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6/29 - It was nice of Craig Biggio to get his last 5 hits all at once. No following him around for days. None of those tortured waiting games – the kind that we’ll no doubt get from Barry Bonds some time this season. On the other hand, I doubt if ESPN would have been cutting in on every Biggio at bat in anticipation of the 3,000th hit.
The weather really screwed me up this week. I was hoping to start Verlander yesterday against Texas. I was hoping to start Johan Santana today against the Tigers. But with the postponement of Wednesday’s game in Detroit, Verlander now starts today – vs. Santana. And suddenly, I’m less enthused about either starter. At a minimum, they can’t both get the win. I know it’s possible that they could both pitch well enough to warrant starting – but it’s still a disappointing turn of events.
It’s still early in round 2, but it looks like making the cut in the Buick Open might require posting a -4 or better. It’s been five weeks since we’ve had a red number for the cut line, and even that was only -1. It takes a little getting used to seeing someone at -3 and realizing that they are on the bubble.
6/28 - So much for Atlanta’s hitting slump. After scoring just one run in five consecutive games, they scored 23 in three games vs. Washington this week, including last night’s 13-0 laugher in which they got 22 hits. Yet Washington starter Micah Bowie wasn’t the night’s premier whipping boy by a long shot. That honor belonged to Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona, who was lit up by Oakland for 8 runs in just one inning of work. Carmona’s TSNP output for the game was -118, which is significant as I had him on several of my TSN teams – and I know some of you did too. Ooofff!
The Buick Open is underway, and low scores abound, as expected. Last year’s cut line was at -3, and the line in 2005 was -4. So far, this looks like more of the same. Jim Furyk is the popular favorite on (approx 40% of) GuruGolf rosters, and as I write this (after 17 holes) he’s at -6, just one stroke off the lead, so it doesn’t look like he’s going to cause any GuruGolf damage this weekend.
6/27 - There was a network outage this morning that rendered both of the RotoGuru servers inaccessible for all of this morning (and the afternoon for this server, although the rotoguru1 server was back online much earlier.) I hate when that happens – it really messes up my morning routine. Sorry if it messes up yours as well.
The Buick Open tees off at 7am ET tomorrow morning. About 100 GuruGolf teams still need to make roster adjustments. Hopefully, the server outage didn’t get in the way – although this is a good time to suggest that roster moves should optimally be made early in the week and then reviewed on Wednesday, rather than waiting until Wednesday to start from scratch. If you wait until the last minute and there is a technical snafu, you could be stuck with inactive golfers.
Today I’ve announced a new “sponsor of the month”, FantasySportsLive.com. While I’m sure it won’t appeal to everyone, I expect that some of you will like the daily contest format, the instant prize feedback, and particularly the opportunity to play as often (or seldom) as you like without the need for constant attention. For additional details, or to ask questions, check this thread.
6/26 - Jeff Weaver shut out Pittsburgh last week, but that was fairly easy to dismiss. Last night, he gave up only one earned run to the Red sox over 5.2 innings, which is much more impressive – and much more surprising. In the process, he lowered his season ERA to 7.71, which sounds pretty high, but it was 14.32 a month ago, and 18.27 at the end of April. For the month of June only, his ERA is 1.82. And, of course, for fantasy purposes, it’s probably of no consequence. Would anyone have started Jeff Weaver vs. the BoSox? And if they did, would they be a user of this site? Someone like that is either too dumb or too smart for this site!
6/25 - Last Monday, the Braves beat Curt Schilling 9-4, and had just won 2 of 3 in Cleveland over the weekend. Since then, they have been shut out four times, and lost the other one 2-1. Now that’s a slump of Biblical proportions! The cumulative scores of those games was 27-1.
Less than two weeks ago, I mused that the Yankees might overtake the Red Sox by the All Star break. Since then, they’ve gone 3-6, while Boston has gone 7-2, trailing by more than 11 games once again. So I guess I got that wrong! Perhaps the more importantly, the Yankees are 6.5 behind Cleveland for the Wild Card spot. Given my personal rooting interest, I guess that’s the race I’d better start paying more attention to!
