*visoring your eyes with your hand, squinting at the light as you emerge from your mother’s basement*  “Hey, mom, it’s the All-Star break and I thought I’d come up to say hello.”  Where the house once stood, it’s now a Whole Foods, and you’re standing in the cheese aisle.  Confused, you approach a man in Birkenstocks, “Excuse me, is this 450 Palm Terrace Road?”  “It is.”  “Wasn’t there a row of houses here?”  “Back in March, they bulldozed this area when the yuppies won a city ordinance that says there needs to be a Whole Foods within at least three-quarters of a mile of another Whole Foods.”  You reel back, overwhelmed with how your family is gone and how you’ve been living in a Whole Foods basement.  You turn to an employee, “I need to sit down, and can I get a free sample of any cheese?”  You smile, revealing Cheetos-dusted teeth, and thus begins your All-Star break.  Tomorrow, I’ll drop the top 100 for the 2nd half, then there will be a Buy/Sell again Friday morning.  One guy who will have extra time this All-Star break will be Mike Matheny.  Last week it was revealed, Mike McNulty set up a sting operation in the Cards’ bullpen to see if everyone was doing their best with Bud “Bubbles” Norris as his informant.  Then when the Cards fired Donnie Brasco Matheny, he might’ve took his informant with him, because Jordan Hicks (1 IP, 1 ER) got Sunday’s save and Norris came down with mysterious arm concerns.  I’d absolutely grab Hicks.  You know what’s the difference between Hicks and Norris?  One makes you say, “Ooh MPH…”  The other makes you say, “Oompha.”  Also, usually I ignore trade rumors, but at this time of the year, you should be extra vigilant about backing up closers because at any point in the next two weeks a closer could get traded and you don’t want to leave it up to getting to the waiver wire before everyone else.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Nick Kingham, the Bucs newest hot-shot rookie pitcher, notched his second win in a row last night pitching six and a third innings allowing just six base runners (5 hits) and striking out nine Brewers for his fourth win of the year. Back in Pittsburgh, they treat themselves post game to some of the finest foods available using only fresh local ingredients–then they put cole slaw and fries on it to make it even better. Since flirting with a perfect game in his April debut, Nick Kingham’s stock has slowly fallen, but I’m telling you now he just had a handful of fresh french fries dropped on top of him and its time to eat. We’re talking about a post post hype pick up here, folks! That’s two posts! He looked more than comfortable Friday night, coasting through the first five innings without issue before giving up solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Taking on the Brewers is a tough assignment for any pitcher, let alone a n00b like Kingham, but he pitched admirably finding the strike zone consistently and working into seventh. Real talk, I’m not telling you to add Kingham because he throws strikes, it’s that 51/12 K/BB in just 50.2 IP that’s got me all “In My Feelings” like Drake. Ignore the 4.26 ERA, the 1.13 WHIP is looking pretty regal, no? If it’s not clicking let me spell it out for you. A 26-year pitcher with a 22.2 K% is locked into that number five rotation spot. That means IPs and Ks and possibly even Ws. Lots of letters, people! Kingham is available in over 80% of fantasy leagues. I’d pick Nick everywhere I needed starting pitching help for the strikeouts and the upside and if we’re lucky we might even get a handful of fries with that.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

I wanna geek out for a second.  You with me?  Orf course you are, because I say “Orf course” and you’re still reading!  Entering yesterday’s game Anthony Rendon (3-for-5, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and his 14th and 15th homer, hitting .285) was 19th overall for 3rd basemen on the Player Rater, in a virtual tie with Miguel Andujar and Ryon Healy and right behind Derek Dietrich.  Hey, over-the-internet friend, that’s awful.  Third basemen are not exactly stacked like hamburgers at IHOB either.  There’s seven top tier ones ($17+).  For context, there’s ten elite shortstops.  There’s 16 shortstops at $11+, and only eleven 3rd basemen.  I don’t think you heard me, Derek Dietrich has been more valuable than Rendon so far this year, or sofa if you’re reading in a furniture store.  Rendon already spent the 1st half taking the craps out, so, yo, I think he can roll up to 7 at the position by season’s end.  The route he’s taken has definitely been the hard way.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Was thinking about this the other day.  Bear with me, it’s not fully formed (like the rest of this shizz).  Is there a higher upside move than becoming a magician?  David Blaine scored, Penn & Teller seemed to have done all right for themselves, Siegfried & Roy did fine until that white cat went ape…But how about all of the 18-year-old’s who are like, “Mom, Dad, I’m declining the full ride to Brown.  I want to do this…” *pulls sheet off table to reveal their daughter sawed in half*  “Oh, crap.  Marci?”  The world is littered with failed magicians!  You want upside?  There’s no greater upside call than deciding you want to be a magician for the rest of your life.  The Indians team?  They’re all freakin’ magicians!  Hey, Jose Ramirez (2-for-4, 5 RBIs and his 26th and 27th homer), you’re David Blaine!  Francisco Lindor (1-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 25th homer)?  You’re David Blaine!   Michael Brantley (2-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBIs)?  You’re David Blaine!  You’re all David Blaine!  We even have some David Blaine magic for Jason Kipnis (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 9th homer, and 2nd homer in the last three games).  If you went Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez with your 1st two picks, you’re also a magician, according to the Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  (The other way to look at this theory is only a handful of knuckleheads are actually stupid enough to want to be a magician, and the world is not littered with failed magicians and no one is turning down a free ride to an Ivy League school to become a magician, but we don’t talk about this part of the Upside Magician Theory.)  Thank you, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor and all the Indians, I believe your magic is real.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Yesterday, Trevor Bauer continued to keep the drool moist on his owners’ chins — 8 IP, 0 ER, 7 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 2.30.  The other day some ‘perts listed their biggest surprises of the 2nd half, and one (maybe more) talked about how surprised they were about Bauer.  Yeah, shocker.  *insanely long pause, staring straight ahead*  Really, really surprised.  *just a dead-eyed stare, slowly picks up Capri Sun, sips real slow on tiny straw, lets out long burp*  Yup, no one saw that coming.  Yesterday, it was too bad, Cody Allen had an epic Kazaam — 2/3 IP, 6 ER, moving his ERA up to 4.66.  I’m just going to sit down for a second.  Aw geez, it hurts to sit.  I’m going to lie on my stomach.  Make the pain go away.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

