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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.

6/30 - The Montreal @ Philadelphia game produced some unusual results, at least judging by my TSN roster. Philly starter Eric Milton got his 10th win, yet managed to rack up -9 TSNP. Meanwhile, the Phillies scored 17 runs, but Jim Thome was 0-4, managing only one walk for -7 TSNP. If you'd have told me that the Phillies would score 17 runs and Milton would win, I certainly wouldn't expect the pair to produce a grand total of -16 TSNP. But they did.

Today is the day to finalize your GuruGolf rosters for the Cialis Western Open. (I suppose they should offer a special prize for the most times a golfer can get it up and down, eh?) Watch out for late changes in the tournament field. So far, Oberholser, Tanaka, and Cejka have withdrawn, and all three of them still appear on some GuruGolf rosters. A word to the wise: if you have already purchased one of those guys this week, don't simply sell him today. Use the "reset" option instead. This will not only reset your roster back to the last freeze, but it will also reset your trade availability. Essentially, it provides a "do over", so that you can minimize your trade consumption if you have to undo any trades that you have made since the last freeze.

6/29 - Three players have hit for the cycle so far this year. They occurred on April 27 (Chad Moeller), May 26 (Daryle Ward), and now June 28 (David Bell). If the (somewhat obvious) pattern holds, I'd look for the next one to happen on July 25.

If my quick count is correct, this was the 232nd time a MLB player has hit for the cycle. Curiously, there have also been 232 no-hitters in MLB history. 17 of the no-hitters have been perfect games. But of the 232 cycles, only 12 have been a "natural cycle", which is hitting a single, double, triple, home run in order. (Bell's was not.)

Sources: Cycles     No-hitters

6/28 - There was no shortage of good pitching this weekend, but most of it came early. On Friday night, 9 pitchers topped 100 TSNP, with the group averaging 130 TSNP. For the rest of the weekend only 6 pitchers reached triple digits, and only one of those guys bested the Friday average.

We start this week with intra-league play, but the week will finish with interleague games again, and all but the L.A./Anaheim series will be in N.L. parks. So you still need to be wary of DH's.

I posted the 2004 NFL schedule grid over the weekend.

6/25 - There was a time, not long ago, when you sought out pitchers who were facing Tampa Bay. But not lately. Over the past 15 days, Tampa Bay's opposing starters have averaged 1.3 TSNP/start. And that average has been -12 TSNP/G over the past week. On Sunday, something will have to give when they face Carl Pavano, who has racked up an average of 130 TSNP/start over his last three outings. The irresistible force meets the immovable object.

It appears that Jason Lane's fifteen minutes of fame actually lasted about a week. When Richard Hidalgo was traded to the Mets last weekend, Lane became a starter in the Houston outfield. And TSN managers started snapping him up as a cheapie. But when Carlos Beltran was traded to the 'Stros last night, Lane almost certainly becomes the odd man out again. Oh well.

In golf, Charles Howell was the key to success yesterday in GuruGolf. Thirty-two teams posted a score of -15 or better, and every single one of them had Howell, who not only shot -10, but that included 2 bogeys, meaning that he contributed -12 to the team score. The magic has already worn off, though, as CH3 is +1 through his first nine holes this morning.

6/24 - There must be a lot of head bangers this morning. Sean Casey was yesterday biggest price loser in TSN Ultimate, dropping $120K. He was also the leading hitter, amassing 83 TSNP. Whoops!

If you are thinking about making some roster moves today, think quickly. There are 9 afternoon games today, starting with Tampa Bay at Toronto at 12:35. He who hesitates gets stuck.

6/23 - I had some money burning a hole in my TSN pocket yesterday, and my choice came down to Vlad or ARod. Suffice it to say that at least Vlad got 21 TSNP, so I'm only 69 TSNP behind in that decision so far.

He may be in a new home this year, but Curt Schilling sure seems to like New England cooking. Including last night's win, he has a 2.28 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP at Fenway, and a 4.34 ERA/1.42 WHIP away from home. Opponents are hitting only .210 against him in Boston, while they have tattooed him at a .295 clip elsewhere. I know - it's all based on a small sample - but it's still a "striking" difference.

Don't forget to set your GuruGolf roster for the Booz Allen Classic. As of 9am this morning, 150 teams still hadn't been touched since the U.S. Open, and while I'm sure some of those teams are already deservedly on the scrap heap, 150 certainly don't belong there yet.

