I said in my last post I wanted to start off my articles with small discussions about this common game we play that bonds us. The people demanded, I deliver. Today, I want to talk about awareness. Being an aware fantasy manager. This means having some sense of what’s going on in your league, how the other managers are operating and how your general strategy compares.

Some of you, I’d bet, run your team like a horse wearing blinders during a race. While not always bad in horseracing, I would say this is decidedly a bad thing for a fantasy baseballer with title aspirations. This is because how you should optimally run your team is directly affected by how others are running theirs.

Right now, right this very instant, I encourage you to check out every roster in your league if you haven’t recently. At least the competitive ones. Indulge in a passing glance. I guarantee you’ll learn something that you will find interesting and in some way help you make better lineup decisions.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

The story of Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto is the Tale of Two Reds.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times to have Dusty Baker as a manager. It was the age of the possibility, with two pitchers on the same team going after the Cy Young every year. It was the age of those two hurlers sharing an apartment and duking it out on PlayStation. It was the epoch of mid-90s fastballs, it was the epoch of a Cincinnati team that never made it, it was the season of 2008… It was the season of throwing way too many pitches, but it was the spring of hope …

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If any good can come from Joey Votto going to the DL with a strained quad, at least he didn’t try to play this weekend and have a set back. Well, there’s other good that can come of it. We can be thankful for our own health. Actually, that’s BS, I’d give my quad to have a healthy Votto. I don’t need my quad to type up my fantasy baseball ‘pertness. I got acumen for days! You know what a smart Indian chef uses? Acumen. Take it, Highlights magazine, it’s yours! Fortch, Votto sounds like he should be back in the minimum fifteen days. Here’s hoping, I got hard-hit singles I need hit! In tangentially related news, Reds manager, Bryan Price, said Jay Bruce would return “very, very soon,” then he was activated from the DL. I’d go as far as saying that was very, very, very soon. Bryan Price added “Very, very soon,” I will buy a thesaurus. That’s a very, very good idea! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I mustache you a question, when you drafted, were you Axfording a hard time from your closer? Then you got it. John Axford finally was removed from the closer role. Francona said, “I’ve seen crap before, but Assford demonstrated a whole new level of excrement.” Or something to that effect. I’m not one for details. Axford was replaced by the committee of author Bryan Shaw, Nick at Nite star Cody Allen and The RZE. That’s also the order I’d pick them up. There’s prolly no reason to mess with The RZE, especially after he was treated like Jodie Foster in The Accused yesterday. Speaking of The RZE, Method Man and Raekwon forgot one way to torture their opponents when they talk about rusty screwdrivers and whatnot. “I’ll hack your fantasy team and pick up John Axford and leave him in your active lineup and let him keep feeding you terrible stats, and feeding you, and feeding you and feeding you.” Now, that’s gangster. There’s a good chance Axford never sees another save this year. Collective wisdom says Cody Allen will be the closer, but collective wisdom also said Obama was going to make a difference. Yesterday, the Indians set up the game so Shaw would be the closer, whereas Allen’s one save came when Axford was garbage and Shaw had already been used. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cameron Maybin has been one of the most frustrating and intriguing players to watch over the last eight years. After flying through Detroit’s system just under two years, he made his first appearance in 2007 with lackluster results. Following that 2007 season, he was the centerpiece, along with Andrew Miller, in the Miguel Cabrera deal between the Marlins and the Tigers. He opened the 2008 season with the Marlins AA team and put together his best season to date, when in 459 AB’s, he gave us a line of 73/13/49/21/.277. He followed that with a September call up where he stole 4 bags and scored 9 runs in 32 PA’s. I remember being disappointed in 2009, when after that great call-up, he was set to start the year in AAA and we all had to wait to add him when he got the call. At the time I didn’t know SAGNOF yet, but I was playing it. Always searching for the cheap SB’s or anyone playing against Chris Young when he was on the Padres. For those that forgot, in 2006 and 2007, Chris Young gave up 41 and 44 SB’s respectively, which averaged out to about one every four innings. YIKES! Sorry, back to Maybin. After that, it was just one long roller coaster of solid minor league performance followed by MLB disappointment until a trade that put him in a San Diego uniform, with a chance to start over.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

When did pitchers become such complete morons?

Michael Pineda’s pine tar party is way old news now, but let’s just go back and revisit what was truly dumb about it: It’s not that he tried to use pine tar, it’s that he tried to hide it on his neck!

