Going into yesterday’s game, Gio Gonzalez had a 5.85 ERA and in three of four starts he only threw five innings. I saw the fear in your eyes. Nervousness was percolating just below the surface. You were like Mr. Coffee when he was about to lose his virginity. You were expecting some grinds and instead you were just overheating. Steaming so hard you needed a cup to catch the water beneath you. (How long you think I could keep the visual of Mr. Coffee about to lose his virginity going? Three more lines? Do I hear four?) Finally, the heat was too much, the water dripping too fast and everything began to steam. Quickly, you grabbed your little creamer. She usually likes to put the cream in herself, but you’re just gonna splash it all over the place to avoid a mess on your pants. And that’s how coffee became Mr. Coffee. So, today Gio threw an eight-inning, one-hitter with 7 Ks; his only blemish a Votto opposite-field blast. Things looked awry, making dyslexics wary. Luckily, it’s still freakin’ April and you shouldn’t worry so much. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So we come to another week of debauchery known as bullpendom. Yeah, I like to make up words, Dr. Seuss did it and he is considered a genius, me will settle for 700 on my SAT’s and just scraping by. What can I say – I’m a settler minus the funny hat and the flashy yet obnoxious buckle on my shoes. The Red Sox seem to be leading the pack of news this week with Joel Hanrahan being pipped by Andrew Bailey. It’s going to be a non-fluid situation when Joe-L returns as I see him setting up and waiting for Bailey to go on the rocks. It’s not a bad thing to have if you’re in Boston, 2 closers that have the ability to close out games with some sort of success, for fantasy it sucks worse then burning your toaster strudel cause it gets stuck in the toaster. Best part is there is still some of that glaze that you can just free base as a non-essential part of your daily vitamin allowance. Lots more in this week’s episode of bullpen report so keep on reading and click that red button, or gray button for our color impaired people.

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Derek Jeter screams “Ankle!” Yanks scream “Uncle!” Well, you know you can’t spell “My ankle” without Minka Kelly. She couldn’t stop at just Jason Street, could she? Minka used to love his enlarged pro stats. Oh, well, let the haters hate, right, Minka? I hear ya, girl. A’la Clubber Lang, “Let me know if you want a real, mustachioed man!” On a funny somewhat related story, about a year ago I was at Kennedy Airport, right in front of me in line at Starbucks was Minka Kelly. I couldn’t care less about the Yankees, but I know what part to play in what situations to be the most obnoxious. So, with my best heavy New York accent, I said, “You better not break Jeter’s heart like you did to Jason Street.” She looked like she wanted to blow a rape whistle. So, it was announced Pasta Diving Jeter would not be returning until after the All-Star Break. If you draft guys based on the “I’d Do Him” scale, you just got screwed, so this is bittersweet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I wish I was a mathematician or at least had one of those rad looking calculator watches. For now I will remain myself and take random, yet seasoned guesses at this thing that we covet so much, the save. It’s the only position that every person garnering save capability is owned in every league no matter how big or small, which makes it fun. They say all the fun is the chase, I guess that’s why I am bored with so many people tied up in my Gam-Gam’s basement. Digression, segue, punctuation. The Royals, or for better reference, Greg Holland, has figured out his mojo, while all of us hoping for a heated up Kelvin to pounce are reduced to wait for a Holland-days off. I am glad that Holland has shown what we all thought he could be, albeit for one glorious day. Two in a row is a winning streak, so said Lou Brown. So onto the rankings of closers and some of their ‘cuffs. This week’s random weird but true factoid, the Phillies are 13 games into the season and do not have a hold by any pitcher on their team. Put that in your cheese steak and smoke it

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Much like the more ballyhooed Closer Report, the alternate week Bullpen Report covers everything that those dudes who get quality starts don’t. It’s starting again, in case you haven’t noticed, and no, I am not talking about those unfortunate flare-ups that you cover with medicated ointment, bullpens are in flux. So you get a little of the saves, some of the holds, and some of me just ranting. Ugh, the situation for closers is an ugly ever-changing conundrum. This week’s cluster F belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals. Mitchell Boggs goes all Chernobyl on your weekly ERA and just falls apart. Have no fear as Trevor Rosenthal didn’t look much better. Boggs is still the guy you want here, Motte isn’t coming through that door anytime soon and no one else has the label as go to guy in the bullpen yet. So sit tight and just enjoy this closer-coaster with no seat belt. Here’s what I got this week, some sleeper Holds guys with improving, yet slightly arousing situations, and some other run downs on teams’ closer situations.

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An exciting kickoff to the 2013 MLB season. I’m sure  Ken Burns documented it all with black and white photos, mournful fiddle music and the soothing voice of Doris Kearns Goodwin. But, in case you missed it, here’s…

The good: Yu Darvish nearly perfect, 2-homer opener for Bryce Harper,  Michael Morse pretends he’s Hammerin’ Hank and Heidi Watney’s tight black dress.

