Sorry my loyal musicfiles, but this week I’ve moved on from our weekly music discussion mixed in with some fantasy baseball edu-ma-cation, to a weekly discussion of my favorite of all foods….the all-mighty fast food cheeseburger.  I’m guessing regular commenter Happy Vegans will have to talk about boca burgers or something made of grass.  Sorry homie, your avatar still has a rocking stache.  Take solace in that.  Either way we’ll once again awkwardly navigate our way through the two-start pitching options for the week and mix in some auxiliary discussion of the delicious, greasy, delicacy we call the cheeseburger.  If you’re kosher remove the cheese, cool?  Looking forward, we have some seriously tasty doubles piled up in the top tiers this week and some dollar menu values spread across the middle tiers where streamers are to be had in super-sized portions.  Some one and done guys that might be In N Out of your lineup depending on the matchup.  There’s also a whole lot more garbage in a bag then there has been in previous weeks…. I know, I know, I’m so topical I should be an ointment!  Quite a few streamers I like this week, one in particular is Mariners Lefty Roenis Elias.  Over his last 15 starts dating back to last July Elias’ ERA is 2.48 with a 7.78 k/9, 3.56 BB/9, and a .65 HR/9.  His pheriperals scream regression (3.71 FIP, 4.02 xFIP, 1.36 WHIP), but they don’t scream awful either.  His control has improved this season and he’s faced some solid lineups thus far in Minnesota, Baltimore, and Houston.  Roenis is slated to go against two clubs this week that are middle of the road when it comes to hitting lefties, in the Rays and Indians.  But I like his chances to continue his string of quality starts.  Now that’s a tasty burger!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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So after back to back weeks of discussing two of the more trendsetting genres in Hip-Hop and Grunge.  I have gone off the reservation and devoted the tiers and peripheral discussion to one of my favorites groups of all-time, Philly hitmakers Daryl Hall and John Oates.  In other words, I’m trying very hard to not exceed 12 comments.  Hey, it’s just like my weekday job on the soccer site!  Then again maybe you too enjoy hitting the freeway with the top down in your Sebring convertible and the cool sounds of the dynamic duo pumping through your speakers.  Good God, someone get me a peach flavored mystic.  I’m going to need to hydrate for all the cougars who just swooned after reading that description.  Not for nothing, but there is no better way to serenade a cougar then to pull up in a low power american convertible, top down, with Sara Smile on the stereo.  I be collecting spanx for days kid.  All I’m saying is watch your Mom around me, true player for real, ask my dog Smokey.  Or you could ask your mom…. This is all nonsense and besides the point.  We’re here dearly beloved to discuss the double-dipping masters of blue eyed soul, mixed in with some two start pitchers right?  Well bad news…the two start pitching options this week are sort of limited after the first 8 or so arms.  Yay Mike Fiers!  Seriously Fiers is so meta.  Because I typically want to yell FIRE! upon glancing at my ratios after each of his starts.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Another week of two-start pitchers and another music focused theme to guide you in your conquests. Wait that sounded sexual, you’re not trying to sleep with two start pitchers right?  I mean it’s fine if you do this is a judgement free zone, but I wanted to be clear about my usage of conquests.  I don’t want to start showing up for searches based around jersey chasing.  Then my comments might be questions like “What’s the best type of underwear to wear when trying to seduce Max Scherzer?”.  Jesus, how did I get here?  I just want to talk a little 90’s grunge and throw a few stats at you.  Stream of conscious writing isn’t for everyone.  Let’s put aside my ramblings for a moment and get into the meat of this sandwich shall we?  Anyone see the Kurt Cobain documentary “Montage of Heck”?  I watched it three times this week and was reminded of how much I loved Nirvana as a 10 year old Ralph.  For anyone that’s a Nirvana fan it’s a worthy take.  So thanks to the film and last week’s spirited music debate in the comments I’ve been inspired to base this week’s tiers on my favorite groups from the Seattle Grunge scene.  Hell it’s probably the last good thing to come out of Seattle. I see you Tehol.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lads (and ladies), sit with me for a moment while I bless yee with a bit of the folklore of the old country, the Emerald Isle to be exact. A place of legal drugs, pubs, whiskey, rolling green hills, lovely redheaded lassies, and a tradition of folklore as rich as an Irishman’s heart. You may be familiar with stories of wee men and their pots of gold, or the luck of the Blarney Stone, Stonehenge perhaps, but how many of you are familiar with the Púca? To be clear Púcas are ghosts or spirits, bringers of good luck or bad fortune, they are said to be both helpers and hindrances. The really tricky thing about Púcas is how tough they are to identify due to their ability to change appearances and shape-shift. We’re all familiar with Púca’s in one way or another but the most well known Púca to those of us in the States is a giant rabbit named Harvey. That would be the protagonist from Mary Coyle Chase’s play of the same name. The play was later adapted to the silver screen in a film staring Jimmy Stewart, and its a worthwhile take.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Can you smell that? Can you? It’s the smell of a brand spanking new baseball season about to begin and with it, the smell of popcorn, fully chewed Redman, hot dog-flavored water, and gun powder. Why gun powder? MURICA! That’s why! What are you a bunch of red commies that hate freedom? No?!?! Good! Now that we’ve established your patriotism, let’s move on to our first two-start pitcher post of the young season. As I did at the end of 2014, when I took over this ship, I’ll break down all of the starters into a few tiers based on quality of the pitcher and then of course their matchups. To back up just why I’m placing each pitcher into a particular tier, I’ll provide stats on the pitcher and the lineups they’re facing. Considering the only data I have at this point in the season to go on will be last year’s numbers…and what good are those? I’m going to skip this step and just do my rankings and usual blurbs per tier. After all, it is Week 1, and much like a toilet in a unisex bathroom, we’re dealing with everyone’s 1’s and 2’s. Plus, we have plenty of tools to help you figure this stuff out… So sit back, relax, catch ya contact, sip ya cog-ni-ac, and feel free to share your perspective in the comments. I didn’t think the last part about laundering money applied.