6/22 - The NHL and NBA playoffs are both over, the U.S. Open is past, and still baseball can't seem to get much traction as the most discussed sport. Now it seems that NBA trade talk has taken center stage... - not that there's anything wrong with that.

I just took a look at the current MLB standings, and there are some teams that are doing surprisingly well. Consider this list of teams that are playing .500 or better so far: Cleveland, the Mets, Milwaukee, and San Diego. And after winning 10 in a row, Tampa Bay is only 2 games under. Meanwhile, Baltimore is floundering at 9 games under (last in the AL East), and Atlanta is 4 games under (4th in the NL East). Perhaps Atlanta's skid is the most surprising of the underachievers, as they have been a staple in post season play for so long. Still, it's only June, so a lot of things can change. But they certainly need to pick it up, or it will be "So long!"

The All Star game is less than 3 weeks away. I haven't even thought about who deserves to be there, but I just trundled over to to cast my vote. Voting ends on June 30 - just 8 days from now.

6/21 - Mulligan, anyone?

I can remember only one other recent golf round that had similarly treacherous scoring. It was one of the early rounds of the British Open several years back. That round was played in terrible weather, as I recall - howling winds, and rain. And it was also one of the early rounds, so most fantasy squads had a full foursome, although teams scores on the plus side of par were not uncommon.

Yesterday, the weather may have been partly to blame, but it wasn't the weather during the round. And with very few GuruGolf squads still fully loaded, the scores on Sunday were a sight to behold. The average GuruGolf team score for the final round was +1, and almost 10% of the teams posted +10 or worse. Yikes! In fact, for the entire tournament, 13 active teams failed to achieve red numbers. For those squads, a Mulligan is certainly in order. And, of course, it's available. Feel free to create a new team and start from scratch. If a brand new team starts with a better score, more $value, and better trade capacity, why not?

There were, however, plenty of teams that got off to a good start. Now the trick is to parlay that success through the next few weeks. I suspect the scheduling through the British Open will make it tough to conserve many trades over the next four weeks.

For those of you who missed the fun, and for those who need a fresh start, I will set up the GuruGolf standings program to have a variable start date. The regular standings will start with the U.S. Open, but you will also have the opportunity to compare scores starting with any subsequent tournament as well. So, if you're afraid that your ability to compete is already torched, you'll still be able to compare your future results against a comparable period.

As Mark Calcavecchia said after his round, "I need a beer!" And he had 2 eagles!

6/18 - As I write today's blurb, Mickelson and Singh are each one stroke off the lead. If Tiger can rebound with a strong round, a weekend shootout among the top players would be a real treat. Corey Pavin is also up there. Maybe he'd just as soon play all of his tournaments at Shinnecock Hills. I guess I should have taken him as my GuruGolf cheapie, instead of Nick Faldo. After one round, those two are separated by 14 strokes.

On the surface, the pitching gem of the day would seem to have been the 7 shutout innings by Derek Lowe in Coors Field, expecially since he gave up only 4 hits. But he only ranked #4 in total TSNP, I guess because he walked four but only fanned three. Even so, if you factored in degree of difficulty, I bet he'd get the nod. However, all games are weighted equally, and top honors actually went to Kris Benson, who fanned 8 in 8 innings of 1-run ball. Also of note was Armando Benitez, with a 2-inning, 63 TSNP save. Benitez has been out of favor lately, and this probably soothed the price wounds for those who have opted to ride out the latest bloodbath.

And, for the second week in a row, Happy Fathers Day to all fathers, - including Austrians (again).

6/17 - The U.S Open is off and running, and so is the official launch of GuruGolf. For this tournament, 116 different managers have entered 217 foursomes, which include 109 different golfers. Sergio Garcia was the most popular golfer, but he appears on only 35% of all rosters. The next most popular is Justin Leonard, on 20% - and probably benefiting significantly from the fact that he had precommitted to play next week.

This will be a tough tournament to open with. If you lose too many golfers to the cut, you could be skewered on the weekend. In fact, you could easily be better off with no weekend golfers than with only one. The cut for this tournament is the top 60 golfers plus anyone within 10 strokes of the lead - so it's possible that less than half the field will survive to the third round.

I have the tournament on TV this morning, and it really does look and feel like a British Open - not only because Shinnecock Hills has that British look, but because watching golf in the morning also has that feel.

