XHcD0AD

HEY! (I thought about just ending the intro right here. Ultimate mic drop moment. However, for the four people that enjoy reading this part – including my mother – I’ll carry on. Note: My mother doesn’t read about fantasy baseball.)

Whether it was just to get the attention of Norm McDonald or Colin Quinn, or subtly acted as a harbinger of the attention the Cubs would garner nearly two decades later, the hilarious announcement of ‘HEY!’ by Will Ferrell in character as Harry Caray could be a banner for the 2016 Cubbies. Hey! Pay attention! They’re really freaking good (as you all are aware). And not going anywhere. Including this week.

I heard summers in Chicago were beautiful. Then I heard they were miserable. Whenever the wind isn’t blowing off Lake Michigan Chicago turns into a stagnant city in desperate need of some fresh breath. Well, don’t worry ChiTown, because for the final week in June and start of July your fresh breath is coming. The WINdy City will earn its name through the trio of Two-Start Pitchers that will take the mound. And yep, I’m even including the ugly step-child White Sox and their Ace so far this year (Gasp…but wait, Chris Sale isn’t throwing twice this week!?! Uh huh, you’re quite the observant one, aren’t cha?) But even more than Jose Quintana, the Cubs Cy Young runners-up (no one is stopping Clayton Kershaw’s path to winning the Iron Throne) headline the list of Two-Start options for Week 13. Get ready for more Harry Caray proclamations!

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Don't Worry

Fantasy owners can be fickle. Can we not? Fickle as a pickle. Hang on…

Sorry, had to get the computer back from my grandmother. While the saying may be as lame as Facebook is to a High Schooler, the initial verbiage is somewhat true. Chris Archer? Aah, he sucks now. Matt Shoemaker? He’s awful! Cole Hamels? Those peripherals just scream regression. Or how about the rook Michael Fulmer. Y’all see his first four starts? 19.1 IP, 14 ER?!? Send him back down! Listen, sometimes a quick trigger is the right move (see: Sonny Gray early in the season), but often times, as it is with the four names just mentioned, the overzealous hyper-anxious fickle nature of the tiny past 14 days window can bring with it a big #facepalm a week later. All four of those pitchers took the mound this past Friday night. Here’s what being fickle gets you:

Archer: 6.0IP/6H/3ER/3BB/8K
Hamels: 7.0IP/3H/0ER/3BB/6K
Shoemaker: 6.0IP/6H/1ER/1BB/7K
Fulmer: 5.2IP/5H/1ER/4BB/5K (1st ER in last five starts, just the 2nd in his last 40 IP)

I’m pretty sure you’d take all of those, yet some of you may have jumped ship back in April. See, no reason to worry. And one more name that the same deep breath should be practiced towards this week: Aaron Nola.

Nola has been phenomenal for the surpassingly future-is-bright Phillies this year. He carries a 3.51 ERA into this week’s slate, and that’s after his past two starts being purely dismal with a combined slash of: 6.2IP/15H/10ER/4BB/8K. Brutal. But don’t you dare let that raise your blood pressure, especially for this week.

Yes, he’s had two straight horrible outings, but that’s on the heels of nine straight quality starts with 6 or more Ks in all but one of them. An even better reason to love your some Nola this week (and no, I’m not talking about the Taints…Falcons fan here)? He’s on the road twice. Check his home/road splits:

Home: 41.0IP/4.83ERA/1.41WHIP
Road: 43.2IP/2.27ERA/0.87WHIP

Now I don’t believe we have a reverse 2015 Dallas Keuchel on our hands, as his home stats are inflated from his last start, but I’m most certainly relying on him for stellar numbers on the road. Give him the visitors bench against the Twins and the Giants? Even better! No worries on young Aaron, folks. He’s no foofoo like Robin Arryn. Eat the fickle pickle, and don’t worry about that little guy.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of the greatest artists of the last twenty years has essentially been missing from the music scene for the last decade. In the mid-to-late 90’s, far and few between could grace the airwaves quite like Lauryn Hill. Her Miseducation album from 1998 painted the scenes of my 7th grade love for R&B, and before that she was proclaiming to the world that ‘His eye is on the sparrow‘ in Sister Act 2 (yep, same girl…and nope, not the High Sparrow). And then sandwiched in between she rocked these lines with The Fugees that will be forever transfixed as genius in musical lore:

Stroman my pain with his fingers
Singin’ my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Tellin’ my whole life with his words
Killing me softly with his song

Little did I understand that she was also blasting prophesy through the radio as I heard that song back in the 90’s, not knowing that she was singing about a pitcher from Duke who would take the mound north of the border and effectively kill the ERA of every team that owned him. Crazy, right? That girl’s onto something…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Prayer-five

