is a proud business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back kind of guy was just enough to make me sacrifice to keep him. That and the fact that he was mowing down dudes heading into the All-Star break. Over his last three games, he whiffed 27 and only walked four. Two of those were fairly dominant performances. If there was ever a time to scoop up Zane Smith’s more attractive clone (this is not saying much, as old-schoolers well know), it’s right now. deGrom is slated for a two-start week, including one in Safeco.

Here’s some more two-start guys for next week. Oh and tip of the cap to Sky, who did an amazing job filling in at Two-Startapalooza. During his stay he introduced some cool new ideas I might run with but also left behind a whole lot of some kind of sticky substance. Thanks Sky! I think?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Are you like me? Have you been doubting the existence of the humidor at Coors Field since they allegedly installed it in the early 2000s? Didn’t it sound like some kind of lame way to side-step the concerns that juiced-up ogres were having a field day lighting up the scoreboard in the thin air? Yeah, that’s it, it’s the baseballs, not the steroids coursing through players’ veins, leading to 15-13 games. But no, there really is a humidor at Coors, and they really do put baseballs in there to bathe them in humidity, not groups of smelly 55-year-old cigar-smoking creeps.

All kinds of studies have been done that show home run numbers and batting averages have been somewhat deflated thanks to the humidor. But that hasn’t exactly transformed Coors into Petco. I don’t need to dig for stats on that – you’ve started your best guys there, and you’ve seen your ERA numbers skyrocket as a result. It’s why I see an “@COL” next to one of the guy’s names below and move them down from where they started. So what pitchers don’t get crushed in Coors? There’s no way to predict for certain, but I looked at some of the games where the Rockies were dominated in Denver and found something interesting. Three pitchers who have done well this year have good sinkers, decent-to-great curveballs and throw the four-seam fastball.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Everyone got all excited last Wednesday because Bartolo Colon hit a double in a game that he also won. Obviously, this was worthy of some attention given the fact that Colon is 41, bears a close resemblance to “Big P*ssy” Bonpensiero, and the fact that he twirled eight innings of one-run ball en route to the victory in St. Louis, which is not an easy place to pitch. Lost in all of that was the fact that Terry Collins took Colon out heading into the 9th at only 86 pitches. Unless Colon asked to come out because his mummy arm was falling off, I just don’t get it. It’s another one of those robot moves that make baseball managers so infuriating. Oh, it’s the 9th inning and we have a lead of three runs or less, time to bring in the closer. Nevermind that we don’t really have a closer, and that the closer of the night is Jenrry Mejia, whose birth certificate was typed up by someone who liked to eat peanut butter at their desk. Nevermind that the backup plan for that is a guy (Dana Eveland) who has a different hat on in his fantasy baseball profile photo. Well, Mejia almost blew it, which would have not only cost the 700-year-old Colon a well-deserved victory but would have also pissed off fantasy managers everywhere, including right here. Except for a few turdlet pies, Colon has been surprisingly sturdy in 2014. Maybe it’s not so surprising given his strong performance in the telling strikeout per walk category, where he’s at 5.3, good for sixth right behind Stephen Strasburg. It would have looked really silly, but I almost put Bartolo in the first tier, with starts in his cavernous home against Oakland and continues in Pittsburgh, where teams just don’t score a lot for some reason. He’s only 36 percent owned in Yahoo, 37 percent owned in ESPN. He’s definitely worth a spin while he’s going good, especially at Citi Field.

Here’s some more two-start pitchers for the week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

I did some soul-searching math the other day, and I determined that 54 percent of the time, I’m right every time. But that benchmark of psychic-level foresight seems to no longer be reachable in these turbulent times. Although a few recent stumbles have me questioning myself a bit lately, there are some things I do know for sure. Taking a page out of Jimmy Fallon’s playbook, I give you my “True Facts of Truth” for the 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season:

1) Something (Bigger crackdown on P.E.D.’s? Climate change? More tightly wound balls?) has sapped the power out of guys who used to have power. Robinson Cano, Billy Butler, Jedd Gyorko and Evan Longoria are among those who have experienced major power outages.

2) Roughly 32 percent of all adult males get excited when they see Matt Adams rub a bat between his moobs, but only 30 percent will admit to it (Cards’ fans).

3) Something (Bigger crackdown on P.E.D.’s? Climate change? Less tightly wound balls?) and not something else (kids throwing curveballs too early) has made Dr. James Andrews and very busy man and caused carpel tunnel issues for whoever types up the disabled list section of the transactions that run in newspaper sports sections.

4) The “R.A.” in R.A. Dickey stands for “Really Acting”.

