We’re almost into mid-September, which means the fantasy season is growing a little long in the tooth. It’s a stressful time for those of us still alive in H2H land — the fantasy baseball playoffs can be a depleting time for both your liquor cabinet and your liver functionality. It doesn’t help, then, that this is the time of the year when managers — especially those of teams out of contention — like to mess around with their starting rotations. I don’t blame them; it makes perfect developmental sense for the White Sox, or any other team, to move to a six-man rotation in order to see what they have in arms like Andre Rienzo or Erik Johnson. But as a weekly leaguer, this sort of rotation shuffling can be maddening if you’re trying to gauge the two-start landscape. This is all to say that now, more than ever, it’s imperative that you check and re-check the probable pitchers prior to locking your weekly lineup. Good luck in the playoffs, my friends.

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

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In the spring of 2013, Astro fans celebrated through the streets of Houston, shooting guns in the air and playing Houston’s own, Mind Playing Tricks On Me and Whitney Houston’s Greatest Hits, because her last name hailed from there. Those fans (all 17 of them) were celebrating the Astros’ National League exodus. “Let my people go, NL!” That’s what they chanted for years. “We need a fresh start like our entire body is covered in deodorant.” That’s what they told each other. Unfortch, no one explained to them that they wouldn’t just be able to play split squad games in their own league, they would have to join the AL. Yesterday, the Sawx destroyed them for 15 runs. Jacoby Ellsbury hit two homers (6 & 7), scored four runs, knocked in three and went 2-for-4. David Ortiz went 4-for-4 with 2 runs, 2 RBIs and one big belly laugh at what A-Rod is going through. Shane Victorino went 3-for-5 with 4 runs and even walked once in honor of Jackie Bradley Jr. Jonny Gomes hit a homer and knocked in four runs and he didn’t even start. This was also a reminder to not go near any Lastro pitcher. A sad, sad reminder. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I think we can all agree that Two-Startapalooza is pretty much mind-blowingly awesome. But as far as paloozas go, let’s be real: our weekly two-start feature takes a backseat to Lollapalooza music festival. Sure, both paloozas have similarities: each attracts crowds in the hundreds of thousands; each is a celebration of profound creativity; each is best experienced while under the influence of booze and/or mind-expanding chemicals. It’s close, but I must admit, Lolla’ is a slightly better event than this blog post. Anyway, I only bring this up because Lollapalooza is happening right now in Grant Park on Chicago’s lakefront. I’m there today. I was there yesterday. I’ll be there tomorrow. Needless to say, my comment activity will be sparse during the PM hours this weekend, but I’ll be around in the AM to address your inquiries. Also, if any of Razzball Nation is headed to Lolla’, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@Scott_Razzball) — I’m always down for havin’ a cold one and talkin’ ball. Now for the two-starters.

