As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.
Welcome to the “Wacky World of Sports!” I’m your host, Wax Winkingdale. This week we’ve got some weird, wild stuff for you. First up we’re catching up with a bit of silly from last month, when Andrew Cashner played left field for one batter in an extra-inning game for no real reason at all. Whoa, that Bud Black is one crazy guy! And really smart too. Much smarter than Tony LaRussa. [Ed. Note — With less drunk driving to boot!]
Next is more madcap fun from San Diego, where a dinosaur threw out the first pitch before a game last Wednesday against the Royals. And no it wasn’t Steve Garvey! So who was the catcher for this zany occasion? Why it was the Swinging Friar, the team’s mascot. And oh look, the baby T-Rex is on the attack – he heard Friar and got the wrong idea!
Perhaps the weirdest story of the week comes to us from Toronto, where fantasy experts continue to disrespect a pitcher with a 6-1 record, 1.91 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Regression, they INSIST, is coming for Mark Buehrle as certain as winter is coming for Jon Snow and everyone else in the Seven Kingdoms. One writer said this is because Buehrle is lucky, noting, among other things, his small Home Run to Fly Ball ratio, favorable FIP (Field Independent Pitching) rate and weak K/9 rate. So Buehrle is lucky because he gave up fly balls and not home runs? There’s no skill in that? Guess he was lucky when he threw a perfect game too. And, OKAY, Buehrle doesn’t get a ton of strike outs, and I guess good things are happening when balls that he throws are hit, and that maybe those good things won’t continue happening if balls continue to be hit and not missed by batters. Given all that, by the FIP measurement Buehrle’s ERA would be more in the All-Star zone (low 3’s) and not exactly Cy Young territory (under 2). I don’t think this did the best job of illustrating his point. I’m not really sure how much stock I put in something that looks like this anyway: “FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant.” Sounds like Mr. Kowalski’s boring-ass algebra class, not analysis of a sport. There’s a lot of writers a lot smarter than me who use these numbers to make valid points. There’s even more who wank off to print outs of these formulas in the same way that White Goodman rubs one out with a slice of pizza. Here’s my analysis: Buehrle has been excellent, and even though his track record indicates that this isn’t normal, it’s also very possible that he will have the career year the Blue Jays thought he was going to have when they splurged on free agents before the 2013 season. Or at least a career first half. I think we will know which way this is going to go after this week, as Buehrle draws the Angels at home and a trip to the gauntlet in Arlington.
Yes, he looks deflated, and yes, he failed to strike out even one Athletic in one half of the Mariners’ double-header against Oakland on Wednesday, but I’m shoving King Felix up here. The Rays also don’t strike out, and they have an above-average offense, but the game’s in Safeco. And then Minnesota, well, yeah. I think he gets 10-plus K’s in that one.
Jordan Zimmermann (@ARI, NYM), James Shields (COL, BAL), Gerrit Cole (@MIL, @NYY), Mark Buehrle (LAA, @TEX), Dan Haren (MIA, @ARI), Andrew Cashner (@CIN, @COL), Cliff Lee (LAA, CIN), Mike Leake (SD, @PHI), David Price (@SEA, @LAA)
I’m seeing a big week for Zimmermann against those soft opponents. Meanwhile, Shields’ ERA would be barely visible if not for his May 2 blow-up against the Tigers. His two-starts aren’t exactly pushovers offensively, but I think he’ll handle them OK.
Tom Koehler (@LAD, @SF), Danny Salazar (@TOR, OAK), Zack Wheeler (@NYY, @WAS), Tyler Lyons (CHC, ATL), Jacob Turner (@LAD, @SF), Travis Wood (@STL, MIL), Ubaldo Jimenez (DET, @KC), Gavin Floyd (@SF, @STL), Rick Porcello (@BAL, @BOS), Jesse Chavez (CWS, @CLE), R.A. Dickey (CLE, @TEX), Hiroki Kuroda (NYM, PIT), Marco Estrada (PIT, @CHC), Cesar Ramos (@SEA, @LAA)
If his name wasn’t Tom Koehler, Tom Koehler would be more than 80 percent owned in Yahoo and he’d be in my First Tier. As it is, I just can’t trust him. Not on the road, not just yet. Salazar’s last three starts have been much better, and this could be a corner-turning week.
Bud Norris (DET, @KC), Josh Collmenter (WAS, LAD), Ryan Vogelsong (ATL, MIA), Bartolo Colon (@NYY, @WAS), Jake Arrieta (@STL, MIL), Vidal Nuno (NYM, PIT), Bronson Arroyo (WAS, LAD), Colby Lewis (@HOU, TOR), Ricky Nolasco (BOS, SEA), Felix Doubront (@MIN, DET), John Danks (@OAK, @HOU)
There’s 12 guys in this tier. They are all the same guy, only with varying degrees of matchups. That’s how I ranked ’em. So have at it. Or don’t. I wouldn’t. Actually I just got this bad feeling about Doubront. Even though he hasn’t been horrid lately, and he should do swell in the start at Minny, I’m really worried about Detroit’s barrage of right-handed hitters.
Tim Lincecum (ATL, MIA)
No coincidence that, as I’m getting to Linecum, a Doors concert from 1968 is playing on VH1 Classic. This is the end, indeed. And, oh, if you’re looking for Brett Oberholtzer, he’s not here. He’s on his way to Oklahoma City, and it’s not to check out a Thunder playoff game. He’s been bumped by Scott Feldman, who has been activated and was very good for the ‘Stros last night, whiffing six Orioles in 6 IP.