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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.

5/30 - I forgot to mention yesterday that it took only one day to claim the first casualty from my “no negative outings” list on Wednesday. Joe Saunders managed a -13 TSNP outing that same night. Tonight, Volquez and Wellemeyer take the mound. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Briny Baird pulled a fast one on 88 GuruGolf teams this week, posting a +5 yesterday, then putting up another +5 through nine holes this morning before withdrawing. His tally: 27 holes, 4 birdies, 8 bogeys, 3 double-bogeys. Ugh.

5/29 - The NBA may get its dream finals after all. The fat lady hasn’t sung, but we’re just two wins away from a Celtics-Lakers finals, which has to be a much more attractive pairing than Detroit-San Antonio. Just like ice cream is a more attractive dessert than bread.

Kenny Perry and Briny Baird are the two most widely owned golfers in this week’s Memorial Tournament. For some reason, this tournament field suffered eleven withdrawals since Monday, and by this morning, only one name remained on the list of alternates.

5/28 - Yesterday, I noted that many of the more expensive pitchers were not producing up to par this year. Today, I want to look at pitching consistency.

There are currently 11 starting pitchers who have been active all season who have not yet produced a start with negative TSNP. You might consider this list to be those pitchers who have been the most consistent. You might also consider this the list of pitcher who are the most likely to implode next. I’ll list them in order of total TSNP:

Using a negative score as the measurement hurdle is admittedly arbitrary. Six of those pitchers had at least one game with a single digit positive score. Lincecum has the best “worst game”, a 29 pointer against Colorado on April 29. All but Joe Blanton have at least one triple-digit result. Blanton has arguably been the most consistent, however; he has no games above 78 TSNP, but also no games less than 11 TSNP. The list does include several “premier” starters – Halladay and Johan Sanatana, and to a lesser degree Lincecum and Matsuzaka (although neither of the latter two have probably earned “premier status yet.) But most of that list is made up of guys you would not have expected at the beginning of the season.

By the way, there is only one closer who has been active all season who has not yet posted a negative TSNP outing, and it’s a surprising name: Brad Lidge. So far, he seems to have exorcised his demons from the past couple of years

The Memorial Tournament tees off at 8am ET tomorrow morning. There have been quite a few withdrawals from the field this week, so if you set your GuruGolf roster(s) early, you should recheck before tomorrow.

5/27 - Last Friday, I was ruminating on the lack of “safe” starting pitching this year, offering up Brandon Webb as the most obvious exception. Not! In fact, as of Friday I noted only three stud or “near stud” pitchers in the top ten for the year – Webb, Hamels, and Zambrano. Since then, two of those three posted a negative fantasy score. This is looking like one of those years when you don’t get good value by paying up for pitching. Spend your budget on hitting instead. Using TSN Ultimate prices to illustrate, 14 of the top 25 pitchers (in YTD points) are priced under $5,000K. But only one of the top 25 hitters has a sub-$5m price - Ryan Ludwick is ranked #11 in total TSNP. The next highest sub-$5m hitter (Geovany Soto) is ranked #37.

5/26 - I probably say this every year, but it just doesn’t seem right that eight major league teams don’t even play on Memorial Day. I grew up in a time when Memorial Day doubleheaders were common.

(This would be the time my daughter reminds me that I’m just an old fart.)

If you owned Edinson Volquez yesterday, you dodged a bullet. Volquez made a rare relief appearance in the 17th and 18th innings, and surrendered a game-winning 3-run home run. However, the runs were all unearned, thanks to a Joey Votto throwing error on what should have been the third out of the 18th.

The best GuruGolf team score (-47) for the weekend was turned in by jedman, with a well balanced foursome, all who carded either -3 or -4. A couple of teams shared worst ball honors with a +45.

5/23 - Until last night, the Celtics were capable of winning the NBA title without winning a playoff game on the road. But that option is no longer available. Curiously, last night was the first time in quite awhile that the “big 3” all played well, with Garnett, Allen, and Pierce scoring 24, 25, and 26. But scoring wasn’t the problem last night. Defense was the issue. Boston’s total of 97 has usually been sufficient, but Detroit put up a 3-digit number last night.

On to baseball. There are certainly exceptions, but it seems that this year, paying up for pitching isn’t reaping rewards. Brandon Webb has been the most notable exception. But the list of top pitchers is littered with names like Cliff Lee, Volquez, Marcum, Matsuzaka, Lincecum, Dempster, Ervin Santana, Saunders, and Greinke. The consensus Cy Young winner heading into the season, Johan Santana, barely cracks the top 25 pitchers in total TSNP. And while there are a few names on the list that would seem to belong there – like Hamels and Zambrano – it appears that it you used your early draft picks on starting pitching this year, you’re probably still waiting for the payoff. And that payoff may still come. But many of the premier names have been anything but consistent or dominant.

