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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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Go forward to more recent blurbs.

4/30 - If baseball gave out an “MVP of the day” award, Yovani Gallardo would have been a shoo-in. Kansas City’s Billy Butler might have been a solid #2, going 4-5 with 4 runs, 4 RBIs, and 2 homers, but KC won 11-3, so that performance wasn’t nearly as “valuable”. And Zack Greinke was finally touched for 2 earned runs, raising his ERA from zero to 0.50.

The popular golfers in GuruGolf are both carryovers from last week, with Charles Howell III and Nick Watney topping the popularity contest. Woody Austin is the only other golfer within shouting distance, although 119 different golfers are represented on at least one roster this weekend.

4/29 - The Celtics-Bulls playoff series went to its record third OT in just 5 games. Crazy. With Boston’s roster depleted, it’s a wonder they can survive with all these extra minutes. Then again, they haven’t survived yet.

The top two pitching performances yesterday came from each end of a twin bill in Chicago, with Bartolo Colon taking the opener, and Felix Hernandez topping him in the nightcap. They were originally supposed to face each other, but when Monday’s game was washed out, the Sox swapped Colon to the first game, with Danks pushed back to the second. I guess it worked.

Meanwhile, Phil Hughes gave the Yankees six shutout innings, probably extending Chien Ming Wang’s stint on the disabled list.

With Hughes and Wandy Rodriguez both posting strong outings for my RIBC team, you’d think I would have had a strong overall pitching night. I did get those two wins, at least. But unfortunately, I also started Anthony Reyes against Boston, and my other active pitchers all had weak nights as well. Net result: 5.91 ERA, 1.69 WHIP. I guess I should be thankful it wasn’t worse.

The Quail Hollow Championship tees off early tomorrow morning. Get your GuruGolf lineups ready!

4/28 - So much for the tremendous home court advantage factor in the NBA. Just ask New Orleans, who lost by 58 at home.

In baseball, the top offensive performance may have been from Dexter Fowler, but it wasn’t coming from his bat. Fowler stole 5 bases, which accounted for 2/3rds of his TSNP, and probably more of his standard roto value. Of course, you had to have him in your lineup to get that value. I’ll venture that not many did. Fowler wasn’t the only Rockie (or is it “Rocky”) to be running last night, as three others also swiped bases – all off the Padre battery of C.Young/N.Hundley.

If you’re looking for a convenient batter vs. pitcher tool, try this one out. Click on the link for a given day, and see the career matchup stats. (Give it about 30 seconds to fully load.) From there, you can also link to the individual hitter pages at ESPN. The matchups are based on ESPN’s probable starters. For daily contests like Draft Bug, this can be a helpful resource, but it can also be a guide if you’re trying to decide between alternatives on your roto team.

4/27 - On one of the baseball telecasts I was watching yesterday, someone commented that the season is now about 10% over, which means that 90% remains to be played. So no matter how poorly your team has started, there’s still plenty of time to turn it around. And vice versa. Keep plugging away.

The most popular GuruGolfers took widely divergent paths this weekend. Nick Watney failed to make the cut, while Charles Howell III finished second. Congrats to best ball medalist Swing and A Miss (-53), who had both golfers, while four different teams tied for the the top worst ball score of +45.

I did some minor tweaking of the items in the left menu, adding sortable stats links for Draft Bug and playSPEX. In addition, the page of yesterday’s points now includes Draft Bug points as well - and, of course is sortable on any scoring system.

4/24 - Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than smart. Maybe all the time.

Yesterday was living proof. I’ve been nibbling at various daily contests at Draft Bug, with mixed success so far. In baseball, I’ve generally been entering $1 contests which pay prizes to the top 3 out of 10 entrants. Based on dart throwing, the odds suggest that I should expect to recover only 90 cents of every dollar entered. But since some of these contests haven’t filled with all 10, and since I’m hubristically assuming that I’m smarter than the average bear (an assumption for which I have no compelling evidence to substantiate), I’m willing to venture a buck a day for the entertainment value, if nothing else. In any event, yesterday I noticed that a right-handed flyball pitcher, David Bush, was starting in hitter-friendly Philadelphia, and the weather forecast showed that the wind would be blowing out toward right field. So I dutifully loaded up on left-handed sluggers like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins. Of course, Bush then proceeded to pitch a near no-hitter, and I finished dead last in the pool.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been paying the new playSPEX game with great success so far. I had initially planned to start Felix Hernandez, but after excessive analysis, I decided to skip that start, based on a strong opposing starter (James Shields) and the ability to manipulate my lineup to fit in Tim Lincecum instead. (This lineup was for a 2-day period.) However, Alzheimer’s took its toll, and I forgot to remove King Felix from my lineup before he was locked in. So he then proceeded to pitch 7 shutout innings and win a 1-0 game. Now, Lincecum may do even better today, so I’m not declaring victory yet – but it sure is nice when mental errors turn out so well.

