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Leagues are won and lost on the Merrill Kellys (Kellies? Kelli?). Nailing your top picks helps, but those are your top picks. Most times it’s just bad luck if they don’t work out. The later picks? Those separate from the men and five lady readers from the boys and girls. The picks that everyone rolls their eyes over and yawns. The picks that people are like, “Hey, I have to get home and leave this five-hour draft. Just give me whomever is leftover out of Merrill Kelly and Miles Mikolas.” Then your leaguemates goof around and finally are like, “Let’s give Chuck, Merrill Kelly, because Kelly and Chuck both suck.” Those two pitchers — Kelly and Mikolas — weren’t pulled from thin air. They were both drafted on average right next to each other at 483th overall. Sitting around them were Alex Reyes, Rich Hill and Michael Pineda. If you nailed the Kelly, and/or Mikolas in deep leagues? You were sitting pretty, just as Merrill Kelly (8 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.04) was yesterday, and all season. That’ll teach your leaguemates to try and sabotage you with Merrill Kelly. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Josh Rojas – 2-for-4, 1 RBI and three steals (9, 10, 11). A three-homer game is like going to a fancy restaurant, and it being good, but expensive. A three-steal game? It’s like going to a hole-in-the-wall, paying next-to-nothing, and loving it.

Bobby Witt Jr. – Out with a sore hamstring. He says it’s day-to-day. Just happened that one of those days was vs. the “easiest person in the league to steal off of” because the Fantasy Baseball Overlord mocks us.

Salvador Perez – Headed out for a rehab assignment, and is likely a week or so away. I don’t draft top catchers, but I will say this for Sal P., he does everything in his power to play. Which is different than a power play, but, with his size, I wouldn’t count him out in a pickup hockey game either. *looks up* Damn, the ceiling balloons are supposed to fall for my one hockey mention per year. Must’ve rigged them wrong.

MJ Melendez – 1-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 10th homer. Sal P.’s return could spell doom for Melendez’s playing time. Just remember all caps when you spell the man’s name, MJ DOOM.

Noah Syndergaard – 5 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 3.83. Wonder how long into the offseason until he re-signs with the Mets. It feels like the most inevitable free agent signing. In-Mets-able? Yeah, that’ll do.

Janson Junk – Scheduled to start on Wednesday. Hey, what’s this guy throw? C’mon, I set you up!

Brandon Drury – 1-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 19th homer. The Dreamry season continues. BDon and I talk about Drury on today’s podcast, which should be available first on our Youtube channel.

Jonathan India – 3-for-4, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and his 6th homer. He doubled in the 1st inning and it looked like he tweaked his thigh injury so I ripped my TV off the wall and threw it in a dumpster, therefore I didn’t see his homer. Did it ricochet off the pitcher’s head and sail over the fence?

Michael Papierski – 1-for-4, 1 run. Can’t throw low against Soda Pop Papierski with his vicious uppercut swing.

Nick Lodolo – 6 IP, 0 ER, 7 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 4.73. Better Yolo Lodolo, than Lodo-LOL, but I still don’t trust him every time out. Yesterday, just happened to be a great matchup per the Streamonator, and anyone with eyes.

Trevor Rogers – 3 2/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA at 5.85. “Welp, one bad start in April doesn’t make a season. Get him next time out, Rogers!” That’s a guy who’s been in a coma since April and doesn’t realize it’s now the end of July.

Sean Manaea – 3 1/3 IP, 4 ER, ERA at 4.33, and he gave up five more unearned runs for the massive Ticker Shock. Brucely, though, you have to have marbles in the coconut to start a guy repeatedly in shallower leagues who can’t handle the Tigers, and, prematurely balding men and the women who love them, I do not have marbles.

MacKenzie Gore – Dealing with elbow soreness. *screams into the abyss* Abyss, “Stop bothering me with your fantasy baseball problems.”

Jurickson Profar – 2-for-3 and his 9th homer. What a guy did in April is kinda moot by now, so the season-long Player Rater is fun to look at like Baby Colin Robinson, but watch how much weight you put on it. With that said (Grey’s about to reverse everything), Profar’s been about as valuable as Bregman on the year.

Jeimer Candelario – 3-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 8th homer, and his 2nd and 3rd homer in the 2nd half. Guess who just picked up Jeimer Candelario to replace his Rafael Devers? This guy with two thumbs, and a beautiful swoosh of chemically-treated hair! Also, Jeimer might be a hot schmotato.

Miguel Cabrera – 1-for-2, 2 runs and his 4th homer. So cool to see him still able to hit in his 50th and final year. Wait, he’ll be back for his 51st year. By the by, Miggy hitting cleanup with four homers on the year isn’t idol worship aka idolatry. It’s Idiocracy. Miggy should be used off the bench once a week, not hitting cleanup. I don’t even care he’s their best batting average hitter. It’s absurd.

Eric Haase – 2-for-5, 4 RBIs and his 8th homer. Haasen’t been worth mentioning outside of two-catcher leagues.

Adrian Sampson – 7 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 3 Ks, ERA at 3.20. Sonavabench! Why would I have him and not start him vs. the Pirates? Good question, over-the-internet friend! It’s an NL-Only league, and CBS didn’t have him listed as the starter, and I can’t possibly check every freakin’ starter. Yes, I’m blaming the messenger!

