Alright Head-to-Headers and Weekly League players. This is more than likely the most important week of your season. You’re either kicking off the first round of playoff match-ups or you’re grinding out the last week trying to get that ever elusive playoff birth. Not to worry my peeps, the Legendary Lifshitz is back and ready to drop some two start pitcher science on y’all. In fact I’ll be taking over as your captain from here on out and into 2015. That’s right! I’m your 2015 Two Start Huckleberry! Think of me as the top prospect getting called up for roster expansions with an eye on the starting job next year. You know like Xander Bogaerts but less of a disappointment. Unless you’re my third grade teacher Ms. Schultz. Then I’m more of a disappointment. What can I say the women had high hopes.

As for the roster of Double dippers, it’s not bad. Lots of good streamers and ton of middle of the road options. I’ll try and focus a little more on the arms with lower ownership levels, knowing those are the guys you’ll be looking to for the extra counting stats to put you over the top. This is one of the most fun times to be a fantasy baseball manager. This is for those digging through the wavier wire looking for that streamer to get you into the dance, or that spot starter to help you lock down that swing category to get you into the next round of the playoffs, or even the roto owner looking to capitalize on the less savvy owners who hit their innings limits this week. May you use this as your guide good sirs! Unless you’re in a league with me, then I hope all your pitchers get shelled. Sorry but I’m in it to win it no matter the cost!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was growing up, we had a hutch. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what piece of furniture it was that my grandparents used to call a hutch. So, like a child of the naughts, I Googled it. On Wikipedia, it says a hutch is where one prepares an evening tipple. Let me just say, I don’t remember anyone in Jersey ever preparing an evening tipple. An evening Sloppy Joe? Sure. An evening ‘bang on the side of the TV so the picture would come in?’ Yup. An evening ‘curse at the neighbors?’ Definitely! An evening tipple? Not in my Jersey. But, for the sake of argument, let’s all pour ourselves an evening tipple for Drew Hutchison. Last night, he went 8 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hit, 1 Walk and 8 Ks. See, nothing to it. The only mistake yesterday was a long ball surrendered to Chris Davis (now has back-to-back games with ding-shots). As I said when Hutchison was called up, he could be as great as any pitcher to come up this year. Sadly, it may not be this year that he is great. It’s the pickle that is young pitchers. I would own him, shoot, I’d even have a tipple with him, but I wouldn’t fully trust him until he has a longer track record. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know when Shin-Soo Choo (2-for-4, 2 runs and his 10th homer) is hitting homers there’s a Dong Party going on. Dong Party is also my lead single off my album, “Who Let In All These Guys?” The CD cover had me dressed like a sailor, begrudgingly hoisting a man for a keg stand. None of this is ringing a bell? That’s weird, but it did perform better in Asia than here. Choo hadn’t homered since July 4th and only has 4 homers since May 22nd and is hitting .238. Can we say bust? If you can’t, you might want to see a speech therapist. Also joining the Dong Party was J.P. Arencibia (3-for-5, 4 RBIs and his 7th homer). That Arencibia is one spicy meatball! You know what one meatball said to another meatball? What’s up, metaball? What? No good? Okay, I won’t submit it to Highlights. Arencibia has 4 homers in the last eleven games, and has been known to go on a dong run. For those of you who just found us today Googling “dong run.” We won’t judge you here. Next up, for the Dong Party was Robinson Crusoe. He’s got a novel idea. It’s about a shipwrecking. Quite the yarn! Chirinos (3-for-5, 3 runs and two homers) has 11 homers on the year, and I’ve enjoyed owning him in a few two-catcher leagues, but he’s hitting .237 and I wouldn’t get too excited, especially not while you’re at a Dong Party. Finally, arriving at the Dong Party with a homer in the first inning was Adrian Beltre (1-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 16th homer). Getting a bangfizzle at a Dong Party is such a bummer. By the by, Such A Bummer was my follow-up single. Tell me if you want the Sound Cloud link. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I love when I tell you to pick up a player and he comes up days later. It makes me smile, and not one of those weird Japanese emoji smiles, but a full-faced grin. So, Andrew Heaney, you’re already okay in my book, even if that book is called, “Rookie Pitchers Will Fill You With Enthusiasm Until They Actually Pitch For Your Fantasy Team.” If you missed my Andrew Heaney fantasy with Friday’s Buy, where were you? Playing Patty Cake without your hands on the dance floor to Jason Derulo’s Wiggle song? Good story, brah. You should turn that into a novella. I’m giggling with excitement for Heaney like I’m Lisa Simpson, only instead of hehe I’m going HeHeaney. Pitching his home games in Crayola Canyon won’t hurt him, and the NL East is filled with a bunch of sad, sad hitting teams. Didja know the Marlins are the best NL East hitting team, and it’s not close? Fact! The Braves, Phillies, Nats and Mets could hold a two week round robin tournament and score less runs than goals scored in the World Cup. I went over the dangers of rookie pitchers in my Friday Buy, and what Heaney’s been doing this year in the minors. It’s all there. I will say now he should be owned in every league and is capable of winning the NL Rookie of the Year in only a little over a half a season. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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

