On July 31st, there was a great disturbance in the force, as Tommy Pham was traded from the Cardinals to the Rays. The black hole was subsequently filled by an innocent-looking 24-year-old with 315 major league plate appearances, Harrison Bader (43.4% owned – increase of 29%). Then it started happening. Each pitch thrown was met with anger. Each cleat dug further into the dirt until the shoe twisted, then churned the ground, causing a volcano-like explosion hurling a 190-pound mass of anger down the base path. The innocent-looking 24-year-old was no more. The hate. The anger. It all manifested to unveil….Darth Bader. He of the 46.8% hard hit rate. He of the .242 ISO and .576 SLG. If I compare the numbers from the month of August to the rest of the season (74 PA vs 223 PA), the swinging strike rate is down 2%, the chase rate is down 4%, contact rate is up 5%, hard hit rate is up 14%, and ground ball rate is down 10%! Could be a case of the small sample size, but it could also be that he’s playing regularly now. Regardless, there’s going to be some regression, as a .432 BABIP is unsustainable. With that said, the power/speed combo is too enticing and we all know that the force is strong in St. Louis. TREASURE

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Poor Aaron Sanchez (SP, Index Finger Contusion) probably hurt his finger on the latest episode of Chopped: All-Stars! The boring old baseball version of Aaron Sanchez has yet to rediscover his Cy Young caliber abilities after missing most of 2017. Sanchez rebounded nicely after a 5 inning, 7 ER performance at the end of May with three quality starts in a row in June. Hopefully this injury won’t derail his progress too much. Stash or Trash: I’d stash. If he can come back quickly he could provide some solid value in the second half. Fill In: Rather than force myself to find five starting pitchers who I might not even fully believe in — I’m going to give you three solid options at the bottom of this article who could fill in for the five injured starting pitchers this week.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sorry my loyal musicfiles, but this week I’ve moved on from our weekly music discussion mixed in with some fantasy baseball edu-ma-cation, to a weekly discussion of my favorite of all foods….the all-mighty fast food cheeseburger.  I’m guessing regular commenter Happy Vegans will have to talk about boca burgers or something made of grass.  Sorry homie, your avatar still has a rocking stache.  Take solace in that.  Either way we’ll once again awkwardly navigate our way through the two-start pitching options for the week and mix in some auxiliary discussion of the delicious, greasy, delicacy we call the cheeseburger.  If you’re kosher remove the cheese, cool?  Looking forward, we have some seriously tasty doubles piled up in the top tiers this week and some dollar menu values spread across the middle tiers where streamers are to be had in super-sized portions.  Some one and done guys that might be In N Out of your lineup depending on the matchup.  There’s also a whole lot more garbage in a bag then there has been in previous weeks…. I know, I know, I’m so topical I should be an ointment!  Quite a few streamers I like this week, one in particular is Mariners Lefty Roenis Elias.  Over his last 15 starts dating back to last July Elias’ ERA is 2.48 with a 7.78 k/9, 3.56 BB/9, and a .65 HR/9.  His pheriperals scream regression (3.71 FIP, 4.02 xFIP, 1.36 WHIP), but they don’t scream awful either.  His control has improved this season and he’s faced some solid lineups thus far in Minnesota, Baltimore, and Houston.  Roenis is slated to go against two clubs this week that are middle of the road when it comes to hitting lefties, in the Rays and Indians.  But I like his chances to continue his string of quality starts.  Now that’s a tasty burger!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The NBA season is over, thank god. The Heat won it all, so it played out exactly how we all thought it would when the season started last October. Sure, the Finals was an entertaining series, and I tuned in, but I’m truly glad I don’t have any more hoops distracting my attention from baseball. Most of you can now devote yourselves completely to your fantasy teams. Those of us in Chicago or Boston, however, still have two, possibly three, hockey games standing between us and full-time baseball season. I won’t complain about that though, because I’m a full-on bandwagon Blackhawks fan at the moment, and I look forward to drunkenly screaming “Kaaaaner!” at my television for a few more games. Anyway, two-starters…

Please, blog, may I have some more?