4/23 - I’m late with today’s blurb – again – but when there are early baseball games, I have to make most of my lineup decisions in the morning, which pushes everything else back. I need a staff! At least the weather outlook looks pretty benign across the board, so I don’t have that complication to factor in.

CC Sabathia suffered another disappointing outing yesterday, although at least he got enough run support to be spared a loss. His stats don’t suggest a totally disastrous April (yet), with an ERA of 4.81 and a WHIP of 1.60. In fact, that’s way better that his early results last year, in Cleveland (see 4/17 blurb). Still, I wonder if he’s wishing that he had stayed in the more pitcher-friendly National League? Obviously, there’s plenty of time to turn it all around, but I’m sure the Yankees – and every fantasy team that drafted him this year – are getting antsy.

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans teed off this morning, and the weather outlook looks good for the whole weekend of golf as well. After a brief respite, Charles Howell III is once again the popular GuruGolf favorite, on about 35% of all foursomes. Nick Watney is a very close second, on just two fewer squads.

4/22 - There are a bunch of day games today. Don’t get caught off guard!

We finally heard from Ryan Braun last night. In TSNP terms, last night’s 85 more than doubled his previous YTD total. If you drafted him in the first round of your roto league, you must be feeling better about it today.

On the other hand if you had Ryan Doumit, it’s time to scramble. With a fractured bone in his right wrist, he’s expected to miss 8-10 weeks of action. If you’re in a deep league, I hope you already have a backup catcher. I do own him in a very deep league, and unfortunately, my backup catcher was Jeff Clement – which is no help for now. Scavenging the free agent list for a replacement was no fun.

GuruGolf continues tomorrow with the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. There have been a few recent withdrawals, so be sure to check your foursome if you set it earlier in the week.

4/21 - Of the four games that looked to be in weather jeopardy last night, 2 were washed out, one was delayed but played, and the other was completed without delay. AND that latter game – Florida at Pittsburgh, produced the top pitching and hitting game of the day, with

Ross Ohlendorf blanking the Marlins on just 2 hits over 7 innings, while Nate McLouth backed him with 2H, 2R, 4RBI, 1 HR, and a SB.

You may have seen this story yesterday on PTI (or elsewhere), but it’s too priceless to pass up. Check out the spelling on the uniforms worn by Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman on Sunday night.
No, there’s no letter “O” hidden under the flap. Just a major league screw-up. Or maybe the uniform designer decided that the Nats would put enough 0’s on the scoreboard this year, making the letter superfluous on uniforms as well.

I see that TSN finally has player ownership tables posted at their site. On the pitching side, Josh Johnson looks poised to be an expensive proposition for those hoping to hold him for his next start. He actually didn’t pitch that badly on Saturday, except for that pesky 5-run first inning. But as the most highly owned player, this may be one of those times when it’s best to simply get out of the way and wait for the ownership situation to hit a plateau. Hitter ownership trends can turn quickly, but with the 5-day pitcher pricing cycle, he’s got all the ingredients for a tough week, regardless of his next performance. Forewarned is forearmed!

4/20 - There are seven MLB games scheduled today. One starts this morning, and the Boston weather forecasts suggests that the early start might be necessary to beat the bad weather. Of the other 6 games, four look iffy. If you’re looking for safe weather plays today, stick with the games in Houston and Arizona.

I was listening to Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio this morning, and they were making a big deal of the baseballs jumping out of Yankee Stadium this weekend. Last year, the old Yankees Stadium yielded 160 home runs. This year, the new stadium is currently “on pace” to surrender 400 jacks. With all due respect, ... there have been only four games played in the new stadium! Calm down. Give it a month or two, and then we’ll decide if that stadium requires a special color coding in the schedule grid. But extrapolating a full season of any stat after just four games is lunacy.