Congrats to blondiescookies, who carded the top best ball score (-51) for the Travelers Championship. On the worst ball side, Blinker’s Buckeyes posted an impressive +54, with double digit scores in every round despite having only two golfers who made the cut.
6/22 - I was somewhat prophetic on Tuesday when I suggested that Alex Rodriguez would disappoint in Coors Field. He did manage one more single than I called for – 3, instead of 2 – but it wasn’t as though any other Yankee did any better, as the Yanks were swept in three games while scoring a cumulative total of five runs. Just when I thought they might be making a run at the Red Sox, they took a giant step backwards, especially since the Sahx went 2-0 while the Yankees were going 0-3.
By the way, Colorado has been the most successful N.L. team in interleague play so far this year. Although they are a game under .500 against N.L. teams, they have gone 10-5 against the A.L., including 9-3 against the A.L. East. The only American League team to handle them was Kansas City.
6/21 - If you want a vivid example of how bad the Pittsburgh Pirates are, they were stymied yesterday on a complete game 4-hit shutout by Jeff Weaver. Yikes!
Today’s MLB action features only five games, of which three are afternoon games. If you’ve been waiting for those Yankee bats to embrace the energy of the Rocky Mountain air, this afternoon is your last chance!
The Travelers Championship is off and running this morning, and just 2 hours into the tournament, there are already more golfers in red numbers than we’ve seen in the last two weeks combined. David Toms is the popular GuruGolf favorite, but he’s only on 29% of active rosters. I’m just about to head out to watch the first round (it’s about a 20 minute drive from RotoGuru World Headquarters). Hopefully, if any of my golfers are lagging today, I can use the opportunity to coach ‘em up..
6/20 - There were plenty of runs scored last night, which featured final scores of 6-9, 15-1, 10-1, 9-0, 9-5, 10-8, and 12-6. Off course, the fewest runs were scored at Coors Field, where the Yankees dropped a 3-1 pitchers duel. Go figure. (Boston-Atlanta also managed just 4 runs.)
From the looks of the scoreboard, Johan Santana appears to have returned to vintage form, with a complete game 4-hit shutout over the Mets. But on closer inspection, he managed only one strikeout, and that wasn’t until the 9th inning. The lack of Ks (and lack of walks) helped to hold down his pitch count, as he needed only 92 pitches. If you’ve got Santana on any teams, this has to be a promising sign, strikeouts or not.
The Travelers Championship tees off bright and early tomorrow morning. This field offers a mixture of recognizable names and youngsters. Birdies will be much more plentiful than they were for the last two weeks – and bogeys much rarer. This week also starts the next GuruGolf contest period, which covers the four weeks between the US and British Opens (the “Open Faced Sandwich” Contest). Even if your season totals aren’t getting you anywhere, each new contest period offers an opportunity for a fresh start. And if you’re light on either trades or funds, you can always start up a new team (unless you already have the max of 10). No extra charge!
6/19 - This week, the hottest hitter in the universe goes to Coors Field for three games. What’s not to like about that? And as happens so often when the “can’t miss” situation presents itself, he’ll probably manage only two singles over the three game series. But if you’re playing in a format that allows you to get him, I don’t know how you can pass.
Two starts ago, Curt Schilling came within one out of tossing a no-hitter. Since then, he’s posted a double-digit ERA, allowing 11 runs and 19 hits in 9.1 IP. Last night, he failed to strike out a single batter for the first time since July 1, 1993. That broke his streak of 378 consecutive starts with at least one strikeout - the longest since Nolan Ryan (382, from 1979-92).
6/18 - Just one more week of interleague play. I’ll be glad to see it go. No more need to figure out which teams are in which parks, and which A.L. hitters will be susceptible to sitting. Fantasy baseball is complicated enough without that extra level of discontinuity.