With Aaron Nola, I should likely talk about Zydeco, but he reminds me of Paul Simon’s quote about Graceland.  Vampire Weekend was criticized for copying his signature style, which is absurd since he copied it from African artists, and Simon copped to that.  He said, “In a way, we were on the same pursuit, but I don’t think you’re lifting from me, and anyway, you’re welcome to it, because everybody’s lifting all the time. That’s the way music grows and is shaped.”  Without every great pitcher to come before, would there be Aaron Nola?  I know what I know, and I lost Nola this year.  Like I lost Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber previous years.  I long for them when the diamond’s on the sole of their shoes.  Every year, I have guys I’m targeting as my ace whose preseason prices aren’t out of control yet.  Well, Nola went from fringe Grey-ownership this year as possibly my ace to not going to be able to own him until he falters one year down the road.  That sucks, and not sucks as in good, but sucks as in bad.  Yesterday, Nola went 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 1 walk, 10 Ks, to lower his ERA to Marla Gibbs’ address 2.27.  When he’s on other people’s teams next year and I say I would never draft him because his price is too high, remember, I see losing love is like a window in your heart.   Everybody sees you’re blown apart, everybody feels the wind blow.  In Nola, in Nola.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Many of you might not realize this, but I try to stay consistent in advice.  When you write 3,000 words/day, sometimes things get blurred.  I like so-and-so and don’t like that so-and-so, then the first so-and-so gets cold and I no longer like that so-and-so or the 2nd so-and-so gets hot and I like him, so I no longer like so-and-so, but do like that so-and-so.  Or sometimes I’m just so-so on a particular so-and-so, but that so-so is fluid and a so-and-so can become a little more than just so-so or a little less than just so-so.  BTW, those who just Googled for “so-so fantasy advice,” welcome!  You’re at the right place.  So, my so-so feelings on Nathan Eovaldi have moved up, and he is rattling off irrefutable evidence that he should be owned.  Yesterday, Eovaldi took a perfect game into the 7th, ending up with 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, zero walks, 9 Ks, ERA at 3.35, and, outside of one start in Yankee Stadium, he hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in any start.  He’s thrown three starts with one hit or less!  Johnny Lasagna may have been exposed as a noodle arm, but the Italians still have Rachel Ray’s E-O-V-A.  Eovaldi is now at 8.2 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 3.36 xFIP; those numbers suggest he should be owned in every league, and I’m in agreement.  The origin story film, Velo, may have received mixed reviews, but is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and I loved Jordan Hicks’ cameo.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
       

In 1776 on July 1st, Ben Franklin grabbed Betsy Ross and four of her friends, and was like, “This will be better than Flag Day.  We will call this Flagellation Day.  Now twerk with a firework!”  That lasted for three days until Ben yelled out an Astros’ hitter last name and called for a volunteer fire department to put out his redness.  As the fire department extinguished his Reddick, Ben proclaimed July 4th to be a day of national celebration and the rest is history.  It’s also when The Stros Spangled Banner was written.  Any hoo!  Josh Reddick (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) had a slam (8) and legs (4) yesterday, and it’s 2nd day in a row with a homer.  He’s owned in only 30% of leagues and that is a crime to humanity, a first world one, at least.  God Bless America and Ben Franklin’s Reddick!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

When you’re hot for two straight weeks, you’re talking in sexy whispers on my earlobes.   If Avisail Garcia and Mike Trout are filming a body-switch movie, I never want it to end.  For years I’ve remarked — I’m a remarker, yo! — that Avisail looks like Mini Miggy, now he’s actually hitting like him.  “Miggy, that is the first time in two years we’ve made love without you screaming your back hurts,”  Mrs. Miggy rolls over.  Avisail Garcia smiles wickedly at the camera.  Yesterday, he homered two more times (3-for-6, 3 runs, 6th and 7th homers), and now has six homers in the last week, and he hit .330 last year.  Sure, we can pee in the electrical blanket by talking about his BABIP last year, but there is no excuse for Garcia being on waivers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   
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