It’s hard to pick which Ross is hated more: the one in Friends whose character is so annoying David Schwimmer could never get work again, or the dynamite starter for the Nationals, who even after pitching mad impressive through his first few starts, wasn’t even the first SP to get the call when Stephen Strasburg went back to the DL yet again.  Why wasn’t he the first call?!

After Joe Ross‘s first run in June, I kept him in the ranks a few more weeks even without a for-sure rotation spot, and when Strasburg tweaked the oblique, I was ready to vault him into the top-50.  But nooooooo, instead they use, I dunno, Taylor Jordan or someone who doesn’t matter?  C’mon Nats, what did Ross ever do to you?!  Finally the Nationals got Ross back up to face the Mets last week in a decent – albeit underwhelming – start given the matchup, so I decided to break down his 5th MLB start at the Pirates, in a pitcher’s duel Sunday afternoon against Gerrit Cole.  Here’s how Ross looked:

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Yesterday, Michael Brantley went 4-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs with his 7th homer. One big day for a 2nd rounder is more than Ian Desmond owners can say. Yes, everything’s better when compared to Ian Desmond. “Maw, this spinach is still half-frozen and spinach juice is dripping into my Salisbury steak.” “In some countries, all children have is a 2nd round draft pick of Ian Desmond.” “You’re right, maw, you’re right. I’m an ingrate!” That’s a 34-year-old you after coming up from your mom’s basement for dinner. One of my biggest regrets of this season was not labeling Brantley a Noid and telling you to avoid. I didn’t rank him in the preseason crazy high so you would draft him, but I didn’t outright say, “Look elsewhere, prematurely balding man.” Meh, I guess my regrets could be worse. I mean, look at Lindsay Lohan’s last ten years. If you own Brantley, I think at this point you have to hold tight and either go down with the ship or hope some of his cream rises — mixed metaphor points! If you don’t own Brantley like me, well, whew. I’m empathetic though. Kinda. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“I don’t know what my face is doing right now.” “It looks like you ate a full Tony Luke’s cheesesteak and forgot to swallow.” “No. I mean, I did, but I took the sub out of mouth and put it in my glove compartment for later. But this is something else. Feel my cheeks, they’re, like, pushed up.” “You get that f**kin’ Botox?” “No! I’m a 45-year-old construction worker with bad knees. Why would I get Botox?” “Then what’s wrong with your cheeks? You’re freaking me out!” “Wait, I know what it is. I’m…I’m smiling and I’m a Phillies fan. This is better than the day Charlie Manuel stopped at our job site to use our Porta-Potty!” Yesterday, Aaron Nola looked great — 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, and Phillies fans, or Phans, have something to smile about. I watched a portion of the game and he looked like he could be an ace. Love, love, lurve the control and mid-90’s fastball. At worst, he’s a number three. I was pretty jazzed at what I saw. Whenever you have a guy that has great command and can strike out people, there’s a chance for wonderful. With that said (hold on to the starboard, Grey’s turning around!), he’s a rookie and there will be some Growing Pains, and not the good kind of boners. I would absolutely own him, but in shallower leagues I’d be careful of roofies. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Growing up everyone had their favorite school lunch. Didn’t matter if your Mom packed you one or if you paid Bertha $1.25 for the crap they served on the foam divided plate. Everybody had a favorite. Maybe you were a lima beans and ravioli guy, a P,B, and J-er, did you crush fluffernutters like a boss? Or did you wait all week for pizza on Friday? I had several favorites and they evolved as I got older, I’m sure that’s the same for you too. So this week we compare pitchers to some of my favorite brown bag meals. Excuse me while I go heat up some Dino-shaped chix nuggets. Yummmm weird chicken type meat smoothered in sweet baby rays….Yummmmmm. So anyway we’re all starving for some fantasy baseball coming out of the break, and what better way to ring in the second half than a little elementary school nostalgia? Two Start Pitchers week 16 gentlemen and four LADIES.