Last week’s dummy was Matt Cain. Apparently, he read some of the scouting reports that said his 2013 was a tale of two-halves, which might have given him the idea to make a sandwich in the Giants’ clubhouse before the team’s game last Tuesday against the Padres. Whoops! Cain sliced his index finger instead of a tomato, or whatever, and had to be scratched. It’s not dumb that Cain wanted to have a sandwich on game day. It’s idiotic that he had to make one himself. Don’t they bring in catering before the game? Why are they making their own sandwiches? Aren’t these guys pampered millionaires?

There is an actual fantasy point here. What made Cain’s first half of 2013 so rough is that he was giving up dongs despite his ability to keep the ball in the yard throughout his career. This year he’s yielded five homers, which is up among the league leaders, but not horrid. The sandwich debacle hurts because Cain needed to bounce back strong after a poop-fest in Colorado that followed two quality starts in losses.

The good news is he has two starts in pitcher friendly parks this week (PNC Park and Dodger Stadium). The bad news is that damn cut kept opening up last week when Cain tried to throw. What if it flies open in Pittsburgh and someone mistakes the blood for ketchup and slathers it on their Primanti Bros. sandwich?

Dumber things have happened. Like, say, messing around with a knife before you start a major league game …

… and some of these two-start pitcher rankings. Enjoy!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Carlos Carrasco was bumped from the rotation. Do I smell a 400-foot, long-tossing fool from Columbus, Ohio that has a rap group that plays to sell-out shows in the furnished basement of his parents’ house? Trevor Bauer, your time is near. I said that last line in a Darth Vader voice. Trevor, I am your father. I said that in the voice of someone who has a son named Trevor. Am I confusing you? How about now? Trevor Bauer may have overcome his past WHIPping post issues and could be usable in all mixed leagues. They worked with Trevor in Triple-A. They taught him to pitch from the rubber instead of short center. I would speculate on him, as I said in Friday’s Buy column, I wouldn’t go and drop anyone too crazy valuable. Josh Tomlin may instead be called up to replace Carrasco. Tomlin can’t pitch out of the bullpen because it takes him like 2 innings to get out of his oversized chair. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Weekends are great reminders. So are Mondays. Nearly 50 baseball games through the weekend compete with the number of beers you consume. Lots of baseball is awesome. Not working is phenomenal. Monday you pay. The schedule shrivels and shrinks and the empty bottles come looking for penance as you feign typing in your cubicle. Hope you got some rest for Tuesday cuz a full slate of games returns. Opportunity strikes those who shop wisely. Clip your coupons ya’ll cuz it’s time to eat like DraftKings. We got some nice picks for you today. The Stream-O-Nator and HitterTron are fired up. Stacks galore today. Take a looksee and then get your DraftKings account situated. It’s time to make some money.

Unless you’re an actual Draft King you gotta pony some bucks for a pitcher. There’s two hugely advantageous matchups for two of the best pitchers over the past 12 months. Jose Fernandez and Zach Greinke are absolutely killing it right now. My money is on Fernandez to put up the best line tomorrow, but Greinke has done hardly anything wrong this year and he tends to contribute to his own Ws with the bat. $11,600 for Jo-Fer or $11,000 Greinke. Rest of spending is frugal:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

For some reason, I’m cool with the cat-and-mouse game of pitchers hiding sandpaper and pine tar, and I kind of like umpire errors. They’re quirks that are part of the DNA of the game, like grabbing your balls and lighting your teammate’s feet on fire. Do we need new rules for ball grabbing and pyromaniacs with foot fetishes? I didn’t think so.

And while I love home plate collisions as much as the next tobacco-spewing, pot-bellied third base coach, baseball done good by following in the footsteps of the NFL and NBA and addressing concussions.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Funny that Mark Trumbo has a stress fracture in his foot, because I now have a stress fracture in my stress-bearing frontal lobe. “You wanna remember your anniversary with the Cougar or Mark Trumbo’s recovery timetable?” Shut up, frontal lobe, I hate you! I wish you were dead! *wavy lines* Hey, I have no frontal lobe anymore. Cool, I really like this episode of The Big Bang Theory. They are a gang of funny people! I wish Slystevesr Stallone would do more movies. He’s so awesome. Slvester? Why is there a red line under that? Damn, I can’t spell my favorite movie star’s name without my frontal lobe! *wavy lines* Okay, I’m glad I have a frontal lobe, but not glad I have Mark Trumbo on multiple deep league teams. Wah, wah, wah, that’s the sound of my sad Trumbone. This could mean more playing time for Tony Campana — SAGNOF! — or steady playing time for Cody Ross — um, AGNOF!, I guess. Last time Trumbo had a stress fracture — how many stress fractures does this guy have? — he was laid up for close to six months. Yay. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?