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Daily blurbs from the Guru
If this is your first visit to this site, you should first stop by my home page to find out what this site is all about. And please support this site's advertisers. They make free sites like this one possible.

Go forward to more recent blurbs.

4/30 - Johnny Cueto, welcome to the major leagues.

Rafael Betancourt, welcome to c-losing in Cleveland.

Well, at least I didn’t have both of them on the same team anywhere. But I did have each of them somewhere. Ugh. On the bright side, at least I’m not Roger Clemens.

The big hitter last night was Scott Hairston, with 2 homers, 3 runs, and 3 RBIs. He now has a total of 137 TSNP for the season, and yet 132% of those fantasy points came in just four games. From April 1-3, he racked up 104 TSNP. Since then (until last night), he appeared in 21 games, hitting .132 over that span, with 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs. And then last night’s outburst. Consider that before rushing to pick him up.

The Wachovia Championship tees off early tomorrow morning. A lot of GuruGolf teams still have roster adjustments to make. Don’t forget!

4/29 - The NBA East supposedly lacked depth, and the Celtics and Pistons were supposedly the two best teams by a longshot, destined to play for the Eastern Conference title, and each capable of winning it all. But so far, they are each knotted at 2-2, turning each series into a best of three. It still seems likely that they’ll both survive. But neither series would have been expected to last 6 or 7 games.

The first month of the baseball season is almost over (or maybe it is over, since the season really started on March 25). So while there is plenty of time for turnarounds, some trends have started to gain some stability. And one of those relates to the best matchups for opposing starters. Using either TSN or RotoHog scoring, Washington and San Francisco seem to have the early lead. Both teams are allowing opposing starters to average more than 60 TSNP per start, and both are allowing opposing starters to average more than 5 RHP per IP. To put those averages into perspective, last year (2007), no team allowed opposing starters to average more than 50 TSNP/G, and no team allowed more than 3.7 RHP/IP. So maybe this year’s outliers will still come back to the pack. But you could do a lot worse than simply picking up anyone who faces the Nats or the Giants – at least so far.

While neither S.F. or Washington seems like a surprise at that end of the rankings, the toughest team to face does surprise me. It’s not even an American League team. Check out the current rankings (scroll to the bottom). The top four are all N.L. teams: Arizona, the Cubs, Atlanta, and the Mets. And the toughest A.L. team for opposing starters has been Tampa Bay. Who knew!?

By the way, I can’t resist pointing out that you won’t find those stats on either the TSN or RotoHog game sites.

4/28 - If the Shaq and Kidd trades were countermeasures to the Lakers acquisition of Gasol, it looks like they’ll fall short of the objective. Both Phoenix and Dallas now go on the road down 3-1. I guess Shawn Marion had to be moved anyway, but do you think the Mavs might rather have Devin Harris back right about now?

In GuruGolf, kudos to the Medford Mustangs with the top bestball score of -41. On the worst ball side, downward dog surged to the tourney best +55 on the strength of a final round +19.

Johnny Cueto got the early-April hype, but teammate Edinson Volquez has actually blown him away for the first month of the season. Volquez notched his 4th win yesterday, and sports an ERA of 1.23 with an identical WHIP. Cueto, meanwhile, has come back to earth after his quick start out of the gate, with a record of only 1-2 and an ERA of 4.05. Cueto’s WHIP is still a gaudy 0.87, but that’s still getting a significant benefit from his opening one-hit outing. Cueto is still regarded as having better stuff, but Volquez has had the better results so far.

Weather could be a baseball factor today, with steady rains forecast in the northeast for the next two days. The Mets are at home tonight (Santana on the mound vs. Pitt), and the Red Sox start a home series tomorrow (vs. Toronto). Rain could also impact some games in the midwest today (NYY@Cle, Bal@CWS, and Cin@StL). If players from any of those teams factor into your plans, be prepared for delays or postponements.

4/25 - Cliff Lee? Who knew?

Or as Gurupie Dave R said to me this morning, “Who does he think he is, Whitey Ford?”

Actually, I doubt if Whitey Ford ever sported an ERA of 0.28, and a WHIP of 0.41. If you’ve got him, enjoy the ride. In the five RIBC leagues, he was completely undrafted. Kudos if you nabbed him off the free agent list early on. As a Tribe fan, I hope he continues. As a realist, I figure there’s a mean reversion coming sooner than later. And if he really reverts to his mean, it will be very mean. His ERA over the past three years was 4.52, and his WHIP was 1.35.