Tiger Woods can attribute his weekend “failure” to his lack of birdies. He had only eight birdies for the entire tournament. By comparison, Angel Cabrera had 13, and most of the other tournament leaders had at least 11 or 12. The birdie leader for the week was Geoff Ogilvy with 14, but he also had 25 bogeys and 4 worse.
We also had ten "perfect high" scores in the first two rounds – three in the first round, and seven in round 2. A “perfect high” is a worst ball scorecard with every hole showing a bogey or worse. Each of these qualifies for a GuruGolf golf ball prize. All prize winners will be notified via email.
6/15 - The U.S. Open provided one idiosyncrasy already. Make that three. Three different GuruGolf teams achieved a “perfect high,” defined as a worst ball scorecard on which every hole scores a bogey or worse. For example, see the first round scorecard for FootWedge. I think this was the first time we’ve had one this season. And we actually had three. So not only is the course playing tough, but apparently every hole is playing tough. By the way, the prize for a perfect high is a sleeve of RotoGuru logo golf balls. Emails will go out next week.
Johan Santana must know how Roger Clemens has felt the past few years. Santana has an ERA of 3.19 and a WHIP of 1.11 – not quite up to his standards of recent years, but still pretty good – and yet his W/L record is only 6-6. And it would be 6-7 if the Twins had not rallied for 3 runs in the 9th inning last night, since he left the game after 7 innings, trailing 2-0. He’s never lost more than 7 games in any year of his career.
6/14 - The U.S. Open is off and running, and although there are a limited number of red scores so far (I count 10 players under par with 78 on the course), the scoreboard doesn’t look as hideous as expected. It doesn’t even look as hideous as last week’s (St. Jude) scoreboard.
Curiously, the popular favorite in GuruGolf is Anthony Kim, but he’s on less than 24% of all rosters, so the real story is that there is no consensus golfer. Of the big names who are considered to have a shot to win, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen are each represented on about 10% of all teams; Tiger Woods appears on only about 6% (which is certainly more a function of his high price than of his prognosis.) Only six teams (2%) have Phil Mickelson and his sore wrist.
The N.L. went 8-6 last night, including 5-2 in A.L. ballparks, where only the Twins and the resurgent Yankees managed to hold serve. The Yankees win pushed their record above .500, and they have also gained 5 games on the Red Sox over the past 10 days. At this recent pace, the Red Sox will be looking up at pinstripes by the All Star break!
6/13 - My RIBC team has had some pitching woes this season. But not last night – with Verlander, Wakefield, Carmona, Papelbon, and even topped off with a rare Chad Cordero save. The stat line: 26.2 IP, 1.46 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 2 wins, 2 saves. I picked up 8 points in the five pitching categories. And, of course, starting tonight, I’ll gradually work on giving them all back.
The American League is dominating interleague play again this year, in spite of a 7-7 record last night. After the first 100 games, AL teams have an aggregate record of 58-42. In fairness, that is slightly behind last year’s pace, when the A.L. won 61% of the interleague games. But the dominance is still striking.
The U.S. Open tees off at 7am ET tomorrow. The rough will be 6” deep, and the greens will be like glass. As usual. There are still a lot of teams that need to be filled with active golfers. This is one tournament which you don’t want to start out shorthanded, even if you have to pay for an extra trade.
6/12 - There were only five MLB games last night, but still plenty of good pitching. Matt Morris threw a complete game, shutting out Toronto for 8 innings after a rocky opening frame. Carlos Zambrano authored his best outing of the season, working 8 innings while allowing only 3 hits and one unearned run. Even Adam Eaton shut down the White Sox on just 4 hits over 7 innings. As long as you avoided the pitching in the Seattle-Cleveland game, you probably did OK.