30, 29, 23, 18, 11. No, that’s not my horrible attempt to remember the lottery numbers from LOST, but rather the team wOBA rankings over the past 14 days. Yep, dead last. Next to dead last. Basically dead last. And more mediocre than any fantasy advice you’ll receive from ESPN or the #facepalm that happens every time you log in to Yahoo’s fantasy site. And what’s wOBA? Lemme learn ya somethin…

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 9.52.45 AM

Who fills those strugglin’ ranking slots? The NL East. The Braves, Phillies, Mets, Marlins and Nationals, respectively, feature not a single team over the past two weeks with anything resembling an elite offense. Outside of Daniel Murphy, Marcell Ozuna, Yoenis Cespedes, Odubel Herrera and Freddie Freeman each lineup has a ton of outs. Haha, hell…Madison Bumgarner would have the third most home runs on the Braves right now! So, if you’re a fan of an NL East team, you pray for either time to fly and the future to arrive faster than Byron Buxton cruising to a triple (see: Braves, Phillies), your team to remember how to hit (see: all non-Cespedes Mets), your star to return to form (see: Marlins/Giancarlo) or pitchers to actually give Bryce Harper something to hit (see: Nationals).

But…if you’re a starting pitcher…you pray, nay, petition, for the NL East. Like, ‘Oh, sweet baby Jesus, please let me face them this week!’ Facing one of these teams is hitting the jackpot. But, good heavens, why stop at one? Double down on those prayers and let’s get two of them! Two dragons! That’s exactly what the king of the castle for the Two-Start Pitchers gets in Week 10. Prayers answered!

Pitchers are listed in order by rank. Colors represent worst 8 or best 8 opponents according to team wOBA for last 30 days.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

hodor_thechildren_fight

First off, hopefully you understand the connotation of this article’s title from last Sunday. Potential spoilers ahead? Maybe? Second, I mean, damn it! Really, Bran? Ya had to do Hodor like that? Third, he really did hold that door. Standing O and hats off to you, gentle mini-giant. You own the episode. For the first time ever Game of Thrones fans experienced an emotional heart-wrenching of sadness more than just pure shock (see: Red Wedding). Oh, spoilers? It’s been almost a week…and I’ve been dying to talk about it!

You know what hitters, ahem, have been dying to do off Gerrit Cole since May 2? Score runs. Cole’s first five starts were sub-par, especially for a pitcher of his stature, but since that May 2 visit from the Cubs, he’s rallied off 26 IP with just 3 ER. That’s Arrieta-esque. He’s holding the door shut to opposing lineups, even the most formidable ones. After his shellacking by the Cubs to start the month, he then travelled to Wrigley two starts later and threw a 8IP/3H/0ER/0BB/7K gem. He’s heating up like Daenerys Targaryen at the end of Episode 4! Well, you know, without being naked of course. Cole’s putting April behind him and ascending back to Ace status (and we’re not worrying about that strange zero strike out start two weeks ago…). Don’t be concerned about solid lineups he’ll face; the Marlins and Angels have a .158 and .132 ISO the past 30 games. Nothing to write home about.

Home. Maybe Bran’s going there now. Or may Jon’s heading back there at the bidding of Sansa. As long as it’s not Hardhome, I doubt he cares, though. Sheesh. Oh, and yes, I just geeked out on Game of Thrones. You’re freakin’ welcome.

Pitchers are listed in order by rank. Colors represent worst 8 or best 8 opponents according to team wOBA for last 30 days. And in honor of GoT, we’ll name the tiers based on my favorite characters.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

JT

It was almost 20 years ago. Aaaah, middle school. I remember it like yesterday. Or, well, like twenty years ago. Sweater vests, braces, and bleached blonde caesar haircuts. Before the real Slim Shady showed up a different white boy with rhythm busted onto the scene with his troupe of ex-Disney-turned-MTV boy banders. We all thought it was dumb (of course). Why should all the girls that we thought were hot think they were hot? Because they’re on TV? Stupid. Because they can sing? Hey, we were in chorus! Every crush I had at 12 would swoon over *NYSNC and their lyrics, thinking it was written for them.

‘It’s tearin’ up my heart when I’m with you/And when we are apart I feel it, too/And no matter what I do I feel the pain with or without you!’

Okay, a few things. Why in the Kanye West did you have an asterisk in front of your name? You’re not Roger Maris! GTFO. At least put a hashtag. Be ahead of the times. Instead your name looks like something that could be traded on NASDAQ. Second, besides their style choices asterikNSYNC was clearly a confused calamity of young 20-Somethings. How about ya find a lady that doesn’t make you manic? Just a thought. Third, how dare you steal from U2 with those lyrics!?! Fourth, thank heavens for progression. Amiright Justin Timberlake? (In case you’re totally lost, but somehow still reading this asinine intro, JT’s the aforementioned white boy whom I massively respect now, see: Jessica Biel). Fifth, I didn’t have to look those lyrics up. I knew them. In the darkness of my memories. Damn it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

And now the end is near, so I face the final curtain, my friends I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case of which I certain. I’ve written a season’s full, I’ve looked at each and every wOBA. But much more than this I did my Job-a. Regrets I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention (cough, cough Carlos Frias). I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption. I built each chart of course, each careful stat along the byway. And much more than WHIP, I diiiiiiidddd ittttTTT MYYYYY WAAAAY!