Chase Utley is doing to the hitting field what Lee is doing to the pitchers. He’s got almost 100 TSNP more than the second ranked hitter (Hanley Ramirez). And among second baseman, he’s 75% ahead of #2 (Dustin Pedroia). But even he hasn’t amassed as many fantasy points as Lee.

4/24 - Detroit erupted for 19 runs against Texas last night. After surrendering 14 hits and 10 walks, Texas manager Ron Washington commented that they “threw too many pitches over the plate” – which seems like a curious remark after walking 10 batters.

In GuruGolf, the popular favorite this week is Justin Leonard, on almost 42% of all foursomes. He was also the most widely owned golfer last week, but his ownership is up 50% since then. This week’s runnerup, Briny Baird, is only on half as many teams.

By the way, I still haven’t sent out emails to the prize winners for the first GuruGolf contests. I’ve just been preoccupied with other things. I’ll try to get those out in the next week. Thanks for your patience.

4/23 - Gabe Gross had an interesting night. In the bottom of the 12th, he walked, stole second, and scored the winning run for Milwaukee. And then he was promptly informed that he had been traded to Tampa Bay. I guess that’s one way to leave on a high note.

Gross had the opportunity for his extra inning heroics because closer Eric Gagne racked up his major league leading 4th blown save. To be fair, he also leads the majors in save opportunities (10). But with an 8.31 ERA and a WHIP in excess of 1.60, you wonder why the Brewers would want to bring him into a save situation.

The EDS Byron Nelson Championship tees off tomorrow morning. The highest ranked entrant (in the World Golf Rankings) is Adam Scott at #10, but the field does include 30 golfers with 4-digit GuruGolf prices, so there’s plenty of recognizable names to choose from. Get your lineups set!

4/22 - Some things just never seem to change from year to year. For example, Ben Sheets has gotten off to a hot start this year, and actually ranks #1 in total fantasy points for both TSN and RotoHog. And – as usual - he’ll miss his next scheduled start due to a sore triceps. This doesn’t sound like a serious, longer-term problem. But with Sheets, it’s hard to discount any ache or pain.

On the hitting side, Chase Utley has surged into the early point lead on the strength of six home runs over the past 5 days. He was my first round pick (and #6 overall) in the RIBC draft this year, and so far, so good.

But it’s too early to celebrate and it’s too early to lapse into despair. It’s only April 22. The season is only 12% complete. Boston doesn’t have a corner on the Marathon market. Fantasy baseball is one, too.

4/21 - If the place looks a little different, it’s because I resequenced the left menu to put baseball on top, now that the NBA regular season is over. But before I put hoops in moth balls, I should pass along congrats to a few champions:

  • Mike D, who won a fiercely contested RIHC, becoming the first two-time winner of that league. (He also won in 2005-06.)
  • dpr, who won the TSN Ultimate Hoops championship
  • tothreeball, who claimed the title in the RotoHog NBASE game.
It’s no coincidence that the winners of the two salary cap games were both active users of the RotoGuru site – and that the leaderboards of both games are peppered with regular Gurupies. You don’t absolutely need to use this site to excel in those games. But it must help, as year after year, the dominant players in both games always seem to be recognizable names around here.

In GuruGolf, Bo Weekley found his way onto 36 teams last weekend. Sadly, none were mine. Congrats to Kyllo with the top bestball score of -48, and to Concho Valley Forgers, whose +51 topped the worst ball scoring.

4/15 - The NBA Eastern Division playoffs are all set in stone. Indiana’s loss in Washington knocked them out of the race, and several other games nailed down the relative seedings.

In the West, the teams are settled, but not a single seeding has yet been finalized – although two games tonight involving the Lakers and the Hornets could settle the top seed – or not. So it’s difficult to assess just what the final day motivations will be for Western teams to trot out key players.

In baseball, Zack Greinke threw a complete game 5-hitter in Seattle, notching his third win of the season. Randy Johnson fared reasonably well in his season debut, pitching 5 innings, fanning 7, and allowing only 3 hits and no earned runs. The Dback bullpen let him down, however. And speaking of bullpen letdowns, Joe Borowski gave up three 9th-inning runs to hand Boston a 6-4 come-from-behind win, while Takashi Saito duplicated the feat vs. the Pirates several hours later. C-Losers!

I’ll be away from RotoGuru World headquarters for the next few days, taking my daughter on a college visit swing through eastern New England (Tufts, B.C., Stonehill, Rhode Island College, and Salve Regina.) So I’ll skip the blurbs for the rest of the week. Behave while I’m away!

