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5/31 - By the end of the night, May will be over, and so will 32% of the baseball season. The good news is that, if your fantasy teams haven’t hit their stride yet, you still have 68% of the season to get on track. Teams who used high draft picks to get A-Rod, or Johan Santana, or Mark Teixeira, or Manny Ramirez, or David Ortiz – and the list goes on – have got to figure that those players are bound to pick up the pace over the next four months. Those who drafted Pujols, or Brandon Webb, or Alfonso Soriano, or Jim Thome, of Tom Glavine, or Mike Mussina – and the list goes on – have got to hope that the production of the first two months can continue. It’s not too late to turn a season around, and it’s also not too late to fritter away what appears to be a commanding lead.
I see that Josh Willingham actually attracted some buys in TSN Ultimate baseball yesterday. It can’t be his 0.0 TSNP/G average over the last 15 days that was the catalyst. It must be that some people have simply been chomping at the bit to get back in, and saw this as the opportunity to buy low. So far, they have a low price, -8 TSNP, and +$20K to show for it. Only time will tell whether this is the optimal time. But I don’t see the attraction yet. Of course, that could all change with one big game, I suppose. Something like Jose Castillo’s outburst in Pittsburgh last night would probably do it. (I wonder if that will get Castillo out of gravity?)
The Memorial Tournament tees off at 8am tomorrow morning, and about 100 GuruGolf rosters still need some attention. Don’t forget!
5/30 - At some point every season, I seem to migrate into a severe point-avoidance strategy in the TSN Ultimate game. Although my team has generally been terrible all season, since Saturday I’ve dropped players who have hit 4 HRs since their departure, replacing them with players who have a combined -19 TSNP. Although I am up +$790K on the exchanges, I’m down 162 TSNP. Is it worth it? Probably not – especially since the players I picked up are going to have to pick it up themselves, or else I’ll need to burn some more trades just to hang on to those gains. Oh well…
Josh Willingham certainly has gone from feast to famine in a hurry. Through May 15, he was hitting almost .300, slugging .560, and on pace for 30+ HRs and 130 RBI. Since then, he’s hitting and slugging only .214, with no extra base hits and only 3 RBIs. For six weeks, he was a ”must have”; now he’s a “why have”?
5/29 - At the outset, Sunday appeared to have a variety of attractive pitching options. At the end, only one pitcher managed to post a 3-digit TSNP score, and only three others had more than 70. It was one of those days when you wished you had forgotten to activate your starters.
PGA golfers had a similarly tough day. For this tournament, there were 1.5 over-par scores for every under-par hole. To put that into perspective, the Masters had roughly the same ratio. Last week’s event had a ratio of 0.88, and last year’s tournament at this same course had a 1.16 ratio. For GuruGolf, only seven teams managed to find negative double digits yesterday, and more than half of the top 20 teams failed to post a final round score better than -5. Which suggests that worst ball scoring was pretty impressive – and it was. This week’s Memorial Tournament is likely to revert to normal form. Last year’s event at Muirfield Village provided an excess of birdies, and two years ago the scales were relatively balanced.
5/26 - It was almost like one of those mismatch games you’d play as a kid. The favorite (Detroit) spots the underdog (Kansas City) 6 runs to start the game, just to try to make the contest more fair. In this case, however, 6 runs wasn’t nearly enough. Ten runs wouldn’t have been enough, although that would have made the end-game a little more interesting. Of course, that’s small consolation for those fantasy teams that had Mike Maroth starting. And what right-minded manager would have benched him for a start against the Royals?
I was looking at ballpark stats the other day, and noticed something surprising. According to ESPN, Coors Field ranks as a slightly pitcher-friendly park so far this year. Maybe it’s just a statistical anomaly based on a relatively small sample. Or perhaps the Rockies have typically been slumping at home and hitting on the road. They do have a slight advantage in W/L record at home, but the team has a .744 OPS at home vs. a .788 OPS on the road. Last year, the comparable team stats were .826 home, .658 road. Is it possible that the current team is no longer well suited to its home park?
On the pitching side, the Rockies have a staff ERA of 4.03 at Coors, and 4.39 away from home. The aggregate ERA for all NL teams this year is 4.39, so the Rockies staff have been right on that average on the road, but well better than average in Coors Field.
