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

5/28 - With almost two months of the MLB season in the books, some of the top hitters have yet to earn their lofty fantasy draft rankings. For example, Albert Pujols currently ranks only 14th among all hitters in total fantasy points (RotoHog SalCap). Hanley Ramirez ranks 30th. Alex Rodriguez, #37. Those were the consensus top three picks in the RIBC leagues. Chase Utley, the 4th pick, currently ranks 23rd. Not until we get to Ryan Braun do we see value matching expectations, as he was the consensus #5 pick, and currently ranks #4 among hitters.

Using a ranking system more in synch with the scoring framework of the RIBC leagues doesn’t really change much. In fact, one such system ranks Pujols at #20, Hanley #32, ARod #79, Utley #21,and Braun #4. Pretty similar, except for the negative discrepancy for ARod.

Those guys may still rise to the top of the heap as the season matures, but at this point, it looks like getting a top draft pick in the spring isn’t producing much of an early harvest.

Enjoy the long weekend!

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5/27 - The NBA playoffs have certainly gotten more interesting in the past two days.

It’s been difficult this year to find a starting pitcher who is studly every time out. Topping the short list is Ubaldo Jimenez, who undoubtedly has the early lead in the N.L. CY Young race. In ten starts, his worst fantasy output has been 35 RSCP, which equates to 70 TSNP for those who are more comfortable with the relative values of the former TSN point structure. John Lester has also been very dependable of late, after opening the season with three weak starts (at which point he sported an ERA of 8.44). But after those two, there just doesn’t seem to be anyone that is a virtual lock. Even Halladay and Lincecum have been very pedestrian of late.

The Crowne Plaza Invitational is off and running, and GuruGolf teams show a slight preference for Spencer Levin this week, although he’s on just over 20% of all foursomes.

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5/26 - The NBA West finals is now a best-of-three, after both teams held serve in the opening four games. Phoenix will have to win one in L.A. to prevail. That series is in striking contrast to the Eastern finals, where the home team has only won one of first four games.

The Yankees and Twins were suspended after 5 innings last night, and the game will be completed today. Depending on how your fantasy game treats suspended games, you might be able to get 1˝ games out of those hitters today.

On the surface, playing the 2014 Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in northern NJ sounds a bit looney. But maybe not so much. New York City will provide a good venue for the weekly hoopla leading up to Sunday. The corporate suites at the stadium will all be enclosed. The game will be the usual sellout, regardless of weather potential. (Whether all those seats are actually filled remains to be seen.) The world will still watch on TV, without regard to locale. So the only issue would seem to be that adverse weather might impact game play. If so – so what? Some of the playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl could be played in cold weather sites in January. Why not the Super Bowl itself?

The Crowne Plaza Invitational tees off tomorrow morning, completing the 3-week Texas swing. Get your GuruGolf foursomes ready.

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5/25 - It’s interesting that Phil Jackson now seems to be in play, presumably linked with LeBron. July will be an interesting month.

In another non-story, Ryder Cup USA team captain Corey Pavin said that Tiger is not guaranteed a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team and will have to play his way on like every other player. As of today, he would have to be a Captain’s pick. Would he be? It’s not like Tiger has been a “must have” in Ryder Cup play, where his career record is only 10-13-2.

It must be a slow sports day. After staring at this page for more than an hour, all I’ve come up with is a rumored coaching move and Ryder Cup speculation. I guess I should just quit now.

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5/24 - The NL took the early lead in interleague play, going 22-20 vs. AL teams this weekend. Perhaps more telling, NL teams won 9 of the 14 series. Only one weekend series was a 3-0 sweep – Oakland over San Fran. Every other series broke 2-1. The senior circuit gets the chance to expand on that next month, when interleague play starts in earnest on June 11th.

The typical pitching studs haven’t exactly been lighting it up of late. Over the past 15 days (3 starts), here are the top five starting pitchers in RotoHog points: Kershaw, Cueto, Hudson, Latos, Billingsley. The next three have stronger resumes – Josh Johnson, Jon Lester, and Ubaldo Jimenez. Then we revert back to names like Marcum, Clayton Richards, Saunders, Arroyo. So where are the studs? Wainwright ranks #42, Lincecum #53, Carpenter #63, Halladay #179, and Sabathia is not even in the top 200. It’s been a good couple of weeks to take the road less traveled.

