If you can remember back a few years, Johnny Cueto 401KO’d Jason LaRue with a kick to his head. When he got up, LaRue couldn’t see straight and needed to retire. Elsewhere, Yordano Ventura (7 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 5 Ks in what might’ve been a spot start) has been honing his fight-picking and ability to be held back by teammates so it doesn’t look too obvious that he wants to be held back. After every game this year, Ventura sat in his hotel room, perfecting his Clubber Lang at the Rocky statue coronation. “Yo, if you want a real man, you come find me!” There was really only man that Ventura admired the league over. One man as diabolical. As lowdown! And now through a trade between the Reds and Royals, Cueto joins Ventura! This is like thunder meeting lightning! Bonnie and Clyde if they were both men! Germany and Italy joining forces to rid the world of non-mustached, non-broad shouldered women! Wonder Twin powers activate in the form of pure evil! So, Cueto’s trade to the Royals obviously doesn’t hurt him. He’ll be on a team that can win games and it’s a much better home stadium, but he also leaves the NL. That makes this feel like a push in value. Right now, his ERA is 2.62. How much lower could it be? Not much is my guess. He’s a 2.50-3.15 ERA pitcher anywhere he is, so that’s what he’ll continue to be. Unless Yordano throws Great Kabuki-style green dust into every hitter’s face when the ump’s back is turned. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The home stretch is upon is us! Head-to-head leagues are juggling for playoff positioning, roto leagues are battled for 0.5 points in WHIP every single day and the rebuild is on for others. Oh, those are just my leagues. As we close in on the final eight weeks of the season an injury at this point — or a stud pitcher or slugger coming back — can tip the scales in many a fantasy leagues.

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I’ve just never been a Matt Moore guy…

Uber-talented Moore has always gotten praise for his clean mechanics and smooth delivery, plus fastball, and solid slider, but it never materialized into good control and solid numbers.  Those horrible, horrible walks…  Moore’s K zone looks like a star chart!

After never ranking him favorably the past few years because of a 4.5 walk rate, yes 4.5, I thought the buzz for him off the DL from TJ recovery was too… buzzy.  I’m at a loss for words I’m so confused!  But I hadn’t seen him pitch since hitting the DL after two starts last year, and maybe a reconstructed elbow can help.  “He’s more machine now, than man!”  Well let’s hope it helps the horrific walk rate!  Here’s how he looked yesterday hosting the Astros, along with ranks for pitchers for the second half:

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I hope everyone had a pleasant, footloose, but not finger-freeing July 4th weekend. I did. In the tradition of our forefathers, specifically Benjamin Franklin, I had an iced cold latte, three whole frankfurters and flew a kite with a key on the string. Also, since this year our country passed the right to gay marriage, I ate those frankfurters in the gayest way possible. *Graphic description of how I ate the hot dogs deleted* Also, on this wonderful holiday where we pretend to be the greatest country in the world, I’m reminded of an ally from the 1700’s when we first got this ship afloat. That country was Germany and their concept of schadenfreude, the enjoyment derived from others’ misery. I’m sorry if you lost Miguel Cabrera for six weeks. Really, I am. *bursting with the schadenfreude giggles* The Tigers say he could return around late-August, which is a bummer. *barely containing myself* Hopefully, he can return and give you a solid four homers and .300 average the rest of the way. Thank God, this schadenfreude concept has no karmic retribution attached to it. *reading that Strasburg is also hurt* NOOOOOOO!!! Can’t I have one nice thing?! Ugh. I’m sorry I laughed at your loss of Miggy, can I have Stressbird back? Please! I can’t, can I? Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Kennys Vargas was demoted to Double-A. Shouldn’t it be Double-Kenny? It’s official, the Twins hate Vargas. They gave him all of about ten days to prove himself this time around. Maybe they just get off on killing Kennys. Oh, well, that’s all I wanted to say in the lede. Nothing else. Just gonna pick my cuticles until I get to that “Anyway, here’s what else” jazz that I always write. Oh, I guess I could mention Miguel Sano is being called up. I buried the lede worse than Kendall Graveman! First Buxton and now Sano, this is the most excitement Minnesota’s seen since Prince was spotted at a Cold Stone Creamery ordering raspberry sorbet, and, without missing a beat, the cashier said, “And if it was warm, you’d order much more,” then high-fived his oblivious co-worker. I just gave you my Miguel Sano fantasy. I wrote it with an 80’s glam Sharpie. I’ll add one thing to that. Grab him right now! He could hit .180 with power or he could hit .250 with power, but, either way, at corner infidel, you do worse, as my Jewish grandmother would say. After saying, “Oy, it’s hot in here.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Hey, you sit your five dollar ass down before I have to make change. It’s two start pitchers, Week 13 edition and we’re all about the immortal Wesley Snipes. Let’s think about this for a minute, this is a man who’s trained in five different disciplines of fighting, a man that revolutionized the flat-top, a man that played not only a hero-vampire but also Nino Brown. I pretty much live my life by Nino Brown quotes from New Jack City. In other words, I’m an awful brother. I also use Mother****** as a noun, verb, and adjective. My neighbors frown on the crack sales 364 days a year, but they love when I hand out turkeys on Thanksgiving. They’re nice folks, and I can’t blame them for their judgments. This sort of behavior is a bit out of place in Audi-driving Suburbia, but it’s my self expression. What’s the old saying? Trap or die? So our theme this week is Wesley Snipes movies because Wesley Snipes is awesome and he should be celebrated for his contributions to the craft.

