In my never ending quest to blend two start pitchers and nostalgia, I stumbled upon a even better spin-off of last week’s premise. In Week 9’s post we dove head first into a little Nintendo nostalgia (awesome band name BTW) and a cornucopia of rad games were discussed. Seemed like everyone had opinions on Battletoads. Interesting because I always thought that hands down Battletoads held the record for most frustrated controller throws induced. Frustration City Beeyatch! The most discussed game by a large measure was the classic pastime of the pugilistic arts “Mike Tyson’s Punchout”. Some of you claim to have defeated Tyson with Little Mac, to which I say “You’re a bunch of stinkin’ Liars”. Seriously lasting one round with Tyson in and of it self was a victory. Then again maybe King Of Kong Billy Mitchell is reading the Razz, I suppose one never knows. I mean all of you could actually be productive and upstanding members of society! Feel like I might be giving our readers a bit too much credit. Go ahead take it for what it’s worth. Regardless Mike Tyson’s Punchout is this week’s theme. So the tiers will be listed by character and we can discuss everyone’s exploits with “Little Mac” in the comments. I wonder if that’s what Mark McGuire calls his junk?

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Mike Tysons (Aces) – These guys are pretty much unquestioned. Their style is impetuous, their defense is impregnable, and they’re just ferocious. They want your heart! They want to eat their matchups! Do you have a plan? Doesn’t matter because everyone has a plan until they get hit. Then like a rat they stop and freeze.  I could give you 400 words on why Max Scherzer, Cole Hamels, Chris Sale, Sonny Gray and Corey Kluber are must starts but that doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know. So instead I will ramble on about how I hate all of their matchups. What you thought my rankings were supposed to make sense? Tisk Tisk. It’s called hedging… Come on people, it’s what those of us chosen by God to write the word of fantasy do! Now let’s hedge! I like Scherzer’s matchups best despite being two road starts and one in the AL. Is it me or does he get pushed back in all of his original two start weeks?…. In this tier I have my eye on two potential trap games in Sale’s start at Tampa Bay and Cole Hamels start at the Reds. Both of those clubs are in the top 10 in wOBA and OPS vs LHP….. Corey Kluber has a tough matchup in his second start at Detroit. This is offset by a visit from the light-hitting Seattle earlier in the week. On the other hand the Tigers have lost 8 straight. So who’s really the weaker opponent? Yeah it’s still the Mariners but he could be getting the Tigers at the right time. Or they wake up against Kluber. See hedging!…. Sonny Gray has a nice set of starts and I have a crush on Amy Schumer…Is that weird? I’m a mid 30’s balding, bearded man with a crush on a chubby blonde comic. This sounds like a stalking film that someone might have wrote with Caroline Rhea for Lifetime. The fact that I’m writing this under an assumed identity on the internet makes it much worse. Or it could be the Caroline Rhea reference.

Max Scherzer, (@NYY, @MIL); Chris Sale, (vs. Hou, @TB); Cole Hamels, (@Cin, @PIT); Corey Kluber, (vs. SEA, @DET); Sonny Gray (vs. TEX, @LAA)

 

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Mr. Sandman (Must Starts) – I could have gone with Super Macho Man but everybody knows he’s just a souped up Soda Popinski. Mr. Sandman was the second most difficult character in the game, no arguments or I’m kicking you off Razzball for 3 seconds. Did you see your screen blink? That was me. I’m on my Sandman…. James Shields and his 10.99 K per keep rolling. The strikeouts have been down the last few turns but his ratios have begun to normalize a bit. He visits Hotlanta to begin the week and ends it at home vs the Dodgers. Shields has a 3.46 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 10.38 K per, and 2.07 Bb per in his two previous starts vs LA, both of those were at Dodger Stadium…. We saw a hiccup from Shelby Miller Last week at Arizona. It was his first start this season where he allowed more than two runs. He’s been out performing his peripherals by a sizable margin. Just look at these splits (1.89/3.55/4.07), that’s his ERA, FIP, and xFIP. I doubt we see the slip continue this week as he’s blessed with a nice pair of matchups, at home vs the Padres and at the Mets…. A.J. Burnett has a future as the leader of the demonic hayseeds in a hillbilly horror flick once he (finally) retires. He’s coming off a couple of rough starts vs the Padres and Giants but before that he had been pitching pretty well. Burnett is once again inducing grounders at the rates he did during his previous stint in Pittsburgh. Burnett is also allowing far few balls to leave the yard than in previous years. Two good starts this week vs Milwaukee and Philly at PNC, let him ride. If you drafted him late or grabbed him early off the wire, congrats you done good kid. You found a must start pitcher on a flier. That wins leagues…. Mike Foltynewicz? Must Start? Ralph you crazy! The walks are down over the last 4 and his lack of control has been his biggest barrier. Well that and the fact that his name is Dr. Galazkiewicz. The Padres and Mets are in the bottom 6 in wOBA vs RHP. They both sport K% of 20+. He’s a very good streamer, which means he’s giving up 6 Ernies each game.

