If your approach in RCL leagues is anything like mine, then you’re carrying maybe 2-3 starters, and filling in the cracks with well researched streamers. Part of my process, as I’m sure it is with many of you, is to check the streamonator for the highest value available probables. Then I dive deeper into the matchup stats, and follow that up with a glance at the starters recent track record. One of the more common suggestions over the past few weeks has been Mets starter Rafael Montero. Best described as a AAAA starter, he’s long been the shuttle guy, and spot starter, whenever an elbow pops in the Mets rotation. With injuries a plenty in Flushing, there’s been abundant opportunity for Montero to stick for the better part of the next month, and beyond. Let’s take a deep dive into Montero’s Sunday start vs. the Oakland Athletics, and see if he might be an arm to keep in mind, as we stream our way to the promised land.

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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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Matt Grace picked up his 2nd save in as many games on Saturday for the Nationals, and Ben Zobrist’s wife started to work on a song titled, “Saving Grace,” and requested Ben’s trade to Washington.  Then, first thing on Sunday, the Nats traded for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, and Saving Grace became a B-side for “Halleberrylujah, A Catwoman Licks Herself (Rated PG).”  When asked if the trade makes his team better, the Nats’ GM said, “That’s right,” and, “I’m Mike Rizzo.”  Picture this:  Dusty and Rizzo looking at a book called, “Baseball Strategy.”  Rizzo looks at Dusty, and Dusty says, “I got the baseball part,” and Rizzo nods his head.  Finally, Rizzo chimes in, “I don’t know the 2nd word and I don’t think it’s worth investigating.”  Dusty agrees, and that’s the Nationals.  So, who will close between Madson and Doolittle?  Your guess = my guess.  I’d want to say Madson, but it could be either, both or neither as they trade for David Robertson or someone else.  By the time the calendar turns to August, the Nationals might have five closers from teams not in the pennant chase.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Since there were no games this week and players haven’t been able to get hot or cold or humid, this Buy/Sell is going to be slightly different.  This Buy/Sell includes some players that are owned in more than 50% of leagues.  Okay, that’s not different for the Sells, but it does change the Buys.   “Hello?  No, B-U-Y-S.  Thanks, you too!”  That was GLAAD calling me about potential insensitivity.  I have not triggered anyone in almost three days, unless you count that fisherman I saw with a pipe that I called “Hipster Popeye.”  As I mentioned in my top 100 for the 2nd half of 2017 fantasy baseball, my biggest Buy of the 2nd half is Manny Machado.  He’s about to come on in the 2nd half like he’s Mickey Maris in 1927 with Barry Bonds’s personal trainer.  For the 2nd half, I gave Machado the projections of 48/18/49/.288/3.  This year he’s been gun shy.  He’s swung at 4% less pitches inside the strike zone.  Either guessing wrong, or just being flat out beat by fastballs.  Ground balls have gone through the roof (especially if ants are reading) and fly balls have fallen, and I don’t mean a defective zipper.  Bad swings, and weak contact?  I’m gonna call them flailing balls, lightly chuckle to myself and sip my Tom Collins.  That’s all bad news, said Mr. Exposition.  The good news is, it’s a small sample size — that’s what she said snidely! — and it’s been mostly propped by a terrifically terrible — terribically? — May.  His May was so bad it will hold down his season-long stats.  In May, he had a 6% line drive rate and a 51% ground ball rate.  El oh what?  Was he a 78-year-old Jeter for a month?  By the way, 78-year-old Jeter is dating your 23-year-old niece, and you’re proud of her.  You absolutely should buy Machado, and on the pronto.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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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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When I was a kid, it was routine to go thrift shopping with my mother every Sunday morning (queue the Thrift Shop song by Macklemore). My mother has a niche for finding deals and bargains. I reflect back and look to use some of those skills to find the pitcher I’ll be pairing with Clayton Kershaw in my cash games. I look no further to Trevor Cahill. This will be Cahill’s second start since coming off the DL with shoulder issues. Prior to Cahill’s injury he was having a career year. I was a bit worried watching his rehab starts coming back from the shoulder injury but he handled the Indians in the 4 innings he pitched. With guys coming off injury there is always the risk of getting pulled early because their pitch count is limited. The Padres allowed him to go 85 pitches in his first start back. I’m not worried about the pitch count given he faces a deflated Phillies lineup who is amongst the worst versus right handed pitching this season. Cahill is the bargain of the day at $15,300. The Padres are the favorite on the road today and I will be pairing Cahill with Kershaw in all cash games.

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Thankfully, I no longer do 4th of July like I used to, because when you have a holiday weekend that lasts five days, you will get alcohol poisoning if you go too hard, and the 4th is especially dangerous because:  day drinking.  At least with New Year’s Eve, it’s at night.  The Fourth is lying on a discarded sofa on the side of a highway at 3 PM and being like, “The hum of 75 MPH cars is so peaceful, I go to sleep now,” and waking up with a flashlight you mistake for a fleshlight and now you’re a registered sex offender.  Hopefully, none of that happened to any of you, well, maybe the fleshlight part, and you all had a safe holiday.  Any hoo!  Yesterday, Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 and his 15th and 16th homers as he hits .288.  He found the Fountain of Youth sometime in May and has been a Zombino eating brain custard ever since.  I’m still half expecting — cting? — McCutchen will resort to blah in the 2nd half, but it looks like I wrote off McCutchen before his sell-by date.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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It’s Peacock week here at Razzball, and I for one, have been trying my damnedest to use some of the lessons taught to me by my mentor, the sometimes debonair, but mostly creepy, world-renowned pickup artist Mystery. You might remember this sexual predator from MTV at some point in the last 10 years. MTV, ruining everything since 1981! You might not recall this, particularly if you’ve never been under the spell of a man dressed as the lead singer of Jamiroquai, but Mystery has long preached the word of “Peacocking”. I can’t be sure, but I’m almost certain that this is the act of pretending you’re Brad Peacock to pickup women. I mean how could this not work have you seen “The P-Cock” in all his glory? Gorgeous just like a horse is, to say the least. The 29 year old Peacock has spent parts of 5 seasons in the majors, mostly as a shuttle arm, between AAA and the majors. In 2017 however, the righty has been a bit of a revelation for the Astros, first in the bullpen, and now in the rotation. Grey wrote him up on Friday, and he’s been one of the more interesting streams over the last few weeks. If only due to that heavenly 15 K/9 over his first three starts. So let’s dig into Peacock and see what he’s doing on the mound, when not going into liquor store rages.

Please, blog, may I have some more?