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Donaldson pulling a Jeter? Shades of Armando Galarraga on a play at first in a perfect game? John Gibbons looking like he’s sucking on a lemon but really he just happened to glimpse Brett Cecil? The eighth was thick with humidity. The tension was buzzing from a few bugs that made their way inside the domed stadium as Marco Estrada went for a perfect game. Unfortunately, Donaldson diving into the stands to make the first out in the 8th, when the announcers said he was “pulling a Jeter,” didn’t stop the infield hit on the very next batter when Logan Forsythe just barely beat it out to first. To misquote that previous sentence, it would be the first time a pulling Jeter had to beat it out. Marco ended the game with 8 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 hits, zero walks and 10 Ks. He’s now allowed three hits in his previous two starts (over 15 2/3 IP). Estrada’s main peccadillo — or ponchadillo, as might be the case with Estrada — is he allows a shizzton of homers and he pitches his home games in Toronto. He’s recently looked untouchable, and I’d stay with the theme and not touch him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I need to redirect some of my anger. Strasburg has ruined a lot of that sun that’s shining in the smoggy sky. Not owning Harper has hung over me like a wet blanket that has a mixture of Rougned Odor and Marcus Semien’s last names. There’s dandelions to be picked and goofy rhymes to chant while jumping rope with a bunch of little black girls if I can just pull myself out of this fantasy funk. You know what I need? A rookie pitcher! Those have never gone wrong before, minus Velasquez, Foltynewicz, Erasmo, Taijuan, Daniel Norris, Aaron Sanchez, that one game where Syndergaard gave up like a zillion runs in less than five innings and Eduardo Rodriguez’s last game. Other than that, nothing wrong with a rookie pitcher! With that said (reversal time!), sounds like Matthew Wisler is being called up by the Braves. Here’s what Prospect Mike has said about him, “Safe and boring, but useful in fantasy. Wisler’s arsenal includes a plus fastball and a plus changeup with good control of both. The lower strikeout numbers and mid-rotation ceiling limit his overall upside, but the low risk and proximity balance it all out. Sorta of like how I balance writing for Razzball with hating Grey.” Aw, c’mon! PM nailed Wisler there. He doesn’t have huge upside or downside, due to solid control. In shallower leagues, I’d wait and see, but in deeper leagues he’s the kind of guy I’d grab immediately. Now, excuse me, I’m going to jump rope. I can read, I can dance, I have a hole in the seat of my pants! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

How do you quantify the pure power of you, yes you, the loyal Razzball Nation commenter?

How about with an 82 ranking as if from nowhere!

I’ve actually seen Nate Karns pitch in AAA, and I remember not being too impressed…  Then again I was balls deep in craft beer and a footlong hot dog with BBQ and slaw on it, so there’s that…

I really haven’t seen too much of Karns this year, but what I have seen heading into yesterday’s start is a pretty good fastball with a solid knucke-curve.  Nothing “blow you away”, but enough to keep hitters honest.  And with a garbage-ish pool of pitchers to stream in a couple of leagues where I’m behind in my innings quota, Karns was my stream of choice against a struggling White Sox offense yesterday.  Boy was I happy with the result!  So I decided to go back and watch this start complete with all of the Pitcher Profile bells and whistles to see if there’s something a little deeper here than just a 10 or 12-team matchup streamer:

Please, blog, may I have some more?