4/14 - Trevor Immelman is one of the golfers I considered in GuruGolf last week. That was based entirely on his price fit, and not on his expected prowess. But I went elsewhere, given that he had only made 2 cuts out of 6 GuruGolf events this year.


Curiously, Sunday was not really so much about Immelman; it was about Tiger, and his continued failure to make the back-nine charge that almost everyone expected him to make. And clearly, the toonament was within his reach. He just didn’t have the karma working as it usually does in those moments.

Or maybe he just can’t come from behind.

Kudos to the GuruGolf prize winners for the Masters:
Best ball: Sombrero (-43) [Watson, Slocum, Immelman, Appleby]
Worst ball: McNultys (+58) [Furyk, Rose, Toms, Lyle]
And now we move on to the next in-season contest, the 8-week “Spring to the Open.” If your season has gotten off to a dismal start (as mine has), here’s a chance to regroup.

We’re down to the final 3 days of the NBA season. Denver has the upper hand in the race for the final playoff spot in the West, needing only a win on Wednesday over Memphis, or a Golden State loss in one of their final two. Tonight, the Warriors play at Phoenix, and if they don’t win, I’d expect Denver to rest their regulars on Wednesday, including Marcus Camby, who has already appeared in a career high 78 games this season. (That’s got to be one of the big surprises of the season.) In the East, Atlanta needs only one win or one Indy loss to secure the final postseason berth. The Pacers play at Washington tonight, so that race might be over before Atlanta takes the court again.

4/11 - Like Dave Trembley, it was a long day for me too. I probably spent at least 3-4 hours cumulatively on hold waiting to speak with the tech support staff at my server hosting company, trying to figure out the prognosis for recovery. I don’t blame them, of course. It was a long day for them too.

Nothing like a day with no server to make you realize how much you depend on it, eh? Making lineup decisions without the sortable stats or the Assimilator? Following the Masters with no GuruGolf team tracking? No diversions at the forum? Aye carumba!

So far, today has been a refreshing return to normalcy. Hopefully it stays that way. At a minimum, the weather forecast in server country looks good.

Fred Couples was the most popular golfer on GuruGolf foursomes this week, but only by a whisker, as he, Justin Leonard, and Padraig Harrington are each on about 18% of all active rosters. Tiger Woods only appears on 7%. And of the total field of 94 golfers, only five failed to appear on any GuruGolf team, the most notable being Ian Poulter, who aced the 16th hole (but did little else of note).

4/10 - The rotoguru1 server was offline for about 16 hours today due to a storm-related power outage at the hosting facility in Bedford, Texas.

Hopefully, all functions have now been restored.

4/9 - Johnny Cueto’s second start was almost as solid as his first, surrendering 2 runs in 6.1 IP, with 8 Ks and (once again) no walks. Unfortunately for him, the Reds didn’t back him up with enough runs. Fortunately for him, Brewers closer Eric Gagne blew the save. Curiously, both of Gagne’s blown saves this year have still resulted in wins for Milwaukee.

The Masters tees off at 8am EDT tomorrow morning. This is the tenth tournament in the GuruGolf season, and now that we have nine in the books, I decided to activate “Mulligan Scoring” in the standings. For the full season championship scoring, each team is given one “Mulligan” week, effectively throwing out the lowest score of the season. However, major tournaments are not eligible for Mulligans. If you position the mouse cursor over the Season Total score for any team in the GuruGolf Standings, you should be able to see the week and the score that has been ignored (so far). Mulligan scoring is only applied when the “Start with” field shows “Entire Season”. If you want to see the full season standings without Mulligans, you can set the “Start Week” to be the AT&T Pebble Beach tournament.

4/8 - All season long, the Achilles heel for Memphis has been touted to be suspect free throw shooting. And when push came to shove, it was. You can point to any number of other factors that could have changed the outcome, but it’s hard to dispute that one more made FT down the stretch was probably all they needed. Kudos to Kansas, though, for capitalizing.

Congrats to beerhunters2, champion of the Market Madness Contest, and also to wolfer, with the best result excluding basket units. Tentatively, the Best Possible score was 690, although it’s possible that something slightly higher is achievable. Let me know if you find a way to produce a higher score.

Contest prize winners will be notified by email within the next week.

4/7 - When Ben Sheets is healthy, he’s one of the game’s elite starters. But there’s the rub. So far this year, he has allowed 7 hits and no runs in 15 IP. If past is prologue, expect him to be on the DL by the end of the month. But if you have him on your roster, enjoy it for as long as you can.

