Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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I really wanted to start this post with a quote, something like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, or something like that. I figured that was a great way to offer hope and encouragement regarding the “second half” of the season. Let’s face it, with this whole “seamingly” out of nowhere spike in offense the last two seasons, there’s one inevitable conclusion. Pitching sucks!!! I mean we’ve been holding onto any shred of decency available. Look at Jason Vargas! Why am I ranking Jason Vargas? Does he have some sort of magnificent secret about these new Hi-C joints MLB is calling balls? Why the hell is he so much better than Justin Verlander? I have too many questions! I’m supposed to have answers! Here’s the truth, as if I’ve been lying to you before. There’s maybe 20 matchup proof starters in all of baseball, and then the rest of them you have to be careful with to varying degrees. Now, that’s not necessarily true for points formats, or deeper leagues with quality starts. Or even those with a greater emphasis on counting stats over ratios. But in our RCL formats, or any 5×5 roto with innings or starts limits, you must choose wisely. Around every corner lurks a roofie to your ratios. Just because Jordan Montgomery has been good more often than not, that doesn’t mean I’m up to a level of confidence that I’d start him in Colorado. Nah mean?  Nod along.  If you’re having trouble knowing which starts to avoid, check out Rudy’s Stream-O-Nator. It’s the perfect objective voice on those tough decisions you won’t get in your own head, or from your friends. That is, if you have friends with voices in your head and all. Anyway, be careful out there, and good luck in the second half.

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This is an excerpt of a phone call Razzball intercepted during Sunday’s afternoon games.  Since every state involved is a two-party consent for recording, we cannot reveal who recorded the call, but it rhymes with Trudy Gramble.  Here, let’s listen in:  “Hello, this is the CEO of Super Ball, the world’s hardest, bounciest, craziest, shouldn’t-be-used-as-a-baseballiest ball.  Who is this calling?”  Our Commissioner Rob Manfred disguises his voice so he sounds raspy, “I’m Kathleen Turner.  I was wondering if you would sell me 70,000 Super Balls to not be used for baseball purposes.”  “Body Heat Kathleen Turner?  Not to get all James Lipton, but I am a huge fan of your–”  “Okay, toots…”  Manfred lowers the phone receiver, to his secretary, “Toots?”  Back into the phone, “Um, so don’t make me kill you and blame a different femme fatale.  I need those Super Balls.”  So, yesterday was bonkers for homers, yet again.  I will now list the home runs by guys in just the Astros game:  Yulieski Gurriel (2-for-5, 2 runs) hit his 11th; Jose Altuve (3-for-4, 4 runs, 3 RBIs, hitting .347) hit his 13th; Evan Gattis (2-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs) hit his 8th and Carlos Correa (4-for-5, 5 RBIs) and two homers, his 19th and 20th.  Holy Salami Tom, there’s a crapton of home runs this year.  I have two mixed leagues where I feel like if I’m not getting at least five homers per day, I’m falling behind.  Also, on a pitching front, if I can just maintain a 3.50 ERA, I could come in first for ERA.  By the way, I hope we’re not sued by Our Commissioner Rob Manfred, but something must be done.  Get the Super Balls out of baseball!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Shades of Freddie Freeman… Pedro Strop might want to hire security for his home in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic because bitter Nationals fans are going to be hurling lots of huevos from Trea Turner‘s broken wrist. Nationals fans are an interesting lot to begin with. Many of the people who attend Nationals home games are transplanted fans of other teams who are only in DC temporarily for business or pleasure. I went to a Nationals game once where a woman was reading and knitting the entire time. I don’t think she witnessed a single out. Back on track! Trea! Of course his amazing stats are only told to you AFTER he is set to miss about two months. In June he had 22 stolen bases. 22. By himself. And yes, I did list Trea as a bust in the 2017 Razzball Writers Predictions. But here’s what I wrote to Jay as justification: “Turner has skills—no doubt. But he has less than 1,000 at bats since he entered professional baseball in 2014. He is going to be this year’s Carlos Correa—drafted in Round 1 or 2 and not earning back that cost.” Steals will be there. Runs too. Everything else? Ehhhhhh. Stash or Trash: Stash. Please. Fill In: So there is no replacing 22 stolen bases in a month. But you know that, right? Hell, over the last 30 days there are only 4 players with over 10 stolen bases. So I’m going to recommend one of them: Cameron Maybin (61.9%.) This is more of a shallow league add, but he’s one of the few players that can even give you part of Trea’s stats. Maybin is always a risk to find himself in an issue of Ambulance Chasers, but right now his 24 SB and 49 runs aren’t bad.

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How many of you remember the watershed 1993 film Dazed and Confused? In this coming of age saga, a young righty, with the flowing locks of Sampson himself, embarks on a journey that will change his life forever. It is in that film where we first meet Mike Clevinger. I could go on a lengthy diatribe about the film with the Indians righty supplanted as the protagonist, but I already did that a year and a half ago when I first introduced you to Mr. Clevinger. It’s like I’m watching my kids grow up right before my eyes. Either way Clevinger is long haired and goofy just like Mitch from Dazed and Confused. Not to toot my own horn, but to totally toot my own horn, I called this developing breakout a year ago. The Indians acquired the former 2011 4th rounder from the Angels back in 2014 for pen arm Vinny Pestano. Since then it’s been a classic Cleveland starter story, as the organization focused on bringing Clevinger along first as a pen arm, and now as a starter. With a 14.1% SwStr, and a 28.5% K%, there’s some signs that Clevinger, in a season of disappointing starters, could be a diamond in the rough. Let’s look under the hood, and then go pitch by pitch through his Sunday start vs. the division rival Detroit Tigers.