I don’t have any insights on the cause. But so far, avoiding pitching starts at Coors Field appears to have been a failed strategy.
5/25 - At the end of April, Greg Maddux was 5-0 with 1.35 ERA and a .197 BAA. May has not been as kind. So far this month, he’s 0-4 with a 7.41 ERA and a .348 BAA. If you drafted him, I hope you sold high. (I did hear a radio personality this morning suggest that when Maddux smashed the water cooler with a bat, it was the best swing that a Cubs player had made since the injury to Derrek Lee.)
The most widely owned GuruGolfer this week is David Toms, on slightly more than 40% of all rosters. Only 70 different active golfers are on GuruGolf rosters this week, after four straight weeks with more than 100 different golfers per week. In fact, this is the lowest GuruGolf field since the talent depleted Chrysler Classic of Tucson, when only 66 golfers were represented. That tournament ran opposite the WGC match play event, so the top 64 in the world were missing from GuruGolf eligibility that week.
5/24 - I was glancing at the stats for opposing starters this morning. Not surprisingly, Kansas City, the Cubs, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay are the most generous to opposing starters (although I would have expected a little bit better from Tampa Bay this year). What I did find a little surprising was the ranking of Florida. They are right in the middle of the pack, allowing opposing starters an average of 36 TSNP per game, almost 25 TSNP/G better than the worst hitting teams. It spite of their roster purge, low payroll, and pitcher-friendly ballpark they seem to continually restock with decent hitters. In addition to Miguel Cabrera, who ranks #6 in total TSNP for the season, three Marlin rookies appear in the top 100 hitters - Hanley Ramirez (17), Dan Uggla (67), and Josh Willingham (84). The Royals, Cubs, and Pirates have only one top 100 hitter between them (Jason Bay). Tampa Bay has only two - Jonny Gomes (22) and Ty Wigginton (97), who barely makes the cut (and won’t stay there if May results are the trend).
GuruGolf tees off at 8am ET tomorrow morning. A lot of roster moves still need to be made, including 57 teams that still own Bo Van Pelt (who withdrew on Monday). Only six of those teams have a provisional golfer in place. Even if you set your roster on Sunday night or Monday, it’s always a good idea to check in on Wednesday, just to make sure all hands are still on deck.
Thanks to Gurupie Challenger for suggesting today’s quote.
5/23 - Breaking news. The KC Royals suck. The season is only 25% over, and they’ve already managed two 10 game losing streaks. The first streak ended at 11 games, when they went on a tear, winning 5 of 7. But then they immediately returned to form, and that streak now stands at 10 games after last night’s whitewash by Justin Verlander. That’s not meant to disparage Verlander’s accomplishment. A complete game shutout is impressive against any team, especially when the radar gun shows you are pitching at 99 mph for all 9 innings. But he didn’t need to be that tough last night, as the winning margin was 8-0. And thus, with a record of 10-32, they are currently on pace to challenge the 1962 Mets record of 40-120.
Detroit should know how it feels to be in that position. Just three years ago, the Tigers were also challenging the Mets, ultimately rallying to win 43 games and avoid historical ignominy. Now they have the best record in major league baseball. Think KC will be in that position in 2009? Me neither.
In the NBA, Dallas had a brush with their demons, blowing a 20 point lead and almost losing in regulation, as San Antonio couldn’t score in a tie game with 20 seconds remaining. But in OT, the Mavs dominated defensively, and after defeating former teammate Michael Finley, they now get to take on former teammate Steve Nash.
5/22 - Variety was certainly evident in the sports world this weekend. Bonds hit 714, Michael Barrett cold-cocked A.J. Pierzynski, Billy Wagner imploded in a non-save situation vs. the Yankees (but efficiently saved the other two games), Barbaro sustained multiple leg fractures in the opening stretch of the Preakness, the Pistons overcame a 3-2 series deficit while San Antonio forced a game 7, and we saw the major league debut of a pitcher named “Boof” and a PGA win by someone called “Lumpy”.
See what I mean?
Two long-time Gurupies (and charter GuruPatrons) topped the GuruGolf results this weekend. Coldwater Coyotes posted the top bestball scored with a -48, while louky accomplished a +46 on the worstball side of the ledger, even though none of his golfers posted a cumulative score worse than +3. Louky’s effort also moved him to the top of the “Spring to the Open” contest worstball standings, while Sanfordors1 continues to have a bit of a cushion in the corresponding bestball race, although with three weeks to go in this contest period, no lead is safe.
