It started with a simple email. Hey Grey and Rudy, wouldn’t it be cool if someone wrote about the top pitchers broken down by month? And within those months, to evaluate with and without wins to ascertain who pitched well and gave good value vs. who pitched for a 90 win club and had a 4-0 month? Response was a resounding yes, of course. And of course, it was my own damn fault for having such a good idea because now I’m here giving you offseason content prior to January. Clearly the time that everyone is reading about fantasy baseball. Oh well, let’s get to it. Here’s a look back at April’s pitching to see if it holds any keys going forward to 2015 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Like the end of anything that was good, there is only one thing left to do as the MLB regular season comes to a close: lay it down really hard. Finish strong, as they say. Earn your season-long awards. Kershaw is possibly making his last case for a seemingly deserved MVP as a starting pitcher tonight and he has the added motivation to embarrass his team’s greatest rival and clinch the NL West. After spending the majority of the year avoiding writing about my beloved Dodgers, I can no longer avoid the allure. Tonight offers a matchup as sexy as anything to come out of San Fernando Valley in the last 20 years. Let’s start with the NL Cy Young and MVP probable, Clayton Kershaw, P: $14,800. Considering that the best starting hitter on the Giants BvP line is held by Pablo Sandoval who has a growing trend of being incapable of hitting from the right side, Kershaw is a no-brainer today. The NL MVP should have no problem punishing the shrinking Giants’ bats into submission. Sandoval’s leading BvP by the way is 14-54 with 3 2Bs equaling a .596 OPS… the best they have to offer.

I got ideas and the DFSBot has finely honed predictions. You have ideas and the DFSBot has finely honed predictions. The DFSBot is critically acclaimed on the internets. I sleep at night and the DFSBot never stops working. You and I have a lot in common. I hope you sleep too. Listen to the DFSBot.

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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!

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Adam Wainwright went 6 IP, 3 ER, 9 baserunners, 5 Ks as he was out-dueled by Jeff Locke (7 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 3 Ks). Wainwright being out-dueled seems to be the norm lately. In August, his ERA is 5.17 and he says he’s going through a ‘dead arm’ phase. Ways that a dead arm could help (in no particular order): tricking a zombie while playing dead, making your other arm feel more alive, doorstop, can’t pick up a bill because your wallet is in the dead arm pocket, screaming out “Sorry, dead arm!” when cutting off people while driving and making your Bernie Lean more believable. Ways that a dead arm won’t help: pitching. Verlander’s arm must be so dead that necrophiliac stray dogs try to constantly hump it. You have to hold onto Wainwright and hope he comes out of it, but obviously this was not what you wanted to hear. By the by, Rudy tells me after he learned his wife was preggers with twins he went through a ‘dead penis’ phase. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This week’s hot add was Mike Fiers (+62%). The Brewers hurler has posted a 9.5 K/9 and a 1.8 BB/9 since filling in for Matt Garza in the Milwaukee rotation. The strikeouts are no fluke, as he posted a K/9 of 11.4 in Triple-A this season. While his FIP is a run higher than his current ERA and Steamer is projecting a 3.60 ERA from this point forward, Fiers remains a great pickup for the stretch run. It will be interestinge to see what Milwaukee does with their rotation when Garza returns since both Fiers and Jimmy Nelson have been solid in his absence. It’s likely that Nelson will be the odd man out and moved to the bullpen while Fiers remains in the rotation. He has certainly earned it. Fiers has won all four of his starts, striking out 32 batters in 28 innings and allowing only four earned runs. As some starters begin to see their innings limited or fade due to fatigue down the stretch, Fiers can help fantasy teams finish strong.

Here are this week’s other big adds and drops in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac, and the illustration next to it was Salvador Perez’s abuelita. A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back.” I thought I knew what love was. I owned Javier Baez in every league I could grab him, but what did I know? Those minor league days are gone forever. He’s got to let them go! I can see you, Baez, your brown skin shinin’ in the sun. You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby. And I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong. Not Giancarlo strong, but strong never the hoo! Baez’s minor league numbers are eye-popping like John Lithgow in The Twilight Zone Movie — 23 homers, 16 steals and a .260 average in only 104 games. What are you? A 35/25 guy at shortstop? Why stop there? Why not just dress up like the Sun-Maid girl and feed me shrunken grapes? What? It’s my fantasy! Like Don Henley and later The Ataris sang, I grabbed Baez in every league that I could. He might not be any better than, say, Danny Santana this year, his K-rate in the minors is a little scary, and he might hit .220. Whatevs, it’s an upside gamble, which I like at middle infield. I’m guessing Baez will play 2nd base, Arismendy (I still love you!) will move to center field and one of the Cubs platooners will sit. To paraphrase Harry Caray, if the moon was made of Javier Baez would cha eat it? Well, would cha? I would! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!