Speaking of lunacy, Brian Gay’s weekend performance was rather looney. He lapped the field, finishing at -20, a full ten strokes better than the runner up. So it’s not surprising that the best GuruGolf foursome of the weekend had him: philflyboy2 (-48). Curiously, the top two worst ball scores were posted by the same manager (+49), but with completely different foursomes: TD1 and TD2 - and he had a third unique foursome only one stroke back!

4/17 - As a life long Indians fan, starting the season 2-7 isn’t a very hopeful sign. But taking game #10 with a 10-2 rout over the Yankees in the new stadium opener feels pretty good. Encore!

The baseball season is only 13 days old, but already some trends have developed, and some of them have even begun to reverse. For example, no one opened the season hotter than Emilio Bonifacio. He produced 93 TSNP in his opening game. He followed that up with 20+ TSNP in each of his next four games. And his TSN price behaved accordingly. But since then, he has totaled -13 TSNP in four games, only one of which generated a positive number. Mean reversions tend to happen, and when they happen early in April, they can be especially mean. If you own him in the TSN Ultimate game, watch out below!

Last year’s A.L. Cy Young winner finally notched his first win yesterday. The 75 TSNP earned for that exploit reversed negatives in Cliff Lee’s two earlier starts. But if you drafted him in a roto league, he’s still sporting a 6.75 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP. April woes can really magnify a pitcher’s ratios. But that can be overcome. Just ask CC Sabathia, who emerged from April 2008 with a 7.87 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP. He recovered quite nicely. Meanwhile, the returning NL Cy Young winner still hasn’t posted a positive TSNP in two starts. He’s no doubt hoping for a Cliff-Lee-like reversion when he goes against Arizona tomorrow.

4/16 - It’s finally over!

For much of the world, the real NBA season doesn’t start until the playoffs begin. But for most fantasy hoops action, the regular season is the only show. And the last week of the season can be one of the most frustrating, with some teams resting players for the playoffs, and others giving extra time to bench players just to see what they might be able to contribute next year.

The Cavs might have provided the most surprising result last night, taking Philly to overtime before losing by a single point. Four starters sat it out – LeBron, Mo Williams, Ilgauskas, and Joe Smith. And they still almost beat a playoff team. There was some speculation that Cleveland actually preferred to “let” Philly move up to the #6 seed, just so Boston would have to face the Bulls in the first round, presumably a tougher matchup. Who knows? If they did, it worked, and Chicago did its part by getting thumped by Toronto.

Kudos to the champion of the RIHC, Luebeck Eagles (a.k.a., Florian), who cruised to the title in a league that featured a ridiculously close battle for the runner up spots. Not long ago, only a few points separated second place from 11th place, and only 1.5 points separated 2nd from 7th going into the final night. I’ve never been in a league that tightly contested, and it’s a tribute to the depth of talent of the managers in the league.

By the way, if you wonder what RIHC stands for, check the link. Too funny! (I didn’t plant it there – it must have been picked up by some automated web crawler.) On to golf. The popular GuruGolfer for the Veritage Heritage is Rory McIlroy, only just under 25% of all foursomes. Jim Furyk is a close second. Both are holdovers from the Masters.

4/15 - The NBA season ends tonight, and some key players look to get anywhere from zero to minimal minutes. I’m not going to advise you, because this day is always fraught with surprises. I will point out that Houston, Portland, and San Antonio are all in a battle for the 3-5 seeds in the West, with the loser missing out on home court advantage in round one. So those teams would seem to have a pretty strong incentive to go all out. But after that, it’s not clear that any other playoff teams have a meaningful upside tonight, especially with Utah claiming the 8th seed in the West. Sometimes, the best options on this day are to go with teams that are out of the playoff picture. But even some of them could be trying out lesser-used guys in anticipation of next season. So there are no sure bets.

The Verizon Heritage tees off tomorrow morning in Hilton Head. This is also the first event in the next GuruGolf contest, the “Spring to the Open” contest. So if you skipped the opening weeks of GuruGolf to focus on Hoops, this might be a good time to get started. Coveted RotoGuru-logo golf balls are up for grabs!

4/14 - Mark Fidrych certainly had the metaphoric 15 minutes of fame. In 1976, he was virtually the face of the game. By 1977, things were already going downhill, mostly attributable to knee and then rotator cuff injuries. I remember him well – but I realize that many who follow this site know him only from the history books, or perhaps from ESPN Classic. And he was certainly a classic. His untimely death is particularly poignant to me, as he was exactly eight months younger than I am.