James Shields, (@ATL, vs. LAD); Shelby Miller, (vs. SD, @NYM); A.J. Burnett, (vs. MIL, vs PIT); Mike Foltynewicz, (vs. SD, @NYM)

 

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Don Flamenco (I wish I could sit you!) – This is a new tier and one I feel like I should have invented years..or months ago. Just like I need a Don Flamenco t-shirt and I needed it in 2002. Because that’s the last time I was single, and if I know one thing and it’s that women in 2002 could not resist Nintendo nostalgia T-shirts. It was either that or my throwback Robin Yount jersey with matching cap. Yup I dressed like Nelly apparently. This tier is full of guys I don’t trust but I’m not sure you can sit them. You know because they’re good and there’s nothing worse than a potential gem on your bench…. I’m scared of both of Jon Lester’s starts at Detroit and at home vs the Reds. Both of those clubs are in the top 10 in wOBA vs LHP. And Lester wasn’t great in his previous starts against the Reds, he’s allowed 9 earned in 12 innings…. I’m also not happy if I’m rolling out John Lackey at Coors, or against the Royals, but he’s easier to sit than Lester. The question is will you? Probably not…. Lance McCullers is coming off complete game gem against the Orioles but he’s still a huge question mark in my mind. You never know if he’ll even make it through 6. With that said after watching Wednesday’s start I’d be remiss to ignore the ability. He’s in this tier because I really like him this week. I just have sneaking suspicion he’s going to let me down…. Hector Santiago has been surprisingly good in 2015, but any lefty facing the Rays can’t fully be trusted. I’m not even going to get into his extreme fly ball tendencies. Scary stuff, but I ain’t sitting him…. Nate Karns is one of the better streamers this week with home starts against the Angels and White Sox. Funny thing is his home and away numbers don’t support a home field advantage of any type. In fact they say the opposite, his home ERA of 4.98 stands in stark contrast to his 1.95 road ERA. Both the Angels and White Sox struggle on the road so this could be a battle of bad data. I’ll go out on a limb and say we get two quality starts out of Karns…. Who is this Chad Bettis and why am I starting to trust him? The past four starts have been very useful. I’m guessing he severely lets me down for my faith. Sorry Chad but Carlos Frias broke my heart and I’m still learning to love again. I’d give Bettis a ride if you need a streamer or need an arm in deeper leagues. See that I said Bettis and ride in the same sentence and didn’t make a bus joke. I’m less of hack than you thought…. Are you going to sit Taijuan Walker? His past two starts tell me I shouldn’t, but I’ll be damned if I don’t poop a little thinking about it…. I have no idea what to say about this thing called Anibal Sanchez. He’s as dirty as a mustache of smeared feces. I wonder if it’s at Von Kaiser levels yet? I wouldn’t start him if I were you, but we’re different people maybe you like a good feces mustache. No judging….

Jon Lester, (@DET, vs. CIN); John Lackey, (@COL, vs. KC); Lance McCullers, (@CWS, vs. SEA); Hector Santiago, (@TB, vs. OAK); Chad Bettis, (vs. STL, @MIA); Nate Karns, (vs. LAA, vs. CWS); Taijuan Walker, (@CLE, @HOU); Anibal Sanchez, (vs. CHC, vs. CLE)

 

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Piston Honda (One Good Start/ One Bad Start) – Piston Honda had by far the best name in the game. I mean how can you not laugh at that name. It’s as stereotypical a goofy Asian name as Sum Dum Fuk. He’s the appropriate spokesman for the one good one bad tier because you fought him once in the minor circuit and then again in the world circuit. He was bad the first time but good the second. These starters are all in the same predicament more than likely, where they’ll be good in one start and struggle in the other. It’s sort of like Papa John of Papa John’s pizza. He learned how to make pizza from an Italian and pizza from a Greek. So now he makes awful pizza that’s in fact worse than Greek pizza. It’s the duality of man. The matchups I recommend are in green and the starts you should avoid are in red.