What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).

Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!

Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.

A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…

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Back in June, about six weeks ago, the Twins were liking their chances this year. They went out and spent money on Kendrys Morales, just to put them over the hump. Then about five weeks and six days ago, they realized their chances for the playoffs were slim to anorexic, and regretted their move. They had buyer’s remorse quicker than Betty Draper’s new husband. “How could Don not appreciate this blonde beauty?” Dot, dot, dot. “Oh, that’s why.” I personally thought trading for a complement to Willingham, Arcia, Plouffe and Colabello was a good idea. I mean, who among those guys is a power, lousy average and no speed threat? Oh, wait, they all are. Now back to the Mariners, yeah, they need another 1B/DH-type. We’ll assume Kendrys plays every day (which he should). In the 2nd half of last year, he hit 9 homers and a .274 average. I don’t see much more from him this year. If anything, maybe a few less homers since he’s been struggling. Basically, what you can get off waivers in most mixed leagues. Or what the Mariners already had in Coreygan Smoakison, their Frankenstein 1B/DH. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Now that I’m married Jimmy Carter’s line, “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” Really stands out to me. I don’t necessarily want to think about Jimmy Carter in lust, or even contemplating lust. The thing he doesn’t say is if he wasn’t married, he’d be lusting too. Men are men, and Jimmy Carter is no different. Jimmy Carter is one tightly wound ball of lust, and probably hooked Clinton up with Lewinsky. Jimmy Carter is a pimp! If Jimmy Carter was president in the 2000’s, he probably would’ve had Outkast to the White House and would’ve been like, “What’s colder than our relations with the Middle East? Ice cold!” In that similar vein, I lust after rookie pitchers. They are so dang sexy prior to actually pitching in the major leagues. Jimmy Nelson is just another. I like him a lot, and glad to see Marco Estrada was replaced by him. From Nelson, could see a 9+ K/9 and a middling walk rate. Due to the walk rate, that has ballooned at times, he could be absolute death — like games of 5 IP, 6 ER death. He could also run over the NL with games of 6 IP, 8 Ks. I’d grab him in all leagues for the upside, but be wary of the downside. As Jimmy Carter also once said, “You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can. Speaking of can, that’s where I like to stick my peanuts. I said PEANUTS!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As many of you know, Bruce Bochy has the biggest head in the major leagues. As a player, when he was traded, he would have to take his helmet with him to his new club because the new team wouldn’t have a helmet big enough for him. It made traveling easier, since everything he needed would fit inside the helmet. We all know the story about how when Giants rookie, Joe Panik, was called up, he forgot to make arrangements to stay somewhere in the San Fran area, so he draped a sheet over Bochy’s cap and slept in there. Lots of good has come of Bochy’s giant melon. Of course, the 27-pound bowling ball has its drawbacks. Like when he went to see Toy Story and blocked half the audience. Lots of angry parents that day. Or the time he was in South Dakota and people starting climbing up his side thinking he was Mount Rushmore. Sometimes what would take a person with a normal-sized head a week or two to figure out, thoughts bounce around in Bochy’s Metrodome much longer. So when Sergio Romo wasn’t good for the month of May, then again in June, it took longer for Bochy to realize a change was needed, but he finally figured it out. Bochy said Santiago Casilla would replace Romo, then he banged the side of his head for 15 minutes waiting for another thought, and finally it came out that Jeremy Affeldt would see some situational saves, as long as Gilbert Gottfried isn’t introducing Affeldt at games. Yesterday, Affeldt got hit, and Casilla looked solid as he has all year. I’d grab Casilla in all leagues if you’re SAGNOF’ing around for saves. Hopefully, even if Bochy thinks about putting Romo back in the role, it takes a few weeks for that thought to land in the right spot in his cavernous whale head. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?