Remember Randro?

5/22 - A week ago, the pitching talk centered on the strong pitching by Cleveland. Last night, the top hurler was a couple letters short of that, as Dana Eveland shut down Tampa Bay on one run and three hits.

Meanwhile, on the other coast, ARod connected for his 2nd home run in the two games since his return from the DL. Both games were blowouts, so neither really mattered, but if he starts to heat up like last year’s spring, the Yanks may have some hope after all.

Kenny Perry and Briny Baird are the most popular GuruGolfers this week, each on a little more than 33% of active rosters.

5/21 - If you have Mike Mussina, take heart; only one run was earned.

If the MLB playoffs were determined based on today’s standings, here are the eight teams: Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, Rays, Marlins, Cubs, Dbacks, Cardinals. No team from New York. The Mets are fourth in the N.L. East, although they do have a winning record, even after getting swept yesterday. The Yankees, however, are dead last in the A.L. East, and sport the third worst record in the American League. I know it’s way too early to start writing their obituary, but with a team BA of .254 (12th in the A.L.) and a team ERA. of 4.47 (ranked 11th), there are plenty of reasons for Yankee fans to worry. Then again, Yankee fans tend to be optimists. If this were the Red Sox, fans would be slitting their wrists already.

GuruGolf tees off tomorrow morning for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. Once again, a lot of rosters still have some shuffling to be done today, although this field seems to have a lot of overlap with last week’s, so most teams won’t require a lot of turnover.

5/20 - If you want a vivid example of “lapping the field”, check out last night’s pitching results. And if you’re one of the 91 teams in TSN Ultimate that picked up Jon Lester yesterday, nice call! I hope you also bought a lottery ticket.

Interesting sidelight to Lester’s no-no: Jason Varitek became the first catcher in major league history to catch four no-hitters from four different pitchers.

Remember when Chase Utley was looking like the runaway candidate for MVP? He now ranks only fifth in total TSNP among all hitters, having recently been passed by the law firm of McLouth, Pujols, and Hamilton. Lance Berkman, of course, is the big kahuna, putting up triple-crown-like numbers, projected at this pace to be .389-57-157. It’s only May, so there’s still plenty of time for a return to earth. Curously, he’s not even the most widely owned hitter in TSN Ultimate. That honor belongs to Geovany Soto, probably owing more to his affordability and the lack of many other palatable options behind the plate. Soto ranks #19 in total TSNP among all hitters, though, which isn’t shabby. But he still has less than half of Berkman’s points. In fact, only ten hitters have amassed more than 50% of Berkman’s total, which helps to put his prowess into perspective.

5/19 - Last night’s Mets-Yankees game should be “Exhibit A” as to why instant replay should be allowed to review home runs calls on balls hit down the line. As it turned out, the home run that was disallowed didn’t matter in the outcome of the game. But the evidence was so indisputable and so quickly available that it was rather embarrassing to see the umpires insisting on the foul call. And if the rationale for disallowing replays is the delay factor, I’d submit that the game was actually delayed for longer by arguments than it would have been by simply reviewing the video.

It’s very unusual for a hitter to top 100 TSNP for a game. But on Friday night, two hitters each banged out 113 TSNP - Josh Hamilton and Jayson Werth. Werth’s outburst increased his year-to-date TSNP total by more than 30%.

GuruGolf managers had little trouble picking golfers who made the cut this weekend. Of all teams that started with a full complement of four active golfers, almost half had all four make the cut, and more than 80% managed to have at least 3 golfers play all four rounds. The top best ball score (-55) belonged to Monkey, while worst ball honors (+41) went to kooldad3. 34 teams had tournament winner Ryuji Imada, 68 had Kenny Perry, and 10 teams had both of them. Several teams were fortunate enough to pick up one or the other as their provisional replacement for last minute withdrawal Ben Crane. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky…

5/16 - The scoreless streak is over for Cleveland starters, although the only run allowed by Aaron Laffey was unearned, even though it was his throwing error that was the culprit. There is still, however, a steak of 50.3 IP without allowing an earned run.

Interleague play begins today – although just for the weekend. DH’s will get squeezed for AB’s on the White Sox, Indians, Tigers, Royals, Jays, Rays, and A’s. Just what the A’s need – they score only two runs in three games against Cleveland, and now they have to let a pitcher bat. Then again, Dana Eveland might turn out to be a better hitter than some of their current lineup. And they do get to face Jair Jurrjens on just 3 days rest.

On the flip side, some NL teams get to use an extra hitter this weekend. The Astros, Dodgers, Brewers, Mets, Padres, and Nats all get to send up nine hitters.