Bryan Reynolds – 0-for-4 as he was activated from the IL. Kevin from ESPN’s “Get Him in Your Lineup” Department said, “I parked in the electric vehicle charging space, without an electric vehicle, because I wanted to know how it felt to see if I wanted to get an electric vehicle.”

JT Brubaker – 6 IP, 2 ER, 10 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 3.96. Thinking about how I’m suffering through Sean Manaea and I could just have JT Brubaker and kicking myself in my JT Breadbasket.

Kevin Kiermaier – Out for the year and will undergo surgery to repair his labrum. Many cultures in history have tried to repair labrums, and it’s seen as regressive. We cannot let the ideal of multiculturalism separate us into a state of othering–*intern whispers in ear*…It’s a hip injury? Oh.

Mike Zunino – Also out for the year, as he will have thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. A surgery once reserved for cockroaches. Sickos!

Brandon Lowe – 1-for-5 and his 6th homer. Lowe and be holdin’ or Lowe and be sellin’? I’d be in the latter camp.

Kris Bryant – Will visit a foot specialist. Kris Bryant went to the Rockies for $250 million to retire. Very cool stuff.

Ethan Small – Recalled to start on Tuesday. His minor league numbers are so great — 10 K/9, 3.34 ERA — but he’s got no command, and how bad do you want to lose your kidney to a roofie’ing?

Aaron Ashby – 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 4.38. He’s got some of the best 4.38 ERA stuff I’ve seen this year. Kinda hope his ERA looks this bad at the end of the year, because *rubs hands together* 2023 sleeper, baby!

Nick Pivetta – 5 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 10 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 4.35. At this point, I don’t even think I can start him if the Streamonator likes him, and, it just so happens to not matter for his next start, because it doesn’t.

Jeremy Pena – 2-for-4, 2 runs and his 15th homer, and 2nd homer in the last two games, and I think it’s long overdue for us to send out Evites that say, “Come clap along if you think the Old Testament didn’t need any updating, as we celebrate Jeremy’s Star Mitzvah.”

Jake Odorizzi – 5 IP, 6 ER, ERA at 4.25. This start was vs. the A’s, and Odorizzi looked like ass. Symmetry that you never want to see.

Yordan Alvarez – 0-for-3, 1 run and his 1st steal, and that steal was of home. I almost went looking for the clip of it, but I prefer to imagine Yordan had an 89-foot lead, hiding unnoticed right next to the batter.

Skye Bolt – 2-for-3, 2 RBIs and a slam (3) and legs (3). ACKSUALLY, Skye Bolt sounds like someone who can do some superhero shizz and transfer his body into someone else, so maybe that’s how Yordan stole home. Yeah, that’s what I want to believe!

Adolis Garcia – 1-for-3 and his 18th homer, and 2nd homer in two games, and third homer since the break, and I told you to buy him last week, while everyone was screaming something like, “You gotta sell Adolis! He was bad last 2nd half!”

Nathaniel Lowe – 2-for-4 and his 14th homer, and 2nd homer in the last four games. Hot schmotato alert!

Dallas Keuchel – Signed with the Rangers. There’s a good chance his luggage doesn’t get lost.

Ty France – 3-for-3, 2 runs and his 13th homer, hitting .312. A France fly!

Jean Segura – Set to begin a rehab assignment and could be back in a week to ten days, i.e., head to waivers and loudly announce about your IL slot, “Time to fit in my Jean’s.”

Bryce Harper – Still unable to have the pins removed from his surgically-repaired thumb. Sounds a bit like my ex-girlfriend voodoo doll.

Bryson Stott – 2-for-4, 5 RBIs and his 7th homer. He homered off Minter, who hadn’t allowed a lefty homer since 2019, when he gave up one to Corey Dickerson, who absolutely was a hot schmotato that week in 2019.

Ranger Suarez – 5 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 3.84. He also gave up three unearned, because: Of course. The Phils’ defense looks like softball team putting on a staged adapation of The Bad News Bears.

Max Fried – 6 IP, 3 ER, 9 baserunners, 8 Ks, ERA at 2.73. It seemed like he was tipping his pitches early as he was doing in the playoffs of last year, but the Phils weren’t able to make him pay. Maybe because the Phils were too busy watching Tom Emanski’s The Secrets to Fundamentals on their iPads in the dugout.

Yadier Molina – Will begin a rehab assignment, and hopes to return on August 2nd. Just in time to catch Adam Wainwright, as they try to set the record for most starts as a pitcher-catcher battery. Record for fan-third baseman-battery is Phillies fans and Mike Schmidt.

Victor Robles – 1-for-5, 1 run as he hit leadoff. I call that Nats’ lineup, “See, we don’t need Juan Soto, we have Victor Robles!”

Juan Soto – 2-for-4, 2 RBIs. He was in Dodger Stadium last night. Um, as a Nats player still. I was trying to speak into existence: Trade Juan Soto mid-game so he can walk across the diamond to the other team like a wrestler turning heel, rip off his jersey and reveal the Dodgers blue. Ya know, it’s gonna be wild when Juan Soto is on the Dodgers, and they still lose their first playoff series because of some random big series from Brendan Donovan.