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Move over Billy Hamilton – there’s a new king of SAGNOF in town! Well, maybe not, but Cesar Hernandez (+49%) has been on some kind of roll in recent weeks. Over the last 30 days, the 25-year-old Hernandez has stolen more bases (10) than any MLB player outside of Hamilton, and his .376 batting average ranks 3rd in MLB over that time frame. Sure, his .471 BABIP over the last month is wildly unsustainable for any player, but his MLB-leading 35.5% LD% and 5 bunt hits over that stretch suggest that a BABIP in the .340 range is a reasonable expectation over the remainder of the season, even when factoring in some inevitable regression across the board. His 11.4% BB% and 15.8% K% this season are both well above league average, and his 6.8% Swstr% is sandwiched right in between Dee Gordon and Brett Gardner on the season. Not too shabby.

Worried about playing time moving forward? Chase Utley is still hurt and produced a .179/.257/.275 triple slash line prior to hitting the DL, and Ben Revere is likely to be on the move in the coming weeks. Freddy Galvis? Cody Asche? Darin Ruf? Domonic Brown? Not exactly formidable roadblocks. Philly is likely to be essentially Maikel Franco surrounded by a beer-league softball roster following this season’s trade deadline. Playing time doesn’t appear to be an issue here. Interested in a player who could potentially give you 18-20 steals and a .280 average ROS? Hail Cesar!

Here are a couple of other significant adds and drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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DraftKings was actually a little late to the DFS party.  You’d never know it by looking at how prevalent they are everywhere.  They have done a wonderful job marketing, nabbing up partnerships with MLB and several major sports franchises along the way.  They are one of the two big fishes in the sea right now.  Back in the early days of DFS every site had a little chat box that was a place for three things usually.  1) Trash talking, 2) Whining, 3) Immature potty humor that quickly degenerated into things that you’d read on a Yahoo! article comments section.  DraftKings came into being after the chat box phenomenon had started to fade away.  It’s really no surprise these chat boxes have gone the way of the buffalo, but there are a few smaller sites where they still exist.  All of this was a long introduction into me reading one of these chats the other day and seeing someone whining about “stupid Coors stacks”.  I’m a Coors stacker, it’s what I do.  I try every way I can to get as much exposure to that place as I possibly can on a given night.  For me, it’s a worthwhile gamble and one that pays off more often than not.  It’s not everyone’s bag though, but you have to be aware of the situation.  You can always fade Coors in a  tournament, figuring most people will be on that game.  If Coors is a dud and your guys go off, you should have a nice advantage.  You could go with the flow and stack Coors, or you could just sprinkle in Coors action and pick your spots.  The final option of course, if the Coors stacks really bother you is to just sit those nights out.  No one will think any less of you.  If you are playing tonight, one name I highly discourage fading is Wilin Rosario.  Wilin is a beast with the stick and is superhuman when he’s got the platoon advantage (.325/.360/.623 career slash line).  Toss in the Coors factor and for $3,600 with eligibility at first base or catcher and there’s no excuse for fading Wilin tonight.  Here are a few more fellas you shouldn’t be fading this evening.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 18 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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It’s the 4th of July everybody and life is good. You’re probably spending your day with loved ones grilling, drinking, swimming, and reminding yourself why you hate your cousin Gary. Pretentious prick! Do I really care that you do Andrew W.K’s taxes? Do we always have to listen to “Let’s Get The Party Started” at every July 4th pool party? Oh BTW your wife Cheri propositions me every time we’re alone. What can I say she wants the Lifshitz naknik. Enough about me I mean you, yes you. This in no way bears any resemblance to my life. I don’t even have a cousin Gary! In fact if you’re here reading this then you probably have no friends or family and more than likely own cats or have dead bodies in your basement. It’s cool I’m not going to say anything. So I know the question on everyone’s mind “Ralph you’re rambling what’s the theme this week?” Well it’s the 4th of July. So that’s my theme, 4th of July’s of Lifshitz past. So each tier will include an offbeat story about my Independence Day misadventures. No these misadventures will not feature Will Smith, Bill Pullman, or aliens. Or will they? Week 14 Two Start Pitchers are upon us….