In GuruGolf, kudos to the yips, whose weekend -53 in best ball scoring was a full eight strokes better than closest contender. In a much more closely contested race in worst ball scoring, Dave’s Duffers (+48) eked out a narrow one stroke victory over five other teams.

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5/21 - Interleague play.

I guess this weekend is supposed to feature the natural regional rivalries, like Yankees-Mets, Baltimore-Washington, Oakland-San Fran, Cincy-Cleveland. But not all series follow that theme. The Chicago and L.A. intercity series don’t happen until next month.

I was hoping that Tommy Hanson would be a differentiator on my RotoHog teams last night. Sadly, I was correct. It was reminiscent of getting “Ramoned” many years ago. (Hard to believe that was a full ten years ago.) At least the Braves’ miracle comeback took away the potential loss. Whoop-de-doo.

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5/20 - We get a mini-burst of interleague play this weekend. That means seven A.L. designated hitters will lose their customary lineup slot. If you have a DH on the Angels, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Yankees, Rays, or Toronto, be prepared for less than a full complement of action this weekend.

The Lakers prevailed again last night, wining by 12 after being tied at the end of three stanzas. It’s sometimes said that an NBA playoff series doesn’t really start to take meaning until one team fails to hold serve (i.e., loses on the home court), so – notwithstanding Phil Jackson’s 45-0 streak – this one still hasn’t really “started.” On the other hand, the pressure is squarely on Phoenix now, as they have to win the next two at home if they are to have any shot at advancing.

J.B. Holmes is the popular favorite in GuruGolf this week, on almost 40% of all active foursomes.

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5/19 - The Celtics won the opening two games in Orlando. Historically, the visiting NBA team has opened a series with two road wins 25 times, and gone on to win 22 of those series. And when it’s happened in the semi-final round, the opening road winner has won all eleven times. So it’s looking good for Boston – except that they haven’t been a particularly strong home team this year. They lost 17 times in Boston during the regular season. None of the other surviving playoff teams lost more than 9 games at home.

The PGA Tour remains in Texas this week, this time in the Dallas area. Chances are your GuruGolf lineup won’t require much shuffling, although you should obviously check it out – especially since there have been a few notable withdrawals this week, including Charles Howell III, who was last week’s most widely owned GuruGolfer.

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5/18 - The Lakers exploded for a 21-point win in the first game of the Western Conference Finals. And that’s not good news for the Suns. In Phil Jackson’s NBA coaching career, he has never lost a series after winning the first game. 45-0, going on 46. Yikes!

Andre Ethier has now missed three consecutive games, and he’s still the top hitter in RotoHog points over the last 30 days.

I just heard a radio commercial for “University of Maryland University College.” That name sounds like it was created by the Department of Redundancy Department.

Back to Phil Jackson. In case you’re wondering, he is only 7-8 when he loses the first game of a playoff series. So, his playoff series record is 52-8 overall.

Just how remarkable is going 45-0 when winning game #1? Consider these stats:

  • In NBA history, the winner of the first game goes on to win the series 78.9% of the time. If we use that as a probability of winning such a series, then the statistical odds of running off 45 straight series wins is 0.0023%.
  • When the home team wins the first game, that team has won the series 86.9% of the time. I’m sure that Jackson has had home court advantage much more often than not. Using this as a probability, the statistical odds of 45 straight series wins improves to 0.18%, still much less than 1%.
  • If you assume Phil has been coaching superior teams that have a probability of winning such a series 95% of the time (just pulling a number out of the air), then 45 straight successes has almost a 10% chance of occurring.
Undoubtedly, in many of those series, there was almost no chance of losing (given the relative superiority of either the Bulls or Lakers in those series), so these hypothetical odds may make the achievement sound more implausible than it really was. But still, 45-0…

I guess if you are rooting for Phoenix, your mantra becomes “He’s about due…”

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5/17 - The Celtics are Exhibit A in the case for “timing is everything.” After starting the season well, age looked like it had taken over and they were even finding ways to lose to teams like the Nets – in Boston! But somehow, everyone got healthy at the right time, and the team is now clicking on all cylinders – even though they almost ran out of gas yesterday in the fourth quarter (or perhaps Orlando finally recovered from the long layoff.) If they can stay healthy, the schedule should provide ample rest this week (only 2 games in the next 6 days). Then they have to find a way to keep their legs young for the second week, when games are scheduled every other day.