5/19 - I guess the NBA just doesn’t like Saturday games. The Clippers and Suns will have to wait until Monday to play game seven, even though no games are scheduled for Saturday at all. Each of the games to be played tonight could end its series immediately, but I suppose that regardless of the outcomes, LeBron will be on TV on Sunday. If the Cavs lose, it will be in game 7 vs. Detroit. If they shock the Pistons, the next series with the Heat could (and probably will) start on Sunday.
You know it was an odd day of baseball when you look at the top players of the day. On the pitching side, Jorge Sosa and Vicente Padilla took top honors. Hitters were led by Jeff Francoeur, Jason Larue, and Mike Napoli. O---kay…
Interleague plays starts tonight. AL teams in NL parks will have to figure out how to handle their usual DHs. Impacted teams are the Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Twins, Rangers, Blue Jays, and the Angels. Of that group, David Ortiz is probably the biggest impact DH, and he’ll reportedly get two starts at 1B over the weekend, with Youkilis and Lowell each sitting once. The Yankees may have the smallest problem, since they’re having trouble keeping enough hitters healthy anyway.
5/18 - I guess “David” took 2 out of 3 last night. The Cavs won an improbable game in Detroit to take a 3-2 lead in their playoff series. Rookie Justin Verlander outdueled Johan Santana. Only San Antonio kept Goliath in the game, nipping the Mavs by one.
Maybe it was just “backwards night” all around, as the AL put up a full slate of NL scores last night. There were three shutouts in the junior circuit, and only one team scored more than 5 (Oakland with 7). Meanwhile, the NL sported a 14-10 slugfest (not in Colorado), a 10-1 laugher, and an 8-7 game. There were two shutouts in the NL as well, though, including a 1-0 nailbiter as agent Mulder outpitched Trachsel in St. Louis. You had to pick your hitters carefully last night.
The Bank of America Colonial teed off this morning, and Bo Van Pelt is again the favorite among GuruGolf managers, appearing on 35% of all rosters. The second favorite, Aaron Oberholser, is found on only a tad more than 20%. Van Pelt had an early tee time, and so far he’s -2 after 5 holes, so no problem there yet. Last year, a score of +1 was needed to survive the cut. This tournament features a slightly reduced field of 114 golfers (rather than the usual 156), so making the cut shouldn’t be quite as difficult, but missing the cut will be all the more devastating.
5/17 - There may or may not be much of a difference between American and National League baseball, but the scoreboard last night certainly suggests a distinction. Nine NL teams scored 3 runs or less, while only one AL team scored as few as 3. Two of the NL winners scored only 4, and two more scored 5. Every AL winner scored at least 6.
The Bank of America Colonial tournament tees off at 8:30am ET tomorrow morning. About half of all GuruGolf rosters still have inactive players, so a lot of roster shuffling remains to be done today. Don’t forget.
The NBA features a few good battles tonight. Cleveland tries to shock the Pistons in Detroit. Dallas hopes to close out the Spurs in San Antonio. And Charles Barkley goes mano a mano with Kobe Bryant in the TNT studios.
5/16 - Barry Bonds’ quest for HR #714 is reminiscent of Roger Clemens’ attempts to land his 300th win several years ago. As I recall, it took the Rocket a handful of starts before the got over the hump. As it turned out, he was far from done. Bonds may have a similar long term prognosis, but he’s been stuck on 713 for more than a week now. I don’t think Hank Aaron waited very long to park his 714th. And I remember seeing that one on live TV.
In the NBA, the Pistons are looking beatable, and the Spurs are on the mat. The Cavs still have to win at least one in Detroit, and that’s admittedly a tall order. But you gotta give ‘em props for holding serve in Cleveland. They’ve shown throughout the playoffs that they can win the close ones. Ditto for Dallas, who really didn’t have any close calls against Memphis, but has now won by 1 and then by 5 in OT. I tried to stay up to watch some of the Spurs-Mavs game last night, but by the 4th quarter, it was clear that my brain had already gone into hibernation mode.
5/15 - There is an unusual convergence in the force in GuruGolf. One manager, philflyboy, posted the top best ball (tie) and worst ball scores for the weekend tournament. Comically, it appears that his worst ball team had the top best ball score, and vice versa.