Dan Haren, (@TOR, vs. COl); Miguel Gonzalez, (vs. BOS, vs. NYY); Mike Bolsinger, (vs. ARI, @SD); Jimmy Nelson, (@PIT, vs. WAS); Nick Martinez, (@OAK, vs. MIN); Mike Leake, (vs. PHI, @CHC); Chris Heston, (@NYM, vs. ARI); Anthony DeSclafani, (vs. PHI, @CHC)

 

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King Hippo (Might Want To Sit Down For This One) – I’m sitting these guys and you can’t tell me no different. It feels wrong to have Hughes down here but he’s just not startable at the moment. Same goes for Ian Kennedy and Rubby.

Phil Hughes, (vs. KC, @TEX); Rubby De LaRosa, (@LAD, @SF); Marco Estrada, (vs. MIA, @BOS); Ian Kennedy, (@ATL, vs. LAD); Jason Vargas (@MIN, @STL); Brad Hand, (@TOR, vs. COL)

 

  1. Green machine is mean says:
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    Howdy Ralph!

    Which one to stream for week 10, Lance McCullers , or Mike Foltynewicz ?

    Thanks man!

  2. Ante GALIC says:
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    Ralph!!

    Great article, man. All the best next week. I have McCullers as my onl 2-start option. I’m gonna throw him out there and see what happens.

    Otherwise, the offense in most leagues is starting to click and the recent return of Rendon to the lineup Brucely makes this a lot easier.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ante GALIC: Yeah I like McCullers I just don’t know who shows up. The talent is there

  3. Henry Rowengartner says:
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    King

    What about E Rod from Boston? I thought he was a double starter?

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Henry Rowengartner: As far as I know the rotation isn’t set for next week yet. If they return to a 5 man then yea he will be step start. I have no indication one way or the other.

        • Geoff

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Peter guigli: who’s out of the rotation? As far as I know they hadn’t made a decision on Wright or Kelly.

          • Viv Savage says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: if they drop someone tonight, he’d be @BAL, vs. TOR. Does that make him a Flamenco or Piston?

            • Geoff

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Viv Savage: I’d go Flamenco. That’s a tough call because those are tough matchups

  4. The Great Knoche says:
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    Love the video game nostalgia, just throwing one out their for you.

    Original NBA jam pairings.

    Two start gold= Hardaway and Mullin
    Wish I could sit you= Wilkins/Augmon
    One good one bad= Johnson/ Gill
    Stay Away = Lohaus/ Edwards

    There’s enough flexibility you could manipulate on your own. Just an idea, but if you use I would appreciate a dynamite drop in Monty.

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @The Great Knoche: Haha great idea, you’ll get the shout out! I want Bill Clinton!

      • The Great Knoche says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: everyone loved Clinton and Pippen together. I always went Fresh Prince with Shaquille myself.

        • Geoff

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @The Great Knoche: Totally forgot about the FP

  5. Osuna says:
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    Drop Rubby for Folty?

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Osuna: yeah all in on Folty

  6. LOOGY & Messina says:
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    Ralph if you had to choose 2 in a weekly points format for the upcoming week

    Options are

    Hahn VS TEX (Gallardo)
    Shoemaker at TB, VS OAK (Karns/Gray)
    Buchholz VS TOR (Estrada)
    Fiers vs WASH (undecided- Ross?)

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @LOOGY & Messina: I still roll Buchholz and Fiers.

  7. Adam says:
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    Would u drop Pedro Alvarez to pick up kemp or segura?
    Thanks

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Adam: I’d make the move for Kemp. Especially if he’s a pure Util play.

  8. Irish in 1 hand says:
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    Ralph, i wondered if you could help me out. Im doing great in my matchup this week. I lead by almkst 1 full era and .20 i. Whip. Not gonna lose Ks or K/BB ratio but i lead by 1 win for the week. He has Zimm going against the Cubs. The pitchers i could start tomorrow are:

    Carrasco vs Bal
    Cole @ Atl
    Bucholtz vs Oak
    Wood vs Pit

    *I know they are great starters to have. They are all noonish games with the cubs game at 3. Do u think i should i bench all of them, some or none? Except for a freak vulture win i should at least tie wins column and maybe Zimm doesn’t win. Would it be smarte to make sure I win the peripherals? Your thoughts…..

