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6/30 - After his first two starts this season, Tim Lincecum sported an ERA of 7.56 and a WHIP of almost 2½. Since that shaky start, he’s been 8-1, lowering his ERA to 2.37 and his WHIP to 1.07. Last night, he never needed more than 13 pitches in any inning, finishing with his third complete game in his last four starts. He’s one of the reasons that the Giants have been respectable this season, now 7 games over .500, with the second best record in the National League.
I’ll be vacationing in Ohio for the rest of this week through July 6. I’ll probably not be posting any blurbs during that time, although stats should continue to be updated as usual. Have a good holiday weekend. I’ll back in the “home office” on Tuesday.
6/29 - The Mets picked a bad weekend to face the Yankees. Their hitting corps is so depleted that they couldn’t even beat Chien-Ming Wang - which probably means they are in trouble, no matter who they face right now. Without Beltran, Reyes, and Delgado, the only punch in the dugout is