Andre Ethier had been the hottest hitter in baseball for the last month. Then suddenly, he sustained a broken fingertip while taking batting practice on Saturday. It’s not yet clear if he’ll try to play through it or head to the DL, but either way, it’s a big disappointment if you had him.

Congrats to Nuclear Gophers (-52) who took the weekend best ball honors in GuruGolf. Worst ball honors were taken by Ping Me with a +46.

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5/14 - So did LeBron step up in the big moment or not? A look at the stat sheets shows a triple double, including 19 rebounds. But it also shows 9 turnovers, and in a game that was separated by only 4 points with 9:30 left, those were crucial lost opportunities. Regardless, the “LeBron watch” now starts in earnest in Cleveland. Unfortunately, the Indians aren’t providing much of a distraction, and the Browns don’t even start camp until after “free agent day”.

The baseball landscape was dominated by two not-so-household names yesterday. 22-year-old Padres hurler Mat Latos spun a neat 1-hit (no walk) shutout in San Francisco, while Houston’s Bud Norris bested Chris Carpenter, holding the Cards to one run on 6 hits (and no walks) over 8 innings. Meanwhile, CC Sabathia could have used some of that predicted rain in Detroit.

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5/13 - I’m not at all an NHL fan, but the Canadiens are certainly putting on a nice show, successively knocking off the Capitals and then the Penguins. So much for the abilities of Ovechkin and Crosby to carry their teams to the promised land. Could LeBron be the next “best player in the league” to go home early?

Last weekend, CC Sabathia got rained out of a likely win, when a weather delay halted the game with 2 outs in the fifth inning. The Yankees went on to win in a blowout, but the delay was long enough that Sabathia did not return to complete the 5 innings needed to secure the pitching win.

Could it happen again today? The Yankees play in Detroit, where the weather forecast calls for 65%-80% thunderstorms this afternoon. Sabathia owners might prefer that the game never even gets started.

J.B. Holmes is the most popular GuruGolfer this week, on roughly 30% of all active foursomes. The Valero Texas Open is being played on a new course, the Greg Norman-designed AT&T Oaks Course – so past results in this tournament are probably not a good indicator of potential success.

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5/12 - There was a telling comment on ESPN’s PTI program last night. To paraphrase, of the top 5 players in the Cavs-Celtics series, four are on the Celtics. Of course, the best player is on Cleveland – but if he doesn’t dominate the game, Cleveland’s supporting cast is insufficient to carry the day against a good opponent. And LeBron not only failed to dominate - … - he was barely visible, scoring only 6 points from the field.

Two baseball games were washed out last night, and although they are both rescheduled as doubleheaders today, the weather outlook looks iffy in a number of locales. Half of the games have early afternoon start times, so waiting may be in vogue today – but more washouts wouldn’t be a surprise.

Earth to Barry Zito: “Welcome back!” He managed to throw 108 pitches in only 5 IP, which included 7 walks. Only three earned runs were charged to him, so his season stats are still pretty gaudy – but one has to wonder whether this pan has flashed.

The PGA Tour moves to Texas this week, and if your GuruGolf teams are like mine, you’ll need a lot of roster shuffling before tomorrow morning’s tee time. Get to it!

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5/11 - The Nats are 18-14, in second place in the NL East. Tim Kurkjian suggests that the bullpen is a big reason for the turnaround. Last year, none of the relievers who started the season on their active roster were still around at the end of the year. This year, closer Matt Capps has already recorded 13 saves; last year, the team’s 13th save occurred in mid-July, and those saves were from five different pitchers.

And they’ll have Stephen Strasburg in another month or so. Who knew?

Three of the NBA second round playoff series finished in 4-0 sweeps. Only the Cavs-Celtics are offering a competitive series, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if it extends the full seven games. Too bad those teams had three consecutive off days last week.

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5/10 - A perfect game from Dallas Braden. Like we all saw that coming. He was undrafted in all five RIBC leagues this spring. But that’s not the real story here. One of the teams in the RIBC had since picked him up as a free agent, but then dropped him on Saturday! Now that’s got to hurt!