There are three NBA games tonight. Good luck in figuring out who the top producers will be. The first game is a preview of the opening round Miami at Atlanta playoff series. But it will be nothing like a preview, I’m sure, as both teams will rest some starters, and neither team will give a glimpse of what to expect this weekend.

Tomorrow will offer some more options, however. While the situation in the Eastern Conference is pretty settled (other than perhaps the relative 6/7 seeding between Philly and Chicago), the West has a lot at stake. As best I can tell, Houston, Portland, and San Antonio are all playing for the 3-5 seeds, with the loser failing to get home court advantage in the first round, and the winner getting to avoid the Lakers until the 3rd round. And if Utah can beat the Lakers tonight, then the 8th seed is still available to either New Orleans or Dallas. I’m sure none of them want to face the Lakers in round 1.

4/13 - Kenny Perry seemed to be on cruise control, when suddenly he started hitting approach shots like I do – hitting everything but the green. It was as though after 70 holes, he ran out of gas. But I suspect he just fell victim to thinking too much. The golf course is no place to be thinking. At least, thinking about golf.

Congrats to the GuruGolf Masters prize winners:
Best ball: Birdie binge (-48)
Worst ball: Long Island Bytes (+55)

I activated mulligan scoring in the GuruGolf standings this weekend. For the full season competition, each team gets to throw out its worst weekly result - except that major tournament scores cannot be excluded. For more details, see the news page at the GuruGolf site.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are now just one win shy of tying the NBA record for home court record, a record they would share with the 85-86 Celtics. That last home game is the final game of the regular season, against Philly, a game that is likely to have no other playoff implications for the Cavs – unless they fail to win in Indy tomorrow night. It could still have seeding implications for the Sixers, however. It will be interesting to see whether they decide to give LeBron some extra rest. He hasn’t played as many as 40 minutes in any of his last seven games, although he has still generally been in the mid-to-upper 30s, so it’s not as though they’re sitting him that much extra. My guess is that if they need him to win, he’ll play; if the game seems under control, he take the extra rest.

4/10 - Chad Campbell found his way onto 31 GuruGolf rosters this week, the sixth most widely owned golfer. So 31 teams are enjoying the “toonament” so far. And Campbell doesn’t look like he’s going to be a one-round tease, as he’s already -4 through ten holes. His early success may be a mixed blessing, though, as he could screw up the cut line if he continues strong. The field is cut to the top 44 plus ties, plus anyone within 10 strokes of the leader. As of now, it doesn’t look like Campbell is going to let any more than 44 (plus ties) survive.

Yesterday, I re-introduced the Assimilator capability to copy in rosters from the TSN site. Slowly but surely, I’m getting the site fully equipped for baseball.

Enjoy the Easter weekend.

4/9 - We’re getting there. The yesterday’s points page for baseball is now in production for the TSN and RotoHog games, and since playSPEX uses the same point formula as RotoHogo, it’s useful for that game as well. I hope to add playSPEX prices and Draft Bug points sometime soon.

The Masters is off and running. Nick Watney is the popular favorite in GuruGolf, on about 20% of all active rosters. But he’s on only one more team than Greg Norman, with Couples, Ogilvy, and Mickelson only two behind that. All told, 83 different golfers are represented, leaving only seven listed golfers “unsponsored” this weekend: Goggin, Katayama, Lyle, Mize, Player, Sabbatini, and Craig Stadler. I might have expected a few of those names to show up on worst ball squads. But gone are the days (presumably) when someone like Billy Casper could really light up a worst ball scorecard.

4/8 - It’s “Hell Week” at RotoGuru World Headquarters. The 10-day overlap between the NBA and MLB seasons creates a significant drain on resources (a.k.a., me). The issue is compounded this year with TSN’s redesigned site – which creates a need for me to rewrite some software. Add in the Masters tournament for GuruGolf, and some extra personal time related to Holy Week, and I feel like the world is spinning out of control. So if some processing seems delayed (or even screwed up) over the next week, chalk it up to my addled brain.

I am slowly making progress. The baseball player pages are now providing daily detail. I still have to set up the daily “Yesterday’s points” page, and I also have to configure the Assimilator to be able to import rosters directly from the TSN site. There are still some formatting issues to resolve on several reports as well. I’ll get there eventually.

The Masters tees off tomorrow morning at 8am ET. I hope to have GuruGolf live scoring working ASAP, but Major tournaments always create some additional headaches, so once again, bear with me if results are delayed or botched.