5) Guys who were aces heading into the season (Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, Gerrit Cole, Gio Gonzalez, Homer Bailey) are not aces in 2014, and therefore not automatic green lights as two-start pitchers.

6) Guys who were not aces heading into the season (Johnny Cueto, Dallas Keuchel, Phil Hughes, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle, Josh Beckett) are pitching like aces and becoming dang near must-starts as two-start pitchers.

7) In cricket, the game of pepper is called “circle jerk.”

8) When in doubt, go with the Stream-O-Nator.

9) If you’re still not sold, look at a dude’s K/BB per game ratio.

10) Ronald Belisario is actually 61 years old.

Maybe you saw something in the list you can use and apply to the rankings below. Or maybe you saw some things that have you questioning the future of the human race. Regardless, let the Two-Startapalooza begin!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

What do you think the Stream-O-Nator looks like? I imagine it resembles Dr. Theopolis, the little circular faced thing that hangs around Twiki’s neck on “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”. Dr. Theo was basically a robot on a robot, only he was the smart one and he kind of relied on his dumb robot friend to get him around. Is it possible that Stream-O-Nator hangs around Hitter-Tron’s neck? Would that make Stream-O-Nator a blow-up doll of sorts?

These questions probably couldn’t and shouldn’t be answered, but one thing I do know is that Stream-O-Nator cannot detect signs of life. Because if it could, it would be able to go in and perform the baseball equivalent of an electrocardiogram on the Philadelphia Phillies and come back with something very close to a straight, flat line. This is especially true at Citizens Bank Park, where it’s almost worse than a road game in terms of boos and pressure from a fan base that’s about to go for a group swim off the Ben Franklin Bridge.

And if Stream-O-Nator could do this, it would know that the first of Ian Kennedy’s two starts next week should be a cake walk. Yes, CBP is a bandbox, but no, the older Phillie bats won’t be able to catch up with Kennedy’s lively fastball, nor will bewildered youngsters like Domonic Brown, whose swing is so jacked up that play-by-play guys with manboobs who never played the game are dissecting the various hitches that have him down near the Mendoza line.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

If someone had told me on Aug. 15, 2013 that Zack Wheeler would only be half-owned in Yahoo and ESPN leagues at the start of June 2014 I would have quit fantasy baseball immediately and wailed the loudest Nicolas Cage wail I could muster. That day was the height of early Wheeler Mania: 6 IP and 12 Ks to just one walk in a no-decision at San Diego. At the time Wheeler was not only a member of the rookie pitcher crew that also included Gerrit Cole, Michael Wacha and Sonny Gray, he was arguably the main attraction. If that group was New Kids On The Block, he was at best Jordan Knight, or at least Donnie Wahlberg, but he wasn’t no Danny Wood. Control problems kept him from being all that he could be, they said. Bad catchers (John Buck) can make good pitchers pitch badly, they said.

Well, here we are in the weeds of the 2014 season and Wheeler is on the verge of getting kicked out of the group. Cole, Wacha and Gray have been, for the most part, pitching like the budding studs they were supposed to be, and Wheeler has looked more like Nuke LaLoosh before Annie had him wearing garter belts and breathing through his eyelids. Wheeler might not have found his Crash Davis in Travis D’Arnaud, but something is clicking. He got bashed around pretty good in D.C. on May 18 but he finally found the plate, walking only two guys. May 24 against the Diamondbacks was even better, as he K’ed 7 to just one walk. You can blow this K/BB ratio thing out of proportion and go ga-ga over Wheeler’s last start, a win in which he blew away nine Phillies and walked none in 6-plus innings. It wasn’t what he did in that start, it’s how he looked doing it. Wheeler had the command that scouts and experts who know way more than me said he was missing. He looked like he was pitching downhill. His curveball was wicked and his fastball was popping. I know road starts in Wrigley and whatever they’re calling the Giants’ stadium now are not ideal, but I think this is the week Wheeler returns to his place next to the Coles and Wachas of the world.

Here’s some more two-starters for Week 10:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

The story of Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto is the Tale of Two Reds.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times to have Dusty Baker as a manager. It was the age of the possibility, with two pitchers on the same team going after the Cy Young every year. It was the age of those two hurlers sharing an apartment and duking it out on PlayStation. It was the epoch of mid-90s fastballs, it was the epoch of a Cincinnati team that never made it, it was the season of 2008… It was the season of throwing way too many pitches, but it was the spring of hope …

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

Up until now, Two-Startapoola 2014 has kind of resembled a post-taco feast fart party, where you’re trying in vain to wave away the pervasive stench cluttering up the lower tiers but that cloud of doom just won’t move.