Is this supposed to be “rivalry weekend” in MLB? Some series make sense in that context: Washington-Baltimore, NY-NY, Houston-Texas, Cleveland-Cincy, and LA-LA. But I wonder why the Chicago teams aren’t facing each other? Or the Missouri teams? Or the Bay area teams? Or the Florida teams? It seems like the KC-Florida and TB-STL series got mixed up. Then again, looking at the schedule, I see that most of those matchups take place in June. So maybe it’s only “half-rivalry weekend.”

5/15 - Tribe starters are now up to 43.3 consecutive shutout innings and counting. This is getting to be ridiculous. Aaron Laffey, anyone?

Speaking of ridiculous, home teams held serve in the NBA playoffs once again last night. In the 20 games played in the second round, the home team has won 19. Over the past three years, the home team has won about 60% in the games in the second round of the playoffs. For the most recent regular season, NBA home teams also won about 60% of the time. If that is the true underlying probability of a home team win, then the statistical odds of home teams winning 19 of 20 is less than 0.1%, or roughly 1-in-2000. Even if the home team has a 70% chance of winning, the odds would be less than 1%.

Stewart Cink is the popular favorite in this week’s GuruGolf event, appearing on about 45% of active rosters. Only about half of the golfers in this tournament’s field found their way onto a GuruGolf roster this week.

5/14 - Cleveland Indians starters now have pitched a string of 34 consecutive scoreless innings. The last run surrendered by a SP was by C.C. Sabathia last Friday, and he only gave up that one run in 7 IP. Sabathia returns to the mound tonight. If you believe in streaks, pick him up. If you believe in mean reversion, stay away.

Today we reach the 25% mark of the baseball season. Among the surprises in the standings, the two Florida teams lead their respective divisions, each with a 23-16 record. I’m sure we all saw that coming!

Last week’s GuruGolf tournament didn’t require a lot of roster turnover. Not so this week. I had to replace about ¾ of my golfers, and based on the number of inactive golfers still appearing on all rosters, many of you are in the same boat. Tomorrow’s tee time is 6:50am EDT, so unless you’re an early riser (or a European), get that taken care of today.

5/13 - If you like unusual baseball occurrences, Cleveland was the place to be yesterday. To start with, the Tribe and Toronto played a “traditional” (single admission) twi-night doubleheader, which is anything but traditional anymore. In the nightcap, Asdrubal Cabrera executed an unassisted triple play. The two starting pitchers in that game pitched 17 innings of shutout ball, with the game heading to extra innings at 0-0. And the two Cleveland starters for the evening, Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona, each pitched 9 shutout innings. The last time two starters from the same team pitched 9 shutout innings in a doubleheader was more than 30 years ago – which also occurred against Toronto. (Note to self: when Toronto plays a doubleheader, stay away from their hitters.)

The unassisted triple play was only the 14th in (the modern era of) MLB history. Remarkably, the Indians have been involved in six of those – three on the hitting side, and three on the fielding side. It is one of the rarest plays in baseball, occurring even slightly less often than a perfect game. Curiously, they seem to come in bunches. Six of the 14 took place in the 1920s, including two that occurred on back-to-back days. And six have occurred since 1992. The other two were in 1909 and 1968, the latter executed by Ron Hansen of the Washington Senators (vs. Cleveland) – who just happened to be in attendance at last night’s doubleheader (as a scout for the Phillies, who play Toronto later this week). Go figure.

5/12 - For awhile, it looked like Chase Utley was going to lap the field in fantasy production. But he’s come back to earth lately, and no longer even leads hitters in year-to-date fantasy points. That honor now belongs to Lance Berkman, who is now 24% ahead of Utley in TSNP, and 30% ahead using the RotoHog scoring formula. In the RIBC leagues, Berkman was only a mid-second round pick. And he may eventually retreat to that level. But enjoy the ride if you have him.

In GuruGolf, 126 golfers from the entire field of 144 found their way onto at least one GuruGolf roster. But one of the shunned golfers was Paul Goydos. And Goydos was virtually off the charts in best ball utility, garnering 19 birdies and an eagle. That’s four strokes better than Sergio (17 birdies and no eagles), and 6 strokes better than Jeff Quinney (15-0). The only golfer to come close to Goydos’ under-par scoring was Stephen Ames, who managed 20 birdies, but was done in by 5 double bogeys. Goydos’ price change was +$230, which is as large as any single price change that I can recall. But of course, since no one had him, no one benefitted.

The top team score for the weekend was posted by kbmartin3, with a -44 from DiMarco, Furyk, Holes, and Na. Worst ball honors were snared by little lucky with a massive +71, aided by a +5 from Richard Sterne on the final hole of the tournament.