Back to the salt mines…

4/7 - Market Madness certainly had an odd finish. The grand prize winner not only shorted the tournament winner, but he also shorted the #1 seeds and the ACC. So he was short North Carolina 3 times. I don’t ever recall that happening!

I took a shot at assembling the Best Possible Score for 2009. It may be possible to eke out a few more points than 679 – let me know if you can. Here is the listing of all unit returns. The best long turned out to be the #3 seed basket, while the best short was the #5 seeds. And the ACC Basket was actually one of the 10 best shorts, in spite of including the tournament champ.

On to baseball.

I got “Motted” on a bunch of teams yesterday, in multiple formats. Yikes! For old timers, it was reminiscent of getting “Ramoned” many years back – although not quite as devastating.

Sortable stats are now updated for all covered formats. There are still a few formatting issues to improve, but I think the data is all correct. The Assimilator is also updated. Player pages will be updated shortly. The “yesterday’s points” pages are not yet available. I’ll get there eventually. Thanks for your patience.

4/4 - Opening day. Already, I’m getting bogged down trying to load my opening TSN rosters, due to s-l-o-w server TSN response. Seems to be a recurring opening day theme for them.

I’ve got a lot of baseball processing to set up today, since we have our first actual stats to process. So I’m not going to spend much time blurbing today.

But I need to call attention to the GuruGolf results. First, congrats to the top results for the Shell Houston open: two teams shared best ball honors with a score of -47, while the worst ball honors were taken by Drop One-WB with a +54. It’s always heartening when the top worst ball score comes from a team that was apparently trying to do just that!

This weekend also marked the completion of the “March to the Masters Contest”. BluesCrew took the best ball crown by one stroke, while Nuclear Gophers claimed a three shot margin for the worst ball prize. Winners will be contacted by email – but give me a few days to work through the baseball programming before I attend to that administrative task.

4/3 - Just a couple more days until the start of baseball season. Unless you’re drafting this weekend, you are now in hurry-up-and-wait mode. Salary cap team decisions must be made – although in the TSN and playSPEX games, you can wait until Monday to set your initial lineup. DraftBug contests start on Monday as well. If you’re laying in multiple formats, here’s hoping you’re a good multi-tasker!

Golf got off to a sluggish start yesterday, with several weather stoppages. As of this morning, some of the field hasn’t yet teed off for round 1. Hopefully, the bad weather doesn’t chase some golfers away prematurely. It’s never good when your foursome “voluntarily” becomes a threesome or twosome just because some of your golfers don’t want to stick around. Then again, those who bolt early are usually those who aren’t playing that well anyway.

I’ve still got to finish setting up the individual player pages for baseball. But I also have to get started on my tax return. Sounds like a busy weekend.

4/2 - There were a lot of fantasy points racked up in the NBA last night, mostly from guards. Ramon Sessions had a triple double, and seven other guards topped the 50 TSNP threshold, while only one non-guard managed to get to “fitty.”

Charles Howell III is once again the carryover favorite for the Shell Houston Open, appearing on almost 47% of all GuruGolf rosters. As of now, he has not been invited to next week’s Masters, although that would presumably change if he wins this week.

RotoHog baseball began market-based trading yesterday. I wasn’t paying attention – and I haven’t decided whether I’ll play that game at all this year, given the paltry prize structure vs. the amount of attention required to compete effectively – but it’s still interesting to see who the early market movers were, as that information may have relevance for other games. Check out the sortable stats, which will have RotoHog prices updated daily.

4/1 - I updated the available players and prices for all of the baseball games I cover in the sortable stats: TSN Salary Cap, RotoHog, Draft Bug, and playSPEX. Hopefully, they’re all up-to-date now. I have not yet integrated all of the price and position data into the individual player pages, however. Hopefully later this week. Certainly by the start of the season, when game details begin to generate.

Yesterday, I remarked that I might have too many trades to effectively use in TSN Ultimate Hoops, barring injuries. Silly me. Last night, Thaddeus Young promptly reminded me how quickly injuries develop. By Sunday, I’ll probably be tradeless.

The Shell Houston Open tees off tomorrow morning. Not only is this the tournament that precedes The Masters, but it is also the final event in the GuruGolf “March to the Masters” Contest. The standings are still very bunched up for both best and worst ball scoring. Coveted RotoGuru/GuruGolf logo golf balls hang in the balance!

2009: March . . . February . . . January

2008: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . 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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