A big thank you to everybody reading my non-sequiturs and random brain farts about two start pitchers. I surely do appreciate your time. With 25 (actually 24) of these in the can, we got one last post to go. I don’t know what will happen to us over the next 6 months. We may grow apart, you may follow your heart, and your heart might take you to a small village in the Hindu Kush mountains. Where you fall madly in love with the daughter of a Tajik Warlord by the name of Richa. Maybe you abandon fantasy baseball and live a simpler life off the land. No not like the reality show the Simple Life. A simple life like milking goats, and tending fields. Simple like owning 4 bowls amongst five people. No matter what happens to all of you, just know I’ll always be here. Well not technically here but if you click that icon up top that says soccer, I’ll magically appear. Sort of like the genie from Aladdin, just soley focused on the subject of soccer, and completely devoid of wishes. I might have matches though. Goodbye my friends, I promise to be just as crazy in the 1-6. Two start pitchers week 26.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So as the two-start pitching post comes to a close, I thought I’d take a break from our usual theme based format and make this week’s edition as straight-forward as possible. But then I wrote the first draft in Old German and realized that translating it back to English was neither simple or straight-forward. There are some terms in Old German baseball vernacular that just don’t translate. Then again most of it is comparing pitchers mechanics to field work. This all gave me a great idea for a sequel to Million Dollar Arm with John Hamm. The premise is simple, upon his return from India J.B. Bernstein is driving through Lancaster County and witnesses a 16 year old Pennsylvania Dutch lefty by the name of Ezekial Miller striking out teams of grown men from a near by town. Bernstein fresh off his cricket adventure, believes he’s found his next project and wacky hi-jinx ensues. It’s one part Kingpin, One part The Natural, and one part Hoosiers. The last part only fits because there’s a lot of veiled racism that only Disney could produce. So that’s my pitch (pun point). What do you guys think, shall I kick start a Kickstarter campaign? Let’s make this happen, I have a football team of little Lifshitz to feed, or as I call them a bunch of Lil-Shitz. You like?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With my oldest starting kindergarten last week, I was reminded of my days in grade school and the things I looked forward to the most. The first was the recess basketball game. Your level of happiness for the rest of the day depended upon which side of the ball you were on from Bennett School Playground legend Rufus Frazier. This kid could ball, he had the crazy hook shot that was impossible for the other kids to defend. He had the wicked first step and was one of like five kids that didn’t travel once every four dribbles. The second was cafeteria pizza on Friday’s, if you were lucky you got the french bread ones with the extra cheese. But you didn’t complain if you got the Elio’s because it was still better than anything your Mom gave you all week. Amirite? But the thing I looked forward to the most was the daily snack time around 10 o’clock. The quality of your snacks was a direct correlation to how much your parents loved you. Lucky for me my Mom was killing the snack game way back in 88′ and kept it real proper. So for this week’s edition of my never-ending quest to connect my childhood nostalgia with two start pitchers we’re going to be discussing snack foods of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Some of these staples of my childhood are still in stores, while others have gone the way of Kato Kaelin. Wait he’s still around? Ayo, it’s two start pitchers, Week 24….

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello! How many of Y’all remember the early 90’s? I don’t mean you were 5 and sort of remember it. I mean you know all the words to Color Me Bad, “I Wanna Sex You Up”, or K7’s “Come Baby Come”. How many of you had a fly honey in high waisted shorts and a fresh perm? Can you bust out a Running Man or the Wop? If you caught even 60% of what I just said this one’s for you. You know for all my overall shorts with the one strap rocking CooleyHighHarmony heads. We’re bringing it back New Jack Style with some of the flyest threads of the early 90’s. Ya heard?

One big change before we go forward, the format of the charts got a little remix treatment here in the two-trey. Yours truly, decided to roll out a different set of wOBA ranks, scrapping the righty/lefty splits and instead looking at the entirety of the second half. This should give you some idea of what offenses are A. Hot and B. Putting it together following any acquisitions they made before the trade deadline. Because who really cares what a team looked like in April or June, right?  Should we let our judgement be skewed by first half data if a team has been awful for all of July and August? Hell no! So we made that change for your benefit I’m a giver. The other change is we dropped the k% and added the ERA/FIP/xFIP of each potential two start pitcher over their last 5 or so turns. We did have a couple with under 5 starts total for the season, but it was just two (Zach Davies, and Cody Martin). Once again this is taking a look at the current form of each starter, not how they were pitching two months ago. Ya Dig? Good, well let’s get to it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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