I did some soul-searching math the other day, and I determined that 54 percent of the time, I’m right every time. But that benchmark of psychic-level foresight seems to no longer be reachable in these turbulent times. Although a few recent stumbles have me questioning myself a bit lately, there are some things I do know for sure. Taking a page out of Jimmy Fallon’s playbook, I give you my “True Facts of Truth” for the 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season:

1) Something (Bigger crackdown on P.E.D.’s? Climate change? More tightly wound balls?) has sapped the power out of guys who used to have power. Robinson Cano, Billy Butler, Jedd Gyorko and Evan Longoria are among those who have experienced major power outages.

2) Roughly 32 percent of all adult males get excited when they see Matt Adams rub a bat between his moobs, but only 30 percent will admit to it (Cards’ fans).

3) Something (Bigger crackdown on P.E.D.’s? Climate change? Less tightly wound balls?) and not something else (kids throwing curveballs too early) has made Dr. James Andrews and very busy man and caused carpel tunnel issues for whoever types up the disabled list section of the transactions that run in newspaper sports sections.

4) The “R.A.” in R.A. Dickey stands for “Really Acting”.

5) Guys who were aces heading into the season (Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, Gerrit Cole, Gio Gonzalez, Homer Bailey) are not aces in 2014, and therefore not automatic green lights as two-start pitchers.

6) Guys who were not aces heading into the season (Johnny Cueto, Dallas Keuchel, Phil Hughes, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle, Josh Beckett) are pitching like aces and becoming dang near must-starts as two-start pitchers.

7) In cricket, the game of pepper is called “circle jerk.”

8) When in doubt, go with the Stream-O-Nator.

9) If you’re still not sold, look at a dude’s K/BB per game ratio.

10) Ronald Belisario is actually 61 years old.

Maybe you saw something in the list you can use and apply to the rankings below. Or maybe you saw some things that have you questioning the future of the human race. Regardless, let the Two-Startapalooza begin!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I know, I know.  I promised everyone Dallas Keuchel, but he’s pitching tonight!  His last start was so long ago that Jose Abreu still seemed like a good guy to trade for if someone wasn’t selling too high (ack!).  So long ago that Jay Z seemed to still love his little sister-in-law!

But do not fret, I promise unless there’s a Noah-type monsoon that floods out four games, that Keuchel will be next week on his weekend start.

So in my despair when I saw Keuchel was tonight and not yesterday, I went to Twitter for some ideas and got a great one for Ryan Vogelsong.  I gotta admit – I love Vogelsong.  Helped carry me to titles in both 2011 and 2012 where he stayed undervalued for an entire 2-year stretch.  Pretty hard to do.  But 2013 was a disaster with hitters bashing him at a .299 clip, suffered a 5.73 ERA, and I guess the more appropriate adjective use of “suffer” would be for his broken hand on a comebacker.  It was in a 5-inning scoreless game too!  Talk about the worst timing, right whence he was turning it around.

In 2012, everyone ignored Vogelsong because he started the year on the DL and I think he missed all of one start.  Noobs!  To ignore him (like I obviously did) based on a terrible 2013 for a 36-year-old pitcher I think is more logical.  But he’s got his velocity back up to 2012 levels, dropped the line drive rate, and has four gems in his last five starts.  Indeed, it felt only logical to break down his start yesterday against the Marlins, and if he can indeed make another under-the-radar lasting impact on fantasy teams in 2014:

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.

Welcome to the “Wacky World of Sports!” I’m your host, Wax Winkingdale. This week we’ve got some weird, wild stuff for you. First up we’re catching up with a bit of silly from last month, when Andrew Cashner played left field for one batter in an extra-inning game for no real reason at all. Whoa, that Bud Black is one crazy guy! And really smart too. Much smarter than Tony LaRussa. [Ed. Note -- With less drunk driving to boot!]