But this week there is absolutely no shame in being down in the lower Second Tier or even the Third Tier.

Former aces who had fallen on hard times, like Yovani Gallardo and Josh Beckett, finally have their shtuff together, some of the pitchers who sucked earlier in the year (Brandon McCarthy, Jake Odorizzi) have gotten way better, and the Twins finally set their rotation so they don’t have the same guy pitching twice in the same week. Which means at least one less garbage starter in the system. You think Ron Gardenhire had us fantasy geeks in mind when he set up his real-life Twinkie pitching lineup this week? Me neither.

Anyways, have yourself a look-see at what the fantasy gods have sent down for us…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

Welcome to the “Wacky World of Sports!” I’m your host, Wax Winkingdale. This week we’ve got some weird, wild stuff for you. First up we’re catching up with a bit of silly from last month, when Andrew Cashner played left field for one batter in an extra-inning game for no real reason at all. Whoa, that Bud Black is one crazy guy! And really smart too. Much smarter than Tony LaRussa. [Ed. Note -- With less drunk driving to boot!]

Next is more madcap fun from San Diego, where a dinosaur threw out the first pitch before a game last Wednesday against the Royals. And no it wasn’t Steve Garvey! So who was the catcher for this zany occasion? Why it was the Swinging Friar, the team’s mascot. And oh look, the baby T-Rex is on the attack – he heard Friar and got the wrong idea!

Dino

Perhaps the weirdest story of the week comes to us from Toronto, where fantasy experts continue to disrespect a pitcher with a 6-1 record, 1.91 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Regression, they INSIST, is coming for Mark Buehrle as certain as winter is coming for Jon Snow and everyone else in the Seven Kingdoms. One writer said this is because Buehrle is lucky, noting, among other things, his small Home Run to Fly Ball ratio, favorable FIP (Field Independent Pitching) rate and weak K/9 rate. So Buehrle is lucky because he gave up fly balls and not home runs? There’s no skill in that? Guess he was lucky when he threw a perfect game too. And, OKAY, Buehrle doesn’t get a ton of strike outs, and I guess good things are happening when balls that he throws are hit, and that maybe those good things won’t continue happening if balls continue to be hit and not missed by batters. Given all that, by the FIP measurement Buehrle’s ERA would be more in the All-Star zone (low 3’s) and not exactly Cy Young territory (under 2). I don’t think this did the best job of illustrating his point. I’m not really sure how much stock I put in something that looks like this anyway: “FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant.” Sounds like Mr. Kowalski’s boring-ass algebra class, not analysis of a sport. There’s a lot of writers a lot smarter than me who use these numbers to make valid points. There’s even more who wank off to print outs of these formulas in the same way that White Goodman rubs one out with a slice of pizza. Here’s my analysis: Buehrle has been excellent, and even though his track record indicates that this isn’t normal, it’s also very possible that he will have the career year the Blue Jays thought he was going to have when they splurged on free agents before the 2013 season. Or at least a career first half. I think we will know which way this is going to go after this week, as Buehrle draws the Angels at home and a trip to the gauntlet in Arlington.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

When did pitchers become such complete morons?

Michael Pineda’s pine tar party is way old news now, but let’s just go back and revisit what was truly dumb about it: It’s not that he tried to use pine tar, it’s that he tried to hide it on his neck!

Last week’s dummy was Matt Cain. Apparently, he read some of the scouting reports that said his 2013 was a tale of two-halves, which might have given him the idea to make a sandwich in the Giants’ clubhouse before the team’s game last Tuesday against the Padres. Whoops! Cain sliced his index finger instead of a tomato, or whatever, and had to be scratched. It’s not dumb that Cain wanted to have a sandwich on game day. It’s idiotic that he had to make one himself. Don’t they bring in catering before the game? Why are they making their own sandwiches? Aren’t these guys pampered millionaires?

There is an actual fantasy point here. What made Cain’s first half of 2013 so rough is that he was giving up dongs despite his ability to keep the ball in the yard throughout his career. This year he’s yielded five homers, which is up among the league leaders, but not horrid. The sandwich debacle hurts because Cain needed to bounce back strong after a poop-fest in Colorado that followed two quality starts in losses.

The good news is he has two starts in pitcher friendly parks this week (PNC Park and Dodger Stadium). The bad news is that damn cut kept opening up last week when Cain tried to throw. What if it flies open in Pittsburgh and someone mistakes the blood for ketchup and slathers it on their Primanti Bros. sandwich?

Dumber things have happened. Like, say, messing around with a knife before you start a major league game …

… and some of these two-start pitcher rankings. Enjoy!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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