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

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In what can only be described as the biggest trade ever made for some Hoes, Bud Norris was traded to the O’s for L.J. Hoes. Hoes ain’t shizz against pitches and tricks! An almost title, “Hoes Go South, Norris Makes O’s Face.” But too gangster for you. You can’t handle such gangster frivolities! You play your tennis at the country club and call your girl and tell her, “Guess what, baby? Houston got some Hoes!” See where that get you. Get you a month straight in the man cave watching pay-per-view Hoes. That’s where it get you. So, Norris goes to Baltimore, and takes his 3.93 ERA with him, replacing the newly-DL’d Jason Hammel. He’s a trifling Bud that can’t get out lefties all that well. I wouldn’t put him at more than match-up capable against weaker righty heavy teams. So, does his fantasy value go up with this trade? Hoes please! Another barely fantasy-relevant starter to move at the trading deadline was Ian Kennedy. Reminds me of the idiom, there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. This also applies for any starter who is struggling. There’s only one place for them. Petco! It’s no surprise that his career numbers are superb in Petco — 2.27 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 48 Ks in 35 2/3 IP. His major problem everywhere is the home run ball and this is negated in a park that is 1025 feet to dead center and has tumbleweeds blowing past a statute of Nate Colbert in left. Also, it certainly — or sointly if you’re reading in a Stooge voice — does not hurt — or hoit — that he was facing the Padres. He could easily be a low-3 ERA pitcher at home. I still wouldn’t start him in road match-ups, but I’d own him in all fantasy leagues for home games. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Tyler Chatwood continued his red hot play last night pitching seven innings, surrendering just six hits, two runs, and walking none while striking out 11 Brewers for his seventh win. He also went 2-for-2 at the plate with 2 RBI because apparently he is Tyler the Run Creator now. How about that headline, you guys? I woke up in the middle of the night and saw it in bright lights. And as much as I kept telling myself it was really, really bad — sometimes these things are too bad to be denied. Back to Tyler Chatwood. Hello there, strikeouts! Have we met? You’re just visiting for the weekend? Oh, that’s too bad. The Ks may be a bit fluky and that Milwaukee line up is inspiring fear in no one these days, but Chatwood’s success over his past few starts can’t be denied. He lowered his ERA to 2.48 and has allowed 2 ER or fewer in his past four starts. He has also managed to notch three wins in those four starts, with the tough luck loss coming after pitching 8.0 innings of one-run ball. He is a great option on the road and is at criminally under 10% owned in RCL. I’d absolutely grab him for his start in Atlanta next week if you need starting pitching help. He cannot be stopped right now! I better go knock on Chat-wood.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball last night:

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You wrote a letter to your leaguemates, but before you sent it to them, you asked me to proofread it but not share it. Too bad, here it is, “Yo, what’s up, snitches?! I have six closers and am sticking it to the rest of the league in their whole bum, then acting that out like Knight from MTV’s The Challenge. I don’t need no one! All I need is Huston Street, Kevin Gregg, Ernesto Frieri, Joaquin Benoit, Brad Ziegler and this chair, I need this chair. I got saves for days! Open up your ‘kitten-playing-with-motherf**king-yarn’ calendar and mark September 28th down for the day when you concede the championship to me. Use your rainbow-colored pencil. Is it okay to use that word? Any the hoo! Rather than recount all of that SAGNOF g’dness, let me take this time to instead ask you if you watched the most recent Top Chef Masters. I’m lonely and looking for friends.” Solid letter, I probably wouldn’t put single quote marks around kitten-playing-with-motherf**king-yarn but it’s fine to send it off as is. The only other problem is you might also lose more than half of your closers in less than a week. This is also the last week when you and your opponents can gain major saves if you’re hurting in that category. On July 31st there could be as many as 10 new closers. At no point from now until October do you have a chance for this much turn over. Guys that could move into the closer role in under a week includes, but is not limited to: Luke Gregerson, Blake Parker, Ryan Webb, James Russell, Antonio Bastardo, Carter Capps, Dale Thayer, John Axford (still even with Henderson taking over the job), Jose Cisnero, Pedro Strop and Antonio Alfonseca, because he has six fingers on each hand and you can’t ever count him out, at least not without removing your pants and a shoe. Granted, guys like Huston Street or Tom Wilhelmsen or Glen Perkins might be traded and stay in the closer role on their new team, but that means someone else would lose their job. Or maybe Huston Street will go to the Yankees and become the 8th inning man and Robertson moves to the 7th. Or maybe Jonathan Papelbon goes to the Tigers and Benoit owners have to call the Ben-wambulance. A lot could happen in the next few days or nothing, but I’d absolutely stash as many middle relievers as I could right now. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the latest Cuban raftee, is set to sign with the Dodgers. Hey, I’m no Quicken magician, but with the money the Dodgers spent on Yasiel Puig and Gonzalez, couldn’t they just have bought the island nation of Cuba and had all of their baseball players? Shoot, for an extra million in designer green camo fatigues, they could have Castro too. “I like the green camo fatigues that Heidi Klum wears in Munich. But no fur hood! If it has fur hood, you Marxist down the price.” That’s Castro consulting with his fashion police. Gonzalez’s repertoire consists of a mid-90′s fastball, changeup, curveball and forkball. Anyone that’s seen him believes he’s major-league ready now, but M.A.G.’s will probably be sent to the minors for at least a few weeks, so it’s doubtful he makes any real impact this year for fantasy. Maybe we’ll see him start two, three or six times in September, depending on how bad the Dodgers need a starter. If nothing else, this signing will give Puig someone to commiserate with on why there’s so much Gulden’s on Cuban sandwiches made here. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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It’s doubtful that Chicago will start singing, ‘Baby, what a big surprise,’ when Garza’s traded. I don’t imagine there will be that many that are left holding their Putz when the Diamondbacks trade for a closer. Every fifteenth rumor you hear between now and July 31st has at least a two percent chance of happening. So, that rumor about how your old lady is sleeping with your mechanic? Still unlikely no matter how many times you tell her, “Quiet, the game is on.” This Buy is about a rumored trade of yours for Yoenis Cespedes that you can make happen. Cespedes was touched on briefly by JayWrong yesterday, which caused Boras to call Razzball HQ and ask that Yoenis stop being touched on now and fo’ever more. I’m here to say I concur — JayWrong shouldn’t touch on people, and I also concur Cespedes is a solid buy low with enough reasons to count on all 100 of Cespedes’s feet. With regards to his BABIP, he’s been getting unlucky. He’s been hacking a bit less, but saying a hitter hacking less is a bad thing is a stretch for even Rubber Boy Daniel Browning Smith. Yoenis has been swinging at less pitches outside of the strike zone, but more aggressive at pitches inside the strike zone. Cespedes is the kind of hitter who could have a huge 2nd half and suddenly be in the MVP conversation as Who. As in, Trout, Miggy and who? The only drawback is Cespedes won that stupid long ball hitting contest, so he might not be as low on the radar as he should be. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy and sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Looking back on the unofficial first half of the fantasy baseball season can be a lot of fun, unless of course you are in dead last, in which case it’s about as much fun as watching your auntie’s cat play with its new Cat’s Meow toy while you eat stale Circus Peanuts. In any event, the gods of SAGNOF have not been as kind to us thus far in 2013, and it shows in the numbers. The total number of steals in the league, 1524, is the lowest it’s been since 2006. In addition, there are only 21 players with 15 or more steals at this point in the season. That’s also the lowest it’s been since 2006. It feels even lower given that just last year there were 28 players with 15+ steals at the break and 30 the year before that. This all means that players who steal 30 bags or more are a little harder to come by, and it’s no sure thing that each fantasy team will have one or two guys that can carry them in steals like in years past. It also means that having a guy like Ben Revere break his foot and lose his season is a much bigger blow to our fantasy squads (mine included) than it used to be. So what do we do if we lost a guy like Revere or missed out on a Jacoby Ellsbury or Everth Cabrera type? If you read my column regularly, you know I’m a big fan of playing the match-ups when it comes to steals, and seizing the opportunity to eke them out whenever possible against teams that are weak against the run. After all, just because steals are down in general, it doesn’t change the fact that they still make up 20% of our offensive points in most leagues.

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Derek Jeter returned and went 1-for-4 with an RBI, run scored and left with a strained quad. I’m not even joking about the injury. The Yankees should just travel with an MRI machine. Didja know 100% of the babies born in the tri-state area between 1992-2013 have a 98.7% chance of having Jeter as their dad? I know, it’s not easy to look at your dad like this, but he’s old. He’s not the same Pops who used to get drunk and tell you to sit in the closet while he hand feed your mother In N Out. This is a different father. This father of yours has the appeal of an old Prado and I’d rather be a suitcase than an old bag like you. In a full season, you might, maybe, possibly get ten homers and ten steals. In less than half a season, your dad could be replaced by, say, Nick Franklin. Mom might think it’s weird, but it’s true. I’d own Jeter if I needed an MI, but if you can use him as a sweetener in a trade then Splenda! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?