Yahoo’s current top 3 fantasy baseball stat leaders are Justin Upton, Miguel Cabrera, and at number one it’s a man named Clay. Clay Buchholz? Miggy, I can see for sure. Upton? In this leftover Cinco de Mayo hangover haze you might convince me. But Clay Buchholz? Number 1? I’d ask the Razzball stat checker but he’s passed out at his abacus. Buchholz is 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and 47 K’s in 44 innings to start the season. Thursday he was named the AL pitcher of the month. Last Wednesday Buchholz shut down the Blue Jays and sparked a minor Twitter war between the US and our toque wearing neighbors to the north. Some folks in Toronto were calling “shenanigans”. While I do appreciate me some good “shenanigans”, I am really more of a “hoopla” or “ballyhoo” man myself. Shenanigan accuser and former MLB pitcher/writer/broadcaster Dirk Hayhurst tweeted whether Buchholz was getting the outs on his own or if he had the help of something sticky:
“I just saw video of Buchholz loading the ball with some Eddie Harris worthy slick’em painted up his left forearm. Wow.”
Hayhurst guessed the substance was Crisco. While Buchholz did not appreciate being associated with fictional characters from “Major League”, he did admit his favorite baseball movie is “Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch,” then denied any shenanigans, hoopla or ballyhoo.
Jack Morris, the former World Series hero, Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster, and porn mustache aficionado added to the brouhaha saying he is convinced Buchholz was throwing a spitball. “They showed it to me and said, ‘What do you think of this?’ and I said, ‘Well, he’s throwing a spitter.” Joining the scuttlebutt was Red Sox broadcaster and baseball/mustache Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley saying Morris should “zip it” adding “Morris can’t even make it to the Hall of Fame.” Is that the retired baseball player equivalent to throwing down the jockstrap gauntlet? Annoyed with all the hubbub, Sox manager John Farrell slathered Vasoline on his bagel and said, “It’s rosin. Clay’s not loading up.” Then he asked, “Does this taste funny to you?” The Blue Jays come to Fenway Park on Friday. It’s a mustached steel cage showdown: Morris vs. Eck. Maybe special guest referee Grey Albright? Now that would be an old-fashioned hairy-lipped katzenjammer!
With Buchholz lubed up and long gone in your league, let’s enjoy a Bloody Mary brunch, grease our naked torsos up in canola oil, and talk starting pitching because it’s time for a little dab of Jam it or Cram it.
Availability: 73% Yahoo, 87% ESPN
Next Start: MIA, @TB
Stats so Far: 1 W, 2 L, 11 ER, 12BB, 20 K, 4.24 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
The Gist: Cashner popped up on the waiver radar after his start against the Giants where he went 6 innings with 5 K’s and only a run allowed. Fast forward to last Wednesday and Cashner gets beat around by the Cubs, giving up 4 runs and 4 walks in just 4 innings. Which guy do you get? Owning Cashner longterm is a no-go. He walks too many and has never pitched more than 60 innings. But I like the two start week against a Stanton-less Marlins and a Rays team that ranks 20th in average and runs scored.
Key Stats: Cashner has a tasty 7.7 K/9. Walks are the problem with 4.6 BB/9.
A Gooey Factoid: Cashner’s fastball has averaged 94.8 MPH, second only to Stephen Strasburg (95.2) among NL starters.
The X-File: The Padres have confidence in the hard throwing Cashner and he’ll remain in the rotation until he hits an innings limit or Carlos Quentin delivers a pile driver. Hey Carlos, he’s on your team, man.
Jam or Cram: I like the SP/RP roster flexibility especially in H2H leagues. Jam him into your lineup for Monday’s start at home vs. Miami.
Availability: 59% Yahoo, 77% ESPN
Next Start: Tuesday @SF
Stats so Far: 3 W, 1 L, 11 ER, 10 BB, 29 K, 2.43 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
The Gist: Kyle Kendrick finds himself in unfamiliar territory: he’s the Phillies’ ace. Kendrick has gone 6 innings or more in his last 4 starts with a complete game and only given up 6 runs in his last 35 innings of work. He’s so hot his house has been swatted twice this week. Philly phans are phunny. When manager Charlie Manuel saw the choppers in the air he told Doc Halladay to get his surfboard exclaiming, “If I say it’s safe to surf this beach Captain, then it’s safe to surf this beach!”
Key Stats: Opponents are hitting just .230 with an OBP of .276. That puts him in the top 25 for SP a month into the season.
The X-File: On a staff full of aces, Kendrick has been better than Halladay, better than Hamels, and better than Lee. It remains to be seen if Kendrick can keep this streak going, but he is worth a spot in NL and deeper 12 team leagues, especially with the SP/RP eligibility.
Jam or Cram: Is he a jam? Feel free to add him now, then hold me as I sing “More Than Words”.
Availability: 98% Yahoo, 99% ESPN
Next Start: @NY Mets
Stats so Far: 1 W, 1 L, 5 ER, 5 BB, 10 K, 2.29 ERA, 1.02 WHIP
The Gist: With Gavin “MacLeod” Floyd likely out for the season with an elbow injury, White Sox Manager Robin Ventura inquired where in the world is Hector Santiago? That’s him out on the mound skip. After Santiago tossed 5 1/3 of one run ball against the Rangers last week with 6 strikeouts, it looks like Ventura has found his 5th starter for the foreseeable future.
Key Stats: Last year Santiago showed he has some swing and miss stuff striking out 79 in 70 innings. He also walked 40.
A Gooey Factoid: Santiago is one of the few pitchers left that still throws a screwball. I can’t throw a screwball, but Flickchart says “The Big Lebowski” is the best screwball comedy of all time. The Dude abides.
The X-File: Santiago only has five career starts to his name and is a bit of a lottery ticket; you gotta play to win.
Jam or Cram: I’ll buy a ticket this week against a Mets team that has struck out 220 times this year. Jam, start, cram, repeat.
Jam it or Cram it hitters for the week:
Ryan Rayburn 2B/OF Cleveland Indians: Hitting .591 with 4 HR in the last week. He’s a good fill in if needed. Jam
Adam Laroche 1B Washington Nationals: Moved from cleanup to 6th in the order after an 0-20 stretch with 10 K. Cram
Questions, comments and Big Lebowski quotes are welcomed. Look for my daily Jam it or Cram it on Twitter @TheGuruGS