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      I’d sit Buchholz and maybe Wood. You have to play Cole and Carrasco tomorrow. I don’t think you’d lose if you rolled all four though.

      • Irish in 1 hand says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: thanks for the quick reply. I was gping to have a hard time sitting Cole, i was torn on the rest

  9. Salad Czar says:
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    Oh those old school video game graphics lol. I forgot all about Don Flamenco, he was the one with the rose in his mouth that only went for the big upper cut, all you had to do was dodge it and then wail on him, one of the easiest guys to beat. I’m with you on Anibal, I hate that guy, 1 K in 7 innings last time… What the hell! thinking of rolling with him one more time, not that he’s shown the capability this year but I know as soon as I drop or bench him a 10 K shutout is coming.

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Salad Czar: Funny thing is I think all of his good games have come against the Twins.

  10. goodfold2 says:
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    the first thing in tyson was to be able to not get hit, only later did i beat it. and not often. in toads the best i ever did was get to the dark queen, couldn’t ever beat her. the 2nd to last level where that orb is chasing you is probably the hardest thing i’ve ever finished on NES, possibly any game. you pretty much have to jack up your metabolism to such levels that afterward, like you mentioned, you may be at risk for a stroke.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: oh, yeah, i’m not lying about beating tyson, nor is it that rare; when i was a kid some of my friend’s older brothers were better than me at these things and i’ve seen one of them beat contra three times straight on 3 total men. He bet us $10 (which four of us had to scrape up in change) that he could, and we laughed and laughed about what we were gonna buy with that $10, till he did it. It was the sickest video gaming i’ve ever seen.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @goodfold2: and when was that beer commercial from and how did you remember it to link it? i’m gonna guess like 1992? i do remember it (now that i saw it here), but i certainly wouldn’t have to go find it online.

      • Geoff

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @goodfold2: Hahaha I pictured four kids in BUM Equipment sweatshirts being very disappointed.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: i don’t think i had much of those, but you got the era exactly right. i think the guy who’s house this took place at wore those, and probably was that day.

  11. Catcher Fever says:
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    Bettis moved to Wed (only 1 start for the week vs Cards) and Shoemaker Tuesday (2 starts), no?

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Catcher Fever: Yeah saw that Bettis was pushed back, and it’s Shoemaker for Tuesday’s start I thought he might get skipped.

  12. Adam says:
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    Fowler , kemp,or lind at utility spot ROS?

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Adam: Still going Kemp even thought I’m high on Fowler

  13. Niceguybilly says:
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    Drop my stash of Iwakuma for Folty?
    Great read as always Ralph!

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Niceguybilly: ohhh tough because Iwakuma is probably a few weeks away. I’d say that if you’re such dire straits that you need a win this week….. go for it. If you can wait two then do it.

  14. Natty Boh says:
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    Love the themes!

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Natty Boh: Thanks for reading Boh!

  15. J-FOH says:
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    Your themes make this post much more enjoyable. I was always partial to soda popinski

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J-FOH: me too I dug his whole style. Especially the way he put down the pops.

  16. Viv Savage says:
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    With the Mets dropping the 6 man rotation as well, looks like Syndergaard will draw two starts at home (vs. SF, vs ATL). What tier do you place him in?

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Viv Savage: Thor is a must start, I’d place him right after AJ Burnett

  17. Balls Deep says:
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    10team 6×5 (+OPS)

    Which side do you like?

    Cueto and Alex Rios for Gallo and Hosmer

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Balls Deep: Cueto side

  18. wjessereid says:
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    Would YOU sit Lester for Folty?

    2 from Syndergaard and one from deGrom round out my 5 starts.

    • Geoff

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @wjessereid: As much as I don’t like Lester this week I still start him over Folty. Tough to bench a starter of that caliber. Hence the I wish I could sit you.

  19. Hardinaka says:
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    The summer my dad passed away, my brother and I spent the entire season hiding out in the attic getting stoned and playing original nintendo.

    I managed to learn to hit a four-foot bong and beat Mike Tyson in the same summer. I have never done either one since; considering the investment both took, I’d say that’s a good thing.

    And no, I definitely never did both at the same time.

    That’s it. Love the column. Thanks!

  20. John says:
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    Would you go charlie morton over harang?

  21. chucky says:
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    Drop Ventura for Kennedy?

Comments are closed.