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Greetings from beautiful Sandestin, FL. I am on vacation for a long holiday weekend, but I am so dedicated to Razznation that I am taking time away from the beach to make sure you still have the information and insight you desire this week.

Before we get started, feel free to ignore Clayton Kershaw. I have no inside information that he might not start twice this week, but it seems that every week that he is on the list Dave Roberts and the Dodgers change things up on us. Going forward, if he is on the list, just assume that he will be removed. If he is not on the list, assume he will be added. Roberts and Co. are determined to tinker with their rotation every week, possibly just to mess with us. Since he is scheduled to start twice as of this writing, I assume that that will no longer be the case by the time you are reading this roughly 18 hours from now.

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Yankees called up their 3B prospect, Miguel Andujar (3-for-4, 4 RBIs, and a steal), to fill-in for DL’d Matt Holliday.  That reminds me of Joaquin Andujar, and now I’m sad.  Gone too soon.  RIP, Joaquin.  “I always thought you’d kill someone before life killed you.”  That’s my eulogy to him.  Any hoo!  I watched some game film on Andujar (while chewing on an unlit cigar, because that’s how scouts do it, right?), and he reminds me of so many Dominican players that take the Roberto Clemente/Vlad Guerrero approach.  Old adage goes:  You can’t walk your way off the island.  We should have a glossary term for these type of hitters.  Please suggest in the comments.  Any hoo, Part 2:  Still Hoo’ing, Andujar is raw, swings at a lot and makes contact, sometimes to his detriment.  He could DH or see time at 3B, but will need to hit to stick.  Could be a deep league power bat if he hits and Headley is benched indefinitely or Holliday stays out a while.  Maybe Andujar will be so lucky that Girardi gets one more wish filled this year and looks at Andujar, saying, “Now, you be the Judge.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In honor of week thirteen of the major league baseball season, I thought I’d brieftly mention the topic of superstition. You always hear how superstitious baseball players are, but I’m starting to think baseball fans, and especially fantasy baseball players, may be just as afflicted. In general, I think of myself as one of the more pragmatic, least superstitious people I know… until it comes to baseball. I KNOW there is no such thing as a jinx, particularly during a baseball game happening hundreds of miles or more away from wherever I happen to be, and yet my behavior would often suggest otherwise. Last week, I actually benched Trevor Story in one league, in an attempt to “get him going” in another, figuring that the minute I hit the reserve button, he’d go off for a couple of home runs that night (spoiler alert: he didn’t).

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Washington rookie outfielder Brian Goodwin played the unsung hero Friday night on a team with many heroes going 3-for-4 and mashing two home runs, including a game-tying solo shot in the seventh inning. If there’s one thing Brian Goodwin’s good for it’s winning. Obvious and bad pun is obvious and bad.  Regardless, Brian also set the stage for the…good win, with a single in the 10th that moved a runner to third and let Bryce Harper do what he does. I’m trying to tell you this doode is clutch, and if he continues to be clutch batting second between Trea Turner and Bryce Harper, he should definitely be on your radar and in Dusty Baker’s daily lineup. Can you imagine being sandwiched between Trea and Bryce? Mmm. Oh, I’m all flustered now. I need a few minutes. Goodwin is slashing .265/.326/.578 with six homers and 15 RBI in 32 games this year, and has been stuck in a platoon for the majority of the season. With Jayson Werth hobbled, Goodwin has been given more opportunity lately to shine and he’s done that with a monster month, slashing .288/.358/.678 with three doubles, six homers and 12 RBI in June. Yes, please! That .678 SLG% is especially powerful. See what I did there? Do you want a nerdy stat–how about his .313 ISO. Does that blow your mind? Because considering the sample size it probably shouldn’t, but sure is fun to look at. The risk with Goodwin is he could be a batting average killer (he hit just .208 in May), but he certainly seems to be seeing the ball well lately hitting .289 with 5 homers in the past week. Goodwin is available everywhere, is batting second in one of the best line ups in baseball, and is one of the hottest little potatoes around. If you need an outfielder with some pop and some upside Brian could be a good add and a good win for your team.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Since it was an afternoon game, Ted and I settled in to watch Max Scherzer vs. the Marlins.  First inning and the slider was working.  2nd, 3rd, 4th innings and the Marlins had no chance.  5th inning and Ted demanded I take him out and play catch with him.

115 degrees in the shade and we’re back in for the 6th inning, and Scherzer hasn’t missed a beat while missing the bats.  Everyone knows everything there is to know about Scherzer.  He is at least the 3rd best starter in baseball, and likely second best, though who’s first?  Sale?  Then Kershaw and Scherzer?  I don’t know, Kershaw’s looked pretty human at times this year.  Sale, Scherzer then Kershaw?  Sounds about right, but need to search for other things to talk about with him.  Hmm…Well, there’s always his android eyes.

Now back for the 7th inning and it’s more no-hitter, and, Jesus Christopher Ramirez, the Nats announcers are a bore.  Let’s go mute for the 8th inning, and Dietrich gets, uh, diet rich of sliders.  Now, Ellis and goodbye no-hitter.  Of course, that was the point Dusty should’ve lifted Scherzer since even the announcers said Scherzer says he doesn’t want to ever throw past 120 pitches.  You guessed it, he went past 120 pitches, and lost the lead, but, once again, a dazzler — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (2 hits), 11 Ks, ERA at 2.09.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?