Shameless Plug Alert!!!! When you’re done here, head on over to Razzball Soccer and catch all the goodies that Smokey and I are providing for Fantasy Premier League!! Do it!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After hitting the ‘Publish’ button on my recent post titled ‘Razzball Streamonator TKO’s ESPN Fantasy Forecaster‘, I pictured reading and answering the comments to be like a victory lap*.  Look at me, I’m Cal Ripken!  While I got a healthy share of pats on the back from Razzball Nation (thanks as always!), some commenters were also kind enough to note that Streamonator and Hittertron could learn something from the ESPN Fantasy Forecaster – notably the handy dandy 7-day grid with all the probable starters.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is happening on the other side of my laptop as I sit here writing the Two-Startapalooza…

owierazz

Yes, that is a dog dry-humping Boo the star Pomeranian in stuffed animal form. He does it all the time, but for some reason it seemed profound to me and strangely relevant to this week’s batch of pitchers. [Jay’s Note: Uhhhh. Okay?] Perhaps my dog represents the fantasy gods, and Boo is fantasy owners everywhere, especially those on the playoff bubble in their leagues. No Clayton Kershaw, no Max Scherzer, no David Price, no mega-aces to speak of. Combustible No. 2’s. A lot of mediocrity. Dudes obviously pitching over their heads, and dying to, well, eff you over. And then the looming threat of namby-pamby real-life baseball managers pulling guys early in games to get ready for the real-life playoffs and even scratching top-flight starters with mysterious blisters, hangnails and other assorted bogus injuries in an effort to save them for the postseason. The nerve! But I see two little gifts from these same fantasy gods: Two guys with potential who have good-to-great matchups this week.

First up is Eric Stults, a Hodgepadre with two home starts (Brew Crew and Dodgers) and a nice run going. He’s 3-1 in August with a 1.49 ERA, and only one of those starts was in Petco. Also, he’s only walked two guys in his last three starts, and has the potential to strike guys out on top of that. Then there’s Dillon Gee, who looked like a potential ace out of the gate this year but then missed two months with a back injury. He’s been about as appealing as amusement park food since his return, racking up a 5.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP with no wins over the last 30 days. But if you drill down into his last four starts, he hasn’t been that awful. He held down the Giants for the most part on Aug. 4, giving up two runs over 5-plus innings. He then dominated the flat-lining Phillies in Philly. Now I’ll make some excuses. Is there shame in getting a little shaken (4 ER in 5 innings) in a loss to the first-place Nats at home or a road loss to first-place Oakland? This week, Gee welcomes two beatable opponents to Citi Field: The strikeout happy Braves and then those same crappy Phillies. I like Gee and Stults as streamers who won’t “screw you over” (heh) and nothing else. Now let’s see what else we got in the Two-Starter cupboard this week.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m just curious: Do Colorado pitchers stink because half of their games are played in the equivalent of the Space Stadium in “Triple Play 2001”, or do they stink because no one wants to pitch there, so the Rockies just end up with the garbage juice at the bottom of the pitching scrap heap? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Either way, the poor, battered Rockies pitchers will get out of Coors next week and into some fun in the sun in San Diego for a series that is the definitive fantasy baseball crossing of the streams: [Jay’s Note: Don’t cross the streams.] Offensive-minded team with horrendous pitchers that play in a batter’s park visit a pitching-minded team with absolutely zero offense in their pitcher’s park.

So what does this mean for fantasy purposes, and specifically Two-Startapalooza purposes?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!

What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).

Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!

Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.

A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You: Pete Nice, did you say we should start Marcus Stroman this week at Boston and at Houston?

Jay(Wrong): You DON’T have to answer that question!

Me: I’ll answer the question! You want advice?

You: I think I’m entitled to…

Me: YOU WANT ADVICE?

You: I WANT THE TRUTH!

Me: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

[Jay’s Note: My mother always wanted me to be a lawyer…] Guys, we live in a fantasy baseball world that has risky matchups, and those risky matchups have to be taken on by writers who have to suggest two-starting inexperienced young pitchers with 95 mph-plus fastballs. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Guru? You, Sky? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly imagine. You worry about Stroman, and you curse the Blue Jays. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Stroman’s road performance, while thus far in 2014 has been kind of crappy – 17 hits in 16 IP with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP – will improve with time. And Stroman’s existence, while excitingly intriguing but also slightly scary, can help your fantasy team. You don’t want this advice because deep down in places you don’t talk about at baseball games and fantasy drafts, you want Stroman on that hill. You need Stroman on that hill. We use words like FIP and K/BB ratios. We use these words as the backbone of a fantasy team trying to win something: Stroman’s 3.11 FIP places him in the Top 20 of all MLB pitchers and his K/BB per 9 ratio of close to 6.00 makes him an ownable pitcher, not a streamer, according to Dr. Grey Albright PhD. You use these things as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to readers who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very information that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up Stroman, and set your lineup. Either way, I don’t give a damn who you grab off the wire for two starts this week.

You: Did you order the two-starts for Marcus Stroman?

Me: I did the job…

You: DID YOU ORDER THE TWO-STARTS FOR MARCUS STROMAN?

Me: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID! AND HERE’S SOME MORE TWO-START PITCHERS FOR NEXT WEEK!

Please, blog, may I have some more?