Actually, the best quote of the weekend might have coming from Braden’s grandmother, who attended the game. Afterwards, alluding to the verbal sparring earlier in the week between Braden and Alex Rodriguez, she said to reporters “Stick it, A-Rod!”

Tim Clark may have gotten his first PGA win this weekend, but the top GuruGolf team was a perennially strong team, Liters2 (-43). Three teams tied for the top worst ball score (+47). Overall, it was a tough week for most GuruGolf teams. Only three teams had all four golfers survive the cut, and less than 20% of all teams went into the weekend with at least 3 active golfers. Meanwhile, about half of all teams played the weekend with a solo golfer.

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5/7 - For those who haven't tried FanDuel yet, they're offering free contests for Friday's games with $100 in prizes per 50 player contest. Just follow this FanDuel link, register, and choose your lineup for the contest for your chance to win. The prizes go to the top three finishers.

It looks like Tiger will survive to the weekend, currently at -3 through 11 holes in the second round. Mickelson stands at -2 after the first round, and doesn’t tee it up until this afternoon. I’m sure NBC would love this to turn into a Tiger vs. Phil weekend, but so far, that’s not looking likely even if they both survive, with several players already double digits under par. Then again, Rory McIlroy barely made the cut last week, so you never know…

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5/6 - My formative years included listening to Tigers games on the radio by the broadcast tandem of Ray Lane and Ernie Harwell. I was ostensibly an Indians fan, but the Tribe was so awful that I also rooted for the Tigers, whose radio signal at WJR was strong enough to be picked up in mid-Ohio by my cheap transistor radio (a radio that I still own and still works, by the way!) Harwell was my window to the 1968 World Series champs, including the likes of Denny McLain, Mickey Lolich, Bill Freehan, Norm Cash, Dick McAuliffe, Ray Oyler, Don Wert, Willie Horton, Jim Northrup, Mickey Stanley, Al Kaline, and pinch-hitter extraordinaire Gates Brown. But I digress…

Chalk up another strong outing from Barry Zito: 7 innings, 7 hits, one run, and his fifth win. Stunning.

Charles Howell III is the carryover GuruGolf favorite this week, on about 27% of active foursomes. But the GuruGolf field is once again very dispersed, with 125 different golfers in play, and no other name appearing on as many as 15% of foursomes.

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5/5 - Since they last met on Monday night, I assumed that the Cavs and Celtics would meet for game #3 in Boston tonight. But when I looked at tonight’s schedule, I saw only one game – Spurs at Suns. So then I figured it must be the 8pm game on TNT tomorrow. But no, there’s only one game tomorrow night, and that’s Atlanta at Orlando. The Cavs-Celtics game isn’t until Friday. And on none of the next three nights are the Lakers and Utah playing. What’s up with that? To the extent that the Celtics are old, the extra rest can’t hurt.

Speaking of aging Celtics, I just heard someone comment on a radio show that Kevin Garnett still isn’t 100%. The response was “He is when Antawn Jamison is guarding him!”

The Players Championship tees off tomorrow morning. While there seems to be a lot of overlap in the field from last week, make sure you check your foursome.

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5/4 - I was glancing at the list of the top pitchers this season (measured by RotoHog Salary Cap points). The top three are no surprise at all – Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, and Tim Lincecum. Number 4 has already attracted notice for his strong start this season - Francisco Liriano. But the fifth name surprised me.

Barry Zito!   Whoa, where’d that come from? In five starts, he’s 4-0, with a 1.53 ERA and a WHIP of .877. Kudos to you if you drafted him back in March. He wasn’t drafted at all in the RIBC.

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5/3 - Tiger’s quote today could probably have been appropriately uttered anytime in the last six months.

Speaking of not knowing where his balls were going, Johan Santana had an outing yesterday that was reminiscent of a similar one by CC Sabathia early in his final season in Cleveland. Santana was roughed up by the Phillies for 10 earned runs in 3.2 IP. Amazingly, it only lifted his season ERA to 4.50. Sabathia went on that season to pitch brilliantly, get traded, and be mentioned in the MVP discussion for the National League. But Santana’s outing is going to take awhile to overcome statistically.

Congrats to Proud Bobbers, whose -48 in best ball was four strokes better than any other GuruGolf team this weekend. Worst ball honors were garnered by louky 4 (+57).

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2010: April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2009: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . 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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