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Last year, the Buy/Sell brought you such brilliant ideas as “Eric Thames is gonna be a river running through your heart!” and “Brennan Boesch is more like Brennan Bauce.” Buy/Sell, “You know, I don’t point all of your crappy suggestions… A.J. Mass was talking about buying me an acre of land in Kentucky and letting me run around with all of his stolen base draft picks. I may take him up on the offer if you’re not careful.” So, this is the first Buy/Sell of the season. Every Friday there will be a new one. Buy/Sell, “Not if we continue to get along like this. Try me, ‘stache. Try me.” This week’s lede pick is a new fave of mine who might not be worth owning by the end of April in mixed leagues, Jose Fernandez. Here’s an overall note, in this fantasy baseball game that has chosen us, we want to take the risk right now in case someone breaks out. It would be great if we all drafted a team that we can coast to a championship with, but if that’s true, your league isn’t competitive. In any league worth its salt, you need to pepper in some risk. Tuck your head down and go head long into the risk tornado. Fantasy baseballers on the storm, Fantasy baseballers on the storm…Into this blog we are born… Fantasy baseballers on the storm! I’m not saying drop Wainwright after one bad start, but having guys like Jose Fernandez at the end of your staff is much better than guys like Maholm (assuming every one of your other starters isn’t a risky upside gamble). You want guys at the end of your rotation that can do so much more than a 5th or 6th starter, rather than a 5th or 6th starter that is essentially a 5th or 6th starter. As for Fernandez, here’s what I said the other day, “First thing I do when I have a prospect question is search the site to see what Scott, our prospect writer, said. What I found, was a whole Jose Fernandez fantasy. He didn’t stop there, he also talked about him in the Marlins prospect preview post in October. There he said, “Fernandez broke out in 2012, posting a 1.75 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, and a 10.6 K/9 between Low-A and High-A. The 20-year-old has legitimate ace-potential, and should find himself in the top-15 on most prospect lists this offseason. Now, if I were making a top-15 list of Well-Groomed Mustaches, Grey wouldn’t make it. When I blow up his picture 1000% in my laboratory, I can see cheese microbes.” Wow, Scott has a laboratory? That’s awesome! So, the Marlins are an interesting beast. They sell off all of their pieces, but they promote within quickly. After watching that Showtime series last year about the Marlins. I’m 50/50 on whether they even know about the arbitration clock. Within their minor league system, they’re run like, “We gotta make it to the playoffs this year!” From the major league level, they’re run like, “Let’s make sure we ship in our concession stands’ Cracker Jack from Chile because it’s four-hundredths of a cent cheaper. They pop their corn in yak oil.” I’d absolutely grab Jose Fernandez in all leagues. He has the chance to be lights out and could go 160 innings. He has the stuff that could make him a top ten starter in all of baseball within a year. For this year, I’ll give him the line of: 7-8/3.74/1.31/120 in 130 innings. Absolutely can be better. And worse. That’s the rookie nookie blessing and curse.” And that’s me quoting me! A lot of people commented about his lack of experience. He hasn’t thrown above High-A. Or as he calls it now, Bye-A. That shouldn’t matter. His stuff will play anywhere. He hits mid-90′s with a plus change and curve. Does it matter that a guy is 20 years old or 30 years old with his stuff? Chances are a pitcher is more likely to have that stuff at 20 with less miles on his arm. Fernandez will need to be lucky to win 10 games this year, but he could get a shizzload of Ks and have decent ratios. If he flames out, then you drop him for the next hot starter. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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He’ll make you feel good and bad and happy and sad. But mostly just sad. And mad. And glad…you don’t own him. I’m talking, of course, of Jose Valverde. Motown just can’t resist the temptations of signing Papa Grande. Smokey just went over all the fantasy baseball closers. There’s $12 Salads. There’s Donkeycorns. There’s Brain Freezes. There should be another category underneath the Brain Freezes for Valverde: Tossed Salad That Gives You Botulism. He seems like a great idea. Why do you need a side of rigatoni when you’re having lasagna for dinner? It makes sense to get the side salad. Go with the tossed salad. Unfortunately, the tossed salad was prepared in 2007 and is piled in the corner of the kitchen holding the employee’s bathroom door open because Brian lost the key. Once in a while Brian also forgets to stock the bathroom with toilet paper, so the iceberg lettuce doubles its duties, so to speak. That’s Valverde. There’s so many reasons to not pick him up, but let’s stick with the two most important ones: 1) He wasn’t good last year when he had the job. 2) Detroit even replaced him when games really mattered. 3) I said let’s stick with two reasons so why would you even mention 3? I wish I could sit here — and I am sitting, in a Barclay Lounger, a matter of fact — and tell you the signing of Valverde means the Detroit shituation has become crystal clear now. That, now, Valverde will close games. Yeah, he might get shoved into the closer role, but closing games is another issue. He was signed to a minor league contract. He’ll now take anywhere from two to four weeks to get ready, then the Tigers will either call him up or release him. I’d put his chances to get saves within a month at 35%. There’s still Benoit, Coke, Dotel and Al Al’etc who could take the job and run with it in the mean’s while. After seeing Dotel enter the game in the 6th yesterday, there’s no telling what will happen. Someone get close to Leyland’s cigarette pack and check to see if there’s a warning that reads, “Caution: May Cause Smoker To Use The Wrong Man In The 9th Inning.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy baseball:

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It’s the first week of the season and there is really only one question as we enter the first week of fantasy SAGNOF-ville. What in the name of Brian Boitano are the Tigers doing with the closer situation. Well I liken it to a drug cartel, 3 Latinos and some coke, with some equal distribution until someone gets too big for their britches and knocks everyone else off. I like a good even mix of Al-Al, Benoit, Dotel and Coke to all get some run based on the situation and it being too early for Leyland to cash in his Marlboro miles for that new kayak. So with the first post of my inauguration, I am starting from scratch and the rankings start with this post so no fancy pluses or minuses until the next post. I will also try and alternate between closers and Holds guys for my weekly posts.

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