But it doesn’t stop there. The top team in the full season best ball standings is the Long Island Ducks, who have been a fixture at the top of the standings since week 2. But as of today, that same team leads in the full season worst ball standings. I guess that’s a testament to the power of cut making in both scoring formats, as this team has only lost 8 golfers to the cut in 13 weeks of play.
The Red Sox and Rangers must be happy to be getting out of Beantown. They managed to complete only 5 innings of a scheduled 3-game series over the weekend, and the forecast calls for more rain today and tomorrow in Boston. But Texas has moved on to New York, and the Sox are at Baltimore tonight. Then again, rain is also forecast for New York and Baltimore.
While Jon Papelbon was watching the rain, Tom Gordon saved three games in Cincy, and has not only tied Papelbon for the ML lead in saves, but he now leads all relievers in total TSNP.
5/12 - Injuries and weather were the biggest stories on Thursday night. After watching umpteen replays, Aaron Rowand really didn’t seem to hit the fence that hard, but the lack of padding certainly gave him that hockey player look. I think Hideki Matsui’s tumble made me cringe more, even though the aftermath wasn’t quite as gory. And Matsui’s broken wrist will certainly have a more sustained impact, both for the Yankees in real life as well as for one unlucky team in virtually every fantasy league. George Steinbrenner can probably go out and buy a solid replacement. Most fantasy teams aren’t that fortunate.
The weather looks like it may be today’s story as well. Three games were washed out (and a 4th was shortened) last night. Today, the forecast in seven MLB venues calls for at least a 70% chance of rain, including 100% in Boston and 90% in New York. You might want to shuffle your lineups to compensate, although you probably don’t have enough bench players to assure that all of your starters will stay dry.
Not so in Irving, Texas, however, where the Byron Nelson Championship proceeds under clear and sunny skies. So far, Bo Van Pelt seems to be oblivious to any GuruGolf jinx, as he leads midway through the second round.
5/11 - All throughout the NBA season, TNT has shown a couple of nationally televised games on Thursday nights. So with four playoff series currently active, it’s odd that there are no games scheduled tonight. Doesn’t seem right. But then, I guess they have to try to stretch the playoffs to the end of June, don’t they? This is one effective way to do it.
The EDS Byron Nelson Championship is underway in Texas. Once again, there is no consensus favorite on GuruGolf rosters, with the top golfer this week being Bo Van Pelt, on only about 20 % of all active rosters. His popularity probably results from his record of having survived 11 straight cuts since the start of the GuruGolf season (although he did miss one cut back in January). So, I figure he’s about due for a correction. In any event, this tournament is played on two different courses for the first two rounds, so GuruGolf scorecards for those rounds will be consolidated by course, and not by round.
5/10 - There are three early afternoon MLB games today. If you need to make some lineup changes, don’t get caught by an early deadline.
Kevin Millwood had gotten off to a respectable start in Texas this year, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.52 ERA through May 8. Then came May 9. Nine earned runs on 9 H and a walk in 1-1/3 IP. He now sports a 5.13 ERA for the season. In TSNP terms, it was a -133, which isn’t quite the worst outing of the season; Ryan Madson retains that honor with his -134 on April 20.
In GuruGolf, the EDS Byron Nelson Championship tees off at 9:00 am ET tomorrow morning. Phil Mickelson remains one of the most heavily owned golfers this week, which will be disappointing for many if that status persists, since Lefty withdrew from this event on Monday. If you made your roster moves early this week, it’s probably worth rechecking before tomorrow morning.
5/9 - Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be clever. The NBA must have had something in mind when they opted to seed each of the division winners 1-3 in the playoffs, but this season pointed out a number of problems with that system. There was that absurd game between the Clippers and Memphis when the winner got to play Dallas (the second best team) with the loser getting home court advantage vs. Denver. And there is the Spurs/Mavs series which probably should have waited until the Conference Finals. The Cavs, with the 3rd best record in the East, could have avoided Detroit for one more round. Admittedly, if the object is simply to win it all, then you’ve got to be able to beat anyone. But if the playoffs are to be seeded, this year’s method has certainly provided some backwards situations.