5/9 - From the empirical evidence of yesterday’s price movements, it looks like one person picked up Daniel Cabrera in RotoHog, and maybe a few more in TSN. The differentiation paid off spectacularly, as Cabrera fashioned a complete game 3-hitter in Kansas City. Now, do those select few managers have the cahones to hold him for his next start vs. the Red Sox? Over the past three years, he’s 1-8 vs. Boston with a 6.65 ERA. I think I’d go elsewhere. Then again, I didn’t even have him vs. the Royals.

Trevor Immelman is looking like a one-trick pony this spring. He missed cut the week before his win at the Masters. Since then, he’s missed two more cuts, and then was a last minute withdrawal from this week’s PLAYERS Championship due to “illness”, telling reporters that he needed a few weeks to “decompress.” Sixteen GuruGolf teams had him on their rosters this week, but fortunately, 12 had set up a provisional golfer to handle the surprise.

5/8 - My TSN baseball teams haven’t done so well this season. But yesterday, I had both Joey Votto and Kevin Youkilis on all my teams. That was fun.

On the pitching side, Edinson Volquez and Cliff Lee continued their amazing seasons, each pitching seven innings of shutout ball. Lee’s ERA now stands at 0.81, while Volquez sports a lofty 1.06. Volquez did throw 118 pitches, which seems unnecessary in a game that was already 9-0 after six innings. Chalk it up to Dusty Baker, I guess. Volquez does get an extra day of rest before his next start, so maybe it’s not a big deal. But I really don’t understand the thinking behind the decision to send him out for the 7th inning – even though he had only thrown 93 pitches at that point.

THE PLAYERS Championship is underway. Anthony Kim is the popular GuruGolf favorite, but once again there is no real consensus, as Kim only shows up on only 18% of active rosters, and 126 different golfers appear in at least one foursome.

5/7 - Three starting pitchers combined for 473 TSNP last night, and their combined TSN price ($6.48m) was less than the price of the night’s fourth best starter, Carlos Zambrano. One of the top three, Tim Wakefield, pitched a combined shutout with fellow quadragenarian Mike Timlin. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the first time since 1900 that a team pitched a shutout using multiple pitchers all over the age of 40.

Speaking of old farts, I see that Julio Franco officially retired a few days ago at age 49 after failing to land a spot on a major league roster. In addition to 23 years in the majors, he also had stints in Japan & South Korea, and was currently playing in Mexico. In addition to his long tenure, he was known for using a heavy bat, which he held over his head pointed at the pitcher in his unusual batting stance.

THE PLAYERS Championship tees off tomorrow morning. (Why do they typically capitalize “THE PLAYERS”?) A lot of the golfers in this field also played last week, so this tournament offers an opportunity to conserve or stockpile some trades, if needed.

5/6 - It’s no shocker that on May 6th, the leader in total fantasy points – for both TSN and RotoHog – is Santana. But it is rather shocking that his first name is Ervin. Three of his starts have even been on the road, where he has typically faltered. Make that imploded. Maybe he’s finally shaken off that issue. His next outing will be Sunday at Tampa Bay. The Rays had been the toughest matchup for opposing A.L. starters as recently as a week ago (see 4/29 blurb), but their bats have cooled off lately, so the timing may be good for Santana.

Who knew?

5/5 - I’ve been preoccupied all weekend with several family functions, and have had almost no opportunity to digest whatever has been going on in the sports world. All of my fantasy sports teams have pretty much been on autopilot this weekend – which is usually a good thing. I guess it’s safe to say that in the sporting world, the worst result was attained by Eight Belles. But it’s not at all clear to me who had the best weekend. So I’ll leave it to all of you to sort it all out.

Kudos to big moe, who managed to card the top GuruGolf score this weekend, while worst ball honors go to Cyberwahoo6. Special mention should go to team Liters2, who ranked 4th overall in best ball scoring and also third in worst ball scoring. Not surprisingly, that team is also ranked first in the full season best ball standings.

5/1 - It was a good day to own hitters on the Cubs, the Dodgers, and the Pirates. Those three teams combined for 45 runs, although there were a few other games with big run totals as well. Meanwhile, early season phenom Cliff Lee notched his fifth win, although less impressively than wins 1-4, as he allowed 8 hits and 3 runs over six innings.

There really is no dominant favorite in GuruGolf this week. Luke Donald appears on the most rosters, but only about 18%, and 121 different golfers have found their way onto at least one GuruGolf foursome. Diversity reigns supreme.

I’m getting ready to head up to Boston for my son’s college graduation, so I’ll be skipping tomorrow’s blurb. Back Monday.

2008: 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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