I’ll be up front and honest from the jump. This is a post designed to do one thing, and one thing only. That’s share the pain of not getting what I wanted at the toy store between the ages of 0-8. My ultimate goal today is to make my parents feel so awful about what I was deprived of as a child. That they feel motivated to hit E-Bay and bid on some sweet, sweet nostalgia toys. You know, stuff I can play with after I put my kids to bed, around the time I usually begin binge drinking, or ignoring my wife on the couch. What I like to affectionately call “Grown man shizz”. But seriously didn’t we all have that awesome toy we desired that we never got, because our parents just wouldn’t buy them for us? My Mom was a teacher and always had this big thing about not buying toys that would kill my sister and me’s “creativity”. Whatever that means…. Let’s just say my parents set the trend for the pretentious I’m better than you parent shaming that’s so popular amongst the social media mommy bunch. You know the types, they’re the people on your news feed always sharing toy and stroller recalls, and anti-GMO posts about Kraft Mac & Cheese. Hey I get it, you want what’s best for your kids, but you’re nuts if you think at 18 they won’t be crushing EasyMac at 3am on a dorm room couch after a night of drinking like the rest of us. It’s just the natural way of things toots! Any the who, here we are week 22 or da deuce deuce as I likes to calls it. 22 weeks of two start pitching and we’re still here looking to get you into the playoffs or the next round if you so choose. So without further ado let’s whine about toys I didn’t get and discuss two start pitchers for week 22.

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*swirls a glass, takes a gulp. spits it back in a bucket*  “That’s vintage Justin Verlander,” said Kate Upton.  “Okay, this might sound gross, but can you spit into my mouth?”  That’s you getting up the nerve to say something to Kate Upton.  I just thought of a moneymaking idea for Shark Tank!  You stand outside of Comerica Park with a cardboard cutout of a naked Verlander and have people pay $10 to take a picture with him, pretending to be Kate Upton.  Oh, and no, this post isn’t an attempt to Bleacher Report up Google’s rankings by mentioning Verlander and Upton repeatedly, though it does seem that way…Verlander/Upton, Verlander/Upton and Verlander/Upten for the illiterates.  So, Verlander did look magnificent yesterday until the 8th inning when he began to tire, ending up with a one hitter –> 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (1 Hit), 9 Ks with an ERA at 3.45.  Big Magoo captured Verlander’s upside about two weeks ago with this post.  Worth reading, but the key part (cause I know, y’all can only read so much), “Since the All-Star break, Verlander’s 7.25 K/BB ratio is the 5th highest among qualified starting pitchers, and his 1.1 BB/9 is the 6th lowest.  He shares the same swinging strike rate (12.1%) as Jake Arrieta and Gerrit Cole over that span as well.  Now, excuse me as I go drain the weasel on a picture of Grey.”  Hey, wait a minute!  I didn’t remember that last part.  So, if Verlander is out there in your league, the one-hitter yesterday doesn’t seem to be a hirame.  Sorry, I just had sushi.  It’s not a fluke.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Sometimes I feel like Lisa Simpson when she gets the Linguo doll and Homer attempts to make it drink beer. The line from that episode — Trilogy of Error — that seems to haunt my fantasy teams is “This is why I can’t have nice things!” After trading for Jose Fernandez in a keeper league just days ago, once again I’m forced to acknowledge said quote.

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Luis Severino will be called up to face the Red Sox on Wednesday and presumably will stay in the rotation for the busted, no-candy-giving Pineda. I say presumably, because can we really be sure about anything other than smart stuff coming from my brain, but not being able to come up with a synonym for stuff? It’s rhetorical, don’t rack your brain custard. Severino’s minor league numbers are eye-popping like John Lithgow in The Twilight Zone: The Movie (not a dated reference at all!). In Double-A, a 11.4 K/9 and a 1.91 ERA in Triple-A. Yup, I’m like a migrant worker cherrypicking stats, but I’d gamble on Severino in all leagues for upside. He looks like he might be the 2nd coming of wonderful with a splash of yummystiltskin. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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I continue to standby the fact that spending the most money on pitchers is the smartest strategy in DraftKings. It’s not necessarily the safest, because your pricey pitcher could get lit up on any given day. It’s no secret that DraftKings has priced pitchers higher than any other position. It pretty much forces you to pay the price for a pitcher, unless you catch one on a day where a highly touted prospect gets his first opportunity in the big leagues. At this point, I’m sure we’ve all tried different strategies, and got various results. Clayton Kershaw is $14,000 today. That number is correct, and not an error. At first glance, I wasn’t sure how anyone would fit Kershaw into their lineup at this price, but he’s back to being the dominant pitcher like last year. He’s had 9 straight Quality Starts, and 87 strikeouts during that streak. I might be one of few to pick Kershaw in a big ‘Guaranteed’ entry, as it is very easy to scroll down past the most expensive player. Kershaw and the Dodgers are on the road against the Nationals, which should shy away your fantasy opponents.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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In case you missed it, the All-Star break is upon us! As the (sort of) halfway point in the season, it’s time for teams to either go for broke or build towards next season. Some players have given owners reason to rebuild perhaps due to injuries or ineffectiveness, however not all is lost! Count on the following guys to regain some of their value in the final months.

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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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Yesterday, Carlos Gomez went 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and his 8th and 9th homers. Only took until the 87th game of the year for a big game. Maybe I’m a goofy chicken. Maybe I’m a guy that puts feety pajamas on over his head. Maybe I walk into a Subway and ask a sandwich artist, “Do you smell onion?” Maybe I stare at people playing Jenga and try to move the pieces with telekinesis. Maybe I pronounce the D in Django. Maybe I call diner waitresses “Sweetheart” and old guys “Sonny.” Maybe I could be wrong, but — here it comes, Razzball nation — I wouldn’t be shocked by a huge 2nd half from Gomez. Can’t be much worse than his 1st half, could it? Don’t answer. Let’s hold hands and ruminate. Figuratively! Let go of my hand! Last year, his 2nd half was much worse than his 1st half and in 2013 it wasn’t that different, so there’s nothing here historically. What Gomez does have is a track record that had him drafted in the first round in most leagues, and showing next to nothing so far. His ground balls are up (not literally) and his fly balls are down (literally) and he’s making lousy contact. Again, there’s no reason to think he bounces back, but he was nursing injuries in the 1st half, and hopefully he stays healthy. If you have to take a hard way bet and can get him cheap enough, I could see it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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Geez, what is it about Steven Matz?!

The puns have been outpouring faster than illogical movies by Christopher Nolan.  Maybe it’s because he pitches for the Metz?  I don’t know!

I’ve been… well, naive to not rank Matz to this point.  Even with my standing concerns coming into his debut, he likely should’ve been ranked the last few weeks.  I thought it would be at least July until he was up, and I questioned how many innings he’d really get through in the Majors.  His peak is 140.2 IP last year across high-A and double-A, and he entered the Majors at 90.1 innings before yesterday’s debut.  Innings concerns are a big question mark after his career started with major elbow issues (TJ and complications).

And after that debut with 4 RBI at the plate, the mythical legend might be one of the biggest gaps from perception to reality.  Then again, I’m saying all this before breaking down his first start without seeing much of him beyond the numbers.  What Pitcher Profiles are all about!  You can’t know for sure on a guy until you really get a chance to see him pitch.  So without any more noodling, here’s how Matz looked in his debut:

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