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Yankees outfielder Chris B. Young has been on fire in the past week and Krispie’s monster week culminated in last nights 3-hit performance including a 3-run homer run, his ninth. Ol’ Young has got himself a nine game hitting streak, with two homers, two stolen bases and eight RBIs in the stretch. He’s also managed four straight multi-hit games. Not bad for a guy with a .313 OBP! Ugh. Well, that number actually is bad. Still, Young’s batting .370 with three homers, 10 runs and 10 RBI in June and he’s managed to bring his average up to a respectable .270. The counting stats aren’t that bad for a guy who’s been stuck batting in the bottom of the order most of the year, but the fact that he’s been hitting higher in the order as of late could be a big reason for his recent success. He even led off on Thursday night! His BABIP suggests he may actually be getting a bit lucky, but sometimes, particularly in fantasy, lucky counts for just as many points as good. In deeper leagues, if you’re hurting for an outfielder Chris B. Young is definitely worth a look while he’s hitting all the baseballs. At the very least, he’s a reliable source of power in a good line up and a great park, and at just 10% owned he’s definitely worth a flier while he’s hot.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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Before you accuse Jose Tabata of leaning into a pitch with two outs and Max Scherzer on the brink of a perfect game, let’s take you back to 2009. The then 19-year-old Jose Tabata was with his wife, the 54-year-old, Conchita Alonso Rivera Consuela Charlynn Torres, and she was pregnant. Conchita etc. would tell Jose to lean into her belly to hear the baby, and Jose leaned. At supermarkets, at carnivals, at the car wash, Conchita etc. asked Jose to lean and listen, and he did. Of course, there was no baby in her belly, it was actually a Betsy Wetsy doll that she shoved under her shirt. Later when Conchita etc. was arrested for falsifying a pregnancy and kidnapping a baby for Jose and her to raise as their own, they would meet at the glass partition in prison and she would tell Jose to lean in. Times were good, Jose leaned in. Times got rough, Jose leaned in. So, on Saturday, when the Pirates were one out from having a perfect game thrown against them, Jose did what he always did — he leaned in. After that no hitter, Max Scherzer has a 10.8 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and a 1.76 ERA. So, yeah, he’s a top three starter, if not the best this year, and he is amazing. No kidding; hey, sorta like Tabata and his wife! (There is a lot more truth in this opening paragraph than you’d likely ever imagine. Just Google “Tabata wife” if you don’t believe me. Happy belabored Father’s Day, Tabata!) Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Son of a plumber, the real American dream has returned for another week of two start scrutiny. I’m here to do the dirty work. I drop the bionic elbow on your dome to enlighten you to the two start knowledge that I possess. I’ve seen hard times recently, and it’s due to Rick Flair, Nate Karns, Mike Foltynewicz, and Tom Cruise! You don’t know what hard times are Daddy! Hard times is when the factory workers are out of work and got 4 or 5 kids. Hard times are when the Auto Workers are out of work! Hard times are when a man who’s worked at a company for 30 years gets a watch and gets told a computer can do his job! Hard times Daddy! I’ve been stuck in hard times. Well screw Mike Foltynewicz until he tricks me into believing in him again. We’re back this week and it’s no holds barred we’re taking the folding chairs out of the front row and fighting dirty. We’re going with the theme of 1980’s and early 90’s wrestling. This is pretty much the last time I watched wrestling. They ruined it with all the complex storylines and other non-sense. Remember when it was just sort of some meaningless beef and you got to watch them duke it out on Saturday morning? In my humble opinion it was the best it ever was, but what do I know?

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