6/16 - I thought that perhaps I should find something from the NBA finals to use for today's quote. But last night's championship game was almost anticlimactic. The Lakers kept the score close for the first half, but quickly fell behind in the second half and were effectively out of gas and out of contention by the start of the final period. So, rather than scouring the post game prattle, I decided to simply put a fork in the NBA this morning. Other than a little disappointment at the way Karl Malone was forced to (probably) end his career, it was a very satisfying finals.

If I counted correctly (and that's certainly speculative), the AL was 23 games over .500 last week, playing against NL teams in AL parks. You'd expect the AL home parks to offer an advantage, in large part because the AL teams are configured for the DH rule. Last night the stage shifted to the NL stadiums (stadia?), where the pitchers got to hit, the DH's got to sit, and the NL went 8-6.

Less that 24 hours remains to set your U.S. Open rosters for GuruGolf. More than 130 teams have done so already, and 96 different golfers have been taken at least once.

6/15 - Although only three MLB games were scheduled, there were plenty of viable pitching options yesterday. And the results were generally feast or famine. Two of the starters gave up no runs, with Jake Westbrook hurling a complete game shutout, and Mark Prior blanking the Astros for 5 innings. The other four starters posted negative TSNPs, however, and while Eric Dubose didn't have many owners to torment with his -94 TSNP, Clemens and Milton did plenty of damage in TSN Ultimate, with almost 12,000 owners combined. I'm sure a lot of teams had both of them.

Now the stage shifts to NL parks, so AL teams have to figure out what to do with their DHs.

It's only Tuesday morning, but 85 teams have already set a tentative GuruGolf lineup for the U.S. Open, and so far, 80 different golfers have appeared on at least one roster. The most popular golfer is on 40% of all rosters so far, but the second most popular golfer appears only 17% of the time, so differentiation appears to be the dominant theme.

6/14 - Today is Flag Day, but the bigger implication in Gurupieland is that it marks the opening of the regular season for GuruGolf. After a four week preseason shakedown, the game is ready to go. You have until Thursday at 7am ET to set your roster(s) for the U.S. Open. This will be a tough tournament to open with, because the field is obviously loaded, and you won't have enough cash to take more than one stud. But, we should get some nice differentiation right out of the chute.

As a reminder, trading is unlimited this week (of course, all you can do is buy 4 golfers, but you can continually tinker with your foursome until the freeze without consequence.) After the freeze, all teams will receive 4 trades for next week, and another 2 trades each week thereafter. If you run out of trades, you have the option to buys extras (in return for roster cash), but that's probably an expensive strategy to use for anything but emergencies. The first few weeks of the season may be difficult to navigate, as the tournaments in weeks 2 and 4 are likely to have less than star-studded fields, while the tourneys in weeks 3 (Western Open) and 5 (British Open) will be strong. It should make for a challenging start.

In the "oops" category, last Friday I wished you all a Happy Father's Day a week early - unless you were in Austria. So, if you celebrated it yesterday based on my bogus implication, here's the good news: you can do it again next week!

6/11 - I usually find it difficult to watch an entire NBA game without a lot of channel surfing or else dozing off. But I found last night's game to be captivating. I kept expecting the Lakers to mount a comeback, but Detroit's defense just never let up. A very impressive win, to say the least.

Do you know which MLB team has been the most hospitable to opposing starters lately? Montreal had a dreadful April, but over the past month, they've ranked in the middle of the pack. More recently, Milwaukee has been the team you'd like to face, ranked tops over the last 15 and 30 days. Other contenders are Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and the NY Mets. Something to consider as you look for attractive pitching matchups in the coming week or two.

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there. And don't forget to give your dad a card, a gift, or a phone call - whatever he'd appreciate. (Actually, I'd happily settle for another perfect game from Randy Johnson.)

6/10 - Weather claimed two games last night, and the weather outlook is rather foreboding at a number of sites today as well. If you are choosing pitchers based on matchups, be alert to the possibilities.

I've added a new feature in the live scoring for GuruGolf. In addition to your team score, you can now see the best score for each round and for the tournament in total. For live action, the posted "best" is based solely on scores that have been produced by the GuruGolf Scoring Recap program, so there may actually be a better score out there that has not been tallied. But if you're looking for some indication as to how your score compares to the best ones, this should provide a reasonable indication. And, at the end of the round, it will be updated to fully reflect all teams once the standings are updated for the day.

6/9 - There were a lot of attractive pitchers working last night. And almost all of them came up strong. Pedro's 158 TSNP topped the field, but ten pitchers had 3-digit TSNPs, and the tensome averaged 125+ TSNP. It was probably a costly night to have your pitching staff watching from the dugout.