Back to baseball. Over the years, Monday’s have tended to be a little better than average days for starting pitchers. I always figured that maybe the travel schedule impacted hitters more than pitchers, especially if the starters often traveled ahead of the team. But last night broke that mold, with Roy Oswalt and Greg Maddux both hurling stinkers. Neither lasted as long as 5 innings. Roy Halladay did throw a complete game masterpiece, however. Interestingly, that was in a game for which there was no travel involved, as Toronto’s weekend series in Anaheim extended through Monday night. Go figure.
5/8 - Major League Baseball may be trying to ignore Bonds overtaking Ruth, but it still seems to be dominating the daily sports news. Imagine what it will be like if/when he approaches Aaron.
In GuruGolf, congrats to SANFORDORS1, whose -49 was the best result by two strokes, thereby moving out to a 7 stroke lead after 4 weeks of the Spring to the Open Contest. On the worst ball side, Cyberwahoo2 rode back-to-back +18s in the final two rounds to a 1 stroke weekend victory. And as to the contest leader for worst ball? Ain’t sayin’.
5/5 - Jose Contreras escaped the blurb jinx. Or was that simply because I failed to have him on any of my rosters?
Contreras pitched well, but Aaron Harang probably had the most impressive outing of the day, a 140 TSNP beat-down of the Rockies in Coors Field. He struck out 12 over 8.1 IP, and I guess if you can’t hit the ball, the high altitude doesn’t help the offense much. Tom Glavine also pitched well, throwing seven shutout innings against Pittsburgh in Shea stadium, but given the opponent and the pitcher-friendly ballpark, I’m giving Harang the nod as the POD (Pitcher of the Day).
A-Rod says he’s not in a slump. Over the past week, he’s produced 4 runs, 4 RBI, 0 HR, .095 BA, .095 SLG. That’s not a slump? I think even Bubba Crosby would consider that a slump!
Thanks to Gurupie Challenger for suggesting today’s quote.
5/4 - As Urkel would have queried, “Did I do that?”
The Wachovia Championship is underway, and of the 156 golfers in the tournament field, 133 have found their way onto at least one GuruGolf team this week. The may be a record for field diversity. Mickleson and Baddely are the most popular GuruGolfers for the week, but they’re each on only about 25% of the active teams. Last year, a two-round score of +4 was all that was required to make the cut, and early scorecards today suggest that birdies will be rarer than in last week’s event.
5/3 - I just heard Dick Vitale mention that Kenyon Martin was “suspended by the Nuggets.” As a man, I gotta tell you that when I heard it put that way, it made me cringe! If you’re not sure what I mean, simply change the capital ‘N’ to lower case ‘n’, and I think you’ll catch my drift.
Neither Pittsburgh nor Washington have shown much of a tendency to win games this year. That’s not so good for their closers, who haven’t had many save opps. But last night, the top two pitching performances came from the starters for those two teams - Zach Duke and Michael O’Connor. And, as fate would have it, their teams scored enough to leave the closers out of it. To compound the problem, Chad Cordero managed to turn a 5-run lead into a 4-run win in a non-save situation. Maddening if you have either him or Mike Gonzalez, who watched Duke’s complete game from the bullpen.
The next GuruGolf event tees off at 7:15am ET tomorrow morning. Don’t forget to set your rosters!
Thanks to Gurupie Ref for suggesting today’s quote.
5/2 - The first month of the baseball season always produces some false positives. So, which of the following pitchers will come back to earth for the remaining five months of the season?
5/1 - Only one GuruGolf roster had tournament winner Chris Couch this weekend. And, based on that team’s name - Three Putt Territory - WB - Couch didn’t really contribute in a particularly useful manner.
Overall, scoring was pretty low (and in golf, that’s a good thing) this week. The top best ball team was The Valkyries with a -58, four strokes better than the closest competition. Worst ball scoring was tougher, with Gmoney eking out a one stroke advantage with a +40. And with three weeks now completed in the 9-week Spring to the Open Contest, the competition is still very tight.
While on the topic of GuruGolf, I added a new column to the player price list, showing tournaments entered, cuts made, and ratio. This data covers only the tournaments in the current GuruGolf season (starting with the Nissan Open), and can be set to lookback for any number of weeks. You may find this to be a useful screening device. For more details, you can still click on a player’s name to see the PGATour.com tournament history page, or click on a price change to see that player’s GuruGolf tournament history page. Thanks to Gurupie Frick for suggesting the enhancement.
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
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 toGuru<firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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