GuruGolf digression: Last week, I noted that my contest-winning worst ball team, Bald Eagles 2, used a “consistent but unorthodox” strategy for almost the entire contest period. Taking a cue from the team name, I decided to give first priority to any golfer whose name includes II, III, or Jr. – such as David Love III, Frank Lickliter II, Tom Pernice, Jr., yada-yada-yada. For those events that lacked sufficient qualifiers, I chose golfers whose names prominently include double-letters – like J.J. Henry, or Boo Weekley. Don’t knock it – it worked! In fact, the only guy I had who made the cut last week was Jim Gallagher, Jr., and I was the only team to “find” him. I guess I’ll have to continue to ride that strategy until it blows up.
Thanks to Gurupie Tosh for suggesting today’s quote.
6/11 - It looks like June is busting out all over for Alex Rodriguez, and in his case, it’s busting out as April. He’s already homered as often in June as he did for all of May (5), and his June OPS of 1.368 is similar to April’s 1.297, more than 500 points higher than May’s .782. Perhaps the biggest difference is that some other Yankees seem to be hitting this time as well, not the least of whom is Bobby Abreu, whose June OPS of almost 1.400 is more than double his April and May numbers.
In GuruGolf, the "Spring to the Open" contest has ended. This contest ran from the week after the Masters until the week before the U.S. Open. First place in the best ball competition goes to YTD leader TD2, winning by four strokes. In the worst ball contest, my Bald Eagles 2 team prevailed, in spite of a final week in which only one golfer made the cut. The prize will therefore be awarded to the second place finisher, hit the mute
Best ball and worst ball prizes will be provided for the U.S.Open. Remember also that the U.S.Open is not eligible to be a mulligan week for the full season standings.
Thanks to Gurupie Challenger for suggesting today’s quote.
6/8 - Not too many years ago, a no-hit bid by Curt Schilling would have had limited impact in the TSN game, beucase all competitive teams would have had him. Yesterday’s game had a similar non-impact, because almost no teams had him. In fact, he’s still in price gravity in the Ultimate game. He’s had several studly outings this season, but has been very inconsistent, and with the Red Sox bats relatively silent of late, this matchup wasn’t one that screamed to be exploited.
Of course, if you have Schilling on a roto-team, it’s a really significant result. Not only do you get a win and 9 shutout innings, but a daily WHIP of 0.11.
The Oakland hitters were about as successful as the PGA golfers yesterday. The leaderboard scores look more like a U.S. Open scoreboard. There were 2.3 bogeys or worse for every below par hole. Last year’s St. Jude tournament produced high scores, and yesterday’s results were worse than the comparable scores in last year’s first round. As of mid-morning today, only nine golfers are under par, and the cut line is at +4. If scoring is like yesterday, the cut line could drift as high as +6.
Before I forget, one more baseball caution: interleague play starts in earnest for the next several weeks. If you have DHs on teams that play in N.L. parks, be prepared for some DNPs, or pinch hitting appearances. And of course, some DHs will take the field, dislodging other regular hitters. Be alert!
6/7 - Buck up, Yankees fans! The red Sox have dropped four straight, and the Yanks are only 10.5 behind. This could be a horse race again (and not the Chad Johnson kind) by the All Star break. And if you want another sign, note that Aaron F. Boone has homered on back-to-back days. In Red Sox lore, Boone’s name ranks up there with other hallowed names like Bill F. Buckner and Bucky F. Dent.
Today’s baseball action starts early, with the KC/Cleveland game at noon ET, and five games starting by mid-afternoon. Make sure your lineup decisions are implemented in time.
The Stanford St. Jude Championship is underway, and the popular favorite among GuruGolf teams is Anthony Kim, although he’s on only 30% of active rosters. If last year’s tournament is any indication, the scores won’t be very low this week. Only 15 golfers finished under par in 2006, and those at +4 or better survived the cut. This year, after just three hours, nobody is below -2, while ten players are already at +5 or worse.