Next is more madcap fun from San Diego, where a dinosaur threw out the first pitch before a game last Wednesday against the Royals. And no it wasn’t Steve Garvey! So who was the catcher for this zany occasion? Why it was the Swinging Friar, the team’s mascot. And oh look, the baby T-Rex is on the attack – he heard Friar and got the wrong idea!

Dino

Perhaps the weirdest story of the week comes to us from Toronto, where fantasy experts continue to disrespect a pitcher with a 6-1 record, 1.91 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Regression, they INSIST, is coming for Mark Buehrle as certain as winter is coming for Jon Snow and everyone else in the Seven Kingdoms. One writer said this is because Buehrle is lucky, noting, among other things, his small Home Run to Fly Ball ratio, favorable FIP (Field Independent Pitching) rate and weak K/9 rate. So Buehrle is lucky because he gave up fly balls and not home runs? There’s no skill in that? Guess he was lucky when he threw a perfect game too. And, OKAY, Buehrle doesn’t get a ton of strike outs, and I guess good things are happening when balls that he throws are hit, and that maybe those good things won’t continue happening if balls continue to be hit and not missed by batters. Given all that, by the FIP measurement Buehrle’s ERA would be more in the All-Star zone (low 3’s) and not exactly Cy Young territory (under 2). I don’t think this did the best job of illustrating his point. I’m not really sure how much stock I put in something that looks like this anyway: “FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant.” Sounds like Mr. Kowalski’s boring-ass algebra class, not analysis of a sport. There’s a lot of writers a lot smarter than me who use these numbers to make valid points. There’s even more who wank off to print outs of these formulas in the same way that White Goodman rubs one out with a slice of pizza. Here’s my analysis: Buehrle has been excellent, and even though his track record indicates that this isn’t normal, it’s also very possible that he will have the career year the Blue Jays thought he was going to have when they splurged on free agents before the 2013 season. Or at least a career first half. I think we will know which way this is going to go after this week, as Buehrle draws the Angels at home and a trip to the gauntlet in Arlington.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Unless you followed the career of boxer Brandon Burke, or are a connoisseur of German speed porn, you’re probably not used to seeing this many guys go down so soon.

Injuries to baseball players have become a national epidemic, especially among frontline pitchers.  In just a few short months, we’ve seen players like Kris Medlen, Patrick Corbin, Bobby Parnell, Jarrod Parker and (most likely) Matt Moore require Tommy John surgery.

While those pitchers are done for the season (and maybe even parts of 2015), there are in fact some players returning from various ailments who are waiting patiently to be scooped up off your fantasy baseball league’s waiver wire.

The “DL stash” is a time-honored tradition that all fantasy baseball champions employ.  Last week, I went over the hitters who are/were residing on the disabled list, and this week I’ll be covering the guys throwing the balls to them.  If you have an open DL spot, or spots, in your league, it’s imperative that you use them.

You won’t see me suggesting guys like Cole Hamels or Mike Minor, because something tells me that you have more cojones than to play in a league so lacking in competition that they would still be available.  Rather, I will highlight some pitchers more suited for deeper leagues, as well as NL- and AL-only leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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

Matt Moore is a bust,” fantasy expert Cocker Cockleysworth says. “He got lit up in Spring Training and his walks are way up. Great arm, bad command.”

“Now wait a second,” fantasy analyst Roger Dingleberry says. “This is the same Matt Moore who was an All-Star in 2013 and was so close to Cy Young he got himself a peep show. He went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA and 143 Ks in 150 innings.”

And so the debate raged on all the way up through the 2014 fantasy draft, where owners got the gas face if they drafted Moore too high, while others were quite pleased to have him fall in their laps later than expected. The war of words kicked up a notch. It got heated. Someone got killed with a trident.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lots of people tried to explain to me why you don’t slide into first base. I still don’t get it, so apparently I’m dense. Is 1st base lifted higher than other bases? Are there Lilliputians standing by first base with mini hammers? Is there a mini MC Hammer there singing U Can’t Touch This which is just so bizarre it screws you up and you hurt yourself? I get that it slows you down, so there’s no point to doing it. I understand that sprinters don’t slide into the finish line. I’ve heard that from countless announcers. I do kinda wish in the next Summer Olympics a sprinter would slide into the finish line just so announcers would stop saying it. I still don’t understand why people invariably get hurt doing it. Josh Hamilton for one. He’s out for 6-8 weeks with thumb surgery. He should’ve just had Ryan Braun look at it, he can cure thumbs just by brining them in vinegar. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?