Speaking of tens, ten golfers have withdrawn from the Buick Classic since the field was originally announced, and the list includes some who were likely to be on GuruGolf rosters this week. Don't forget to recheck your rosters before tomorrow morning's freeze.

6/8 - It was such a slow sports night that even I watched the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Well, the third period, at least. Very exciting! Now we're left to wonder if and when the NHL will resume action.

I just glanced at the player rankings sorted by total TSNP for the baseball season. Remarkably, three of the top four players are relief pitchers, headed by Armando Benitez. The top five players are all pitchers. And no one is averaging better than 20 TSNP/EG. Well, no one except Mark Prior, who is effectively at 20.75 TSNP/EG (104 TSNP in one start). Pitchers seem to be dominant this year, occupying 13 of the top 20 spots.

6/7 - We're a week into June, and you might think that baseball would have commanded center stage over the weekend. But it seemed like everything but baseball was making the news. The NHL finals are going to a game #7 tonight. Smarty Jones lost at Belmont. Reagan died. Ernie and Tiger dueled it out on the last day of The Memorial Tournament. The Pistons claimed the first game of the NBA finals, in L.A. And in baseball? Umm-m-m,... beats me.

GuruGolf heads into its final preseason week. If you're playing, you should trade as though it's the final week of the season, because nothing will carry over into the regular season except your login name and team name(s). And if you're not playing, you have one more chance to try it out before we start playing for keeps.

6/4 - I'm old enough to remember when the three Alou brothers all patrolled various National League outfields. As of yesterday, we have another 3-brother act. Little brother Yadier Molina now joins Jose and Bengie as a catching triumvirate. There must be strong knees in that family's gene pool.

Interleague play starts next week, but you don't have to bench your AL DHs just yet. All of next week's games are in AL parks, so NL teams will get to use a DH. The week after that, however, all games will be in the NL venues, so factor that thought in your long term planning.

Special thanks to Gurupie Blake M. for suggesting today's quote.

6/3 - Seldom does the top hitter outpoint the top pitcher, but Vlad Guerrero's 110 TSNP topped the best pitchers by 1 TSNP. All it took was a single, a double, 2 HRs, and 9 RBIs. If he had legged one of those HRs into a triple, he'd have hit for the cycle.

The next two days will see the return to action of two potential pitching studs. Today, A.J. Burnett takes the mound against the Mets, his first outing since April 25, 2003. Tomorrow, Mark Prior gets the ball against Pittsburgh. Prior has a fairly hefty TSN price tag, so he may need to show something before he gets serious buying, but Burnett is very affordable. I thought about finding a way to include Prior on my roster, but frankly, his price made it more difficult, and I wasn't too keen on his upcoming schedule. After this start, his next outings will probably be against St. Louis and at Houston. A healthy Prior in midseason form wouldn't dissuade me, but even if he is healthy now, midseason form seems a stretch. So, given my dismal track record in pitcher selection this year, you might be well served to get Prior now.

6/2 - Tough night for third basemen! Scott Rolen suffered a mild concussion after getting beaned. Eric Chavez suffered a broken hand after getting hit by a pitch. Rolen is presumably just day-to-day, but Chavez will miss some time. Just what my RIBC team needed.

Today is the day to get your GuruGolf rosters set. This week's Memorial Tournament has only 105 entrants, so roughly two-thirds should make the cut. Don't get caught with an inactive golfer! And there's no sense in conserving trades for now. Next week will be the final preseason week, after which rosters will be emptied, trades will be reset, and the real season will begin with the U.S. Open. If you've been sitting on the sidelines so far, why not give it a try? You still have two weeks just for practice.

6/1 - June!

I was glancing at the major league standings the morning, and was struck by a few things. In fantasy sports, we often get caught up in tracking individual players, and sometimes miss team accomplishments - both good and bad. So, if you've been dozing like I have, here are a few tidbits:

  • None of the six divisions is a runaway. No second place team is more than 2.5 games behind.
  • Detroit is only 4 games under .500.
  • Cincy is tied for the best record in the NL. They have 30 wins, and Danny Graves has saved 24 of them.
  • Until Pittsburgh lost its last 2 games, every team in the NL Central was over .500.
  • San Diego is 5 games over .500, and tied for the lead in the West (with L.A.)
  • Tampa Bay and Kansas City have the worst records in the A.L. But both are playing .500 ball at home.
  • Pittsburgh is playing worse than .400 at home, but better than .600 on the road.
  • Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

    2004: 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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