6/6 - I guess it was the obvious pitching choice of the day. Kansas City has been the most generous opponent for starting pitchers, not only recently, but for the whole season. C.C. Sabathia ranks #4 in total TSNP among all starting pitchers this season. Typically, these seem to be the matchups that blow up in your face. But not yesterday, as Sabathia twirled a 5-hit complete game shutout.
But, while on the topic of sweet matchups that blow up in your face, look no further than Roy Halladay’s -80 TSNP vs. Tampa last night – which would have been a -95 had not the Blue Jays come up with 6 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to win 12-11. It was the third time this season that Halladay has really stunk up the joint, and you have to wonder what’s going on there.
The Stanford St. Jude Championship tees off tomorrow in Memphis (not Palo Alto – the sponsor is the Stanford Financial Group). This is the final stop before the U.S. Open, which means it is also the final event in the GuruGolf “Spring to the Open” contest. The best ball contest features nine teams within five strokes at the top of the leaderboard. On the worst ball side, my Bald Eagles 2 team has a seemingly comfortable 14 stroke lead, and the second place team (which would win the prize) has a 14 stroke margin over the third place team, so that contest looks to be all but done – although youneverknow - worst ball results can be very volatile. My team has used a consistent but unorthodox strategy for this contest period, which I’ll disclose next week.
Thanks to Gurupie Mike V for pointing out today’s quote.
6/5 - There were a fair number of reasonably attractive pitching alternatives yesterday, and many of them did reasonably well, although no one pitched a monster. Among the disappointments, though, were two of April’s fast starters - Tim Hudson and Felix Hernandez. Neither stunk up the joint, but Hudson surrendered 5 runs over 6 IP in a loss to Florida, while Hernandez allowed 4 runs in 5-2/3 IP, avoiding the loss when Seattle scored late in the game. Since his return from the DL, Hernandez has an ERA of 6+, after opening the season with 17 scoreless innings in two starts.
On the hitting side, Mark Ellis hit for the cycle. Of greater fantasy import, though, was the 5-5 performance of Alfonso Soriano. Soriano has generally disappointed this year. He did have one burst of hitting in early May, but then retreated into mediocrity for the second half. But so far in June, he’s hitting .579 (1.737 OPS) with 3 home runs. Granted, his full season numbers aren’t terrible, but they’re not the stuff that first round draft picks are expected to produce, with only 7 HRs (including the latest 3), 17 RBI, and only 8/10 in stolen bases.
Thanks to Gurupie Challenger for suggesting today’s quote.
6/4 - Every now and then, Albert Pujols provides a game that (so far) teases us into thinking that maybe he’s finally getting it together. And then that’s invariably followed up by several games of abject mediocrity at best. Yesterday’s 2 HR outburst must certainly be giving Pujols owners another glimmer of hope. He’s off today, so we won’t get any new clues until tomorrow.
In golf, the Memorial Tournament did a reasonably good job of dodging the raindrops. Kudos to Blitsaerd, who rode a strong foursome to the top bestball score of -52, with no individual golfers scoring worse than -8. On the worst ball side, my own Bald Eagles 2 smoked the field with a +56, seven strokes above the next closest contender.
6/1 - Apparently, Roy Halladay pitches better without his appendix. Or maybe he just needs 3 weeks in between starts.
Armando Benitez was traded yesterday from San Fran to the Marlins. For those of you looking for closers, the Giants will need one, and Brad Hennessey seems to have the inside track for now, although his record doesn’t inspire much confidence. In Florida, the indication is that Kevin Gregg will continue to close for the time being, although not only is Benitez now available, but Henry Owens also returned from the DL yesterday, so Gregg won’t be on a long leash.
In golf, the starting field for the Memorial Tournament was only 107 golfers deep, and three of them withdrew during the opening round. The standard cut line (top 70 plus ties) still applies, so as much as 75% of the field could potentially survive to the weekend. If you don’t have a good turnout for your weekend group, you’re probably in trouble.
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