Kudos to poker pro#1 for producing the best GuruGolf score for the Shell Houston Open (-50). Worst ball scoring honors were shared by two teams. And we also have our first contest winners to announce. For the “March to the Masters” contest covering the first nine weeks of the GuruGolf season, the best ball winner is Liters2 and the worst ball winner is WB-jeffG.

As is customary for the night of the NCAA men’s basketball championship, the NBA is on hiatus today. Then we begin the final stretch drive, with only eight game days left in the regular season. If you’re looking for players on teams that still have strong incentives to win, look no further than Dallas, Denver, and Golden State.

4/4 - You never know how rookie phenoms are going to do when they first pitch in the majors. Reds rookie Johnny Cueto wasn’t expect to make the major league staff when spring training began, but he showed enough potential – and others, including Homer Bailey, faltered – prompting the Reds to elevate him to the bigs. His spring results weren’t all great, as Tampa Bay reached him in late March for five runs on three hits and five walks in just two-thirds of an inning. But in search of finding “lightning in a bottle” (as long-time Gurupie Dave R described it to me), I drafted him onto two of my three roto teams this year, and also had him on a couple of TSN teams yesterday. So far, so good. Of course, he could still crap out and be back in the minors by May Day – but for now, I’m going to enjoy the moment. And I’m sure Cueto is, too.

If you’re playing TSN Ultimate baseball this season, check out the new player ownership tables at the game site. Until two years ago, this type of data was generally provided only by outsiders. Last year, TSN clamped down on the external generation of this info, and instead produced a lightweight version that was not nearly as useful as what managers had been used to. But this year, they got it right. I don’t know why they have been so protective of this info in the past – but I’m glad to see the improved transparency. Hopefully, the approach will transfer over to their other sports as well.

If you are playing RotoHog baseball, you know that their game has gotten off to a rocky start, with a number of system glitches, including one yesterday that was so severe that they had to simply shut the game down for the day and void all game results for the day as well. From all outward appearances, they failed to adequately test the systems, leaving them forced to make too many adjustments on the fly. This all would have been reasonable to expect last year, when they first launched. I really expected a better performance this year. Yes, I know they’re trying. Very.

4/3 - Brandon Lyon joined the growing list of cLoser implosions last night, surrendering a walk-off 3-run HR to Edwin Encarnacion after Encarnacion failed to execute a sacrifice bunt on his first two strikes. Not to be outdone, Trevor Hoffman also surrendered a 3-run walkoff to Lance Berkman.

The Assimilator roster copy function has now been activated for the TSN games. As far as I know, it’s working properly, but please report any apparent glitches.

In GuruGolf, this is the final week for the first in-season contest, the “March to the Masters”. Joe Durant continues as the popular favorite, again on slightly more than half of all foursomes.

4/2 - Every MLB team now has at least one game in the books. And so far, no player has put up that early monster result that screams “pick me up!” And thus, the first day of TSN Salary Cap price changes were pretty tame.

If you have baseball roster moves to make today, be aware that three games are scheduled for this afternoon. The earliest start is the KC/Detroit game at 1:05pm EDT. Don’t get tripped up by waiting until it’s too late!

The Shell Houston Open tees off tomorrow morning. For some, golfers, this is the tune up week for the Masters. But for many Masters golfers, it’s another week off. Among the 10 top golfers in the current World Golf Ranking, only Mickelson, Stricker, Adam Scott, and K.J. Choi are in this week’s field.

4/1 - The new MLB season is now really underway. And we have all sorts of leading indicators – and misleading indicators – to digest. Probably more of the latter than the former. But in many cases, we won’t know for at least a week or so.

It wasn’t a particularly good day for many closers. There were at least six blown saves, and a few others with similar impacts (e.g., see Wood, Kerry). Eric Gagne got a gift win after blowing a 3-run lead against the Cubs. I can’t document it, but I think I heard the TV announcers say that this was the first time Gagne had ever blown a save when he had a full 3-run lead. If so, Red Sox fans will find that hard to believe.

All of the baseball pages are now operational. I’m not currently aware of any glitches – but I’d be amazed if there aren’t some. Feel free to report anything that looks like it needs to be fixed. There are simply too many avenues for me to inspect on my own. I do know that the ability to copy a roster from TSN into the Assimilator still need to be implemented, but with the format change at the TSN site, that will take a little work – so you might have to wait a few days for that feature to be re-installed.

2008: March . . . February . . . January

2007: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2006: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2005: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2004: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2003: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2002: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2001: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2000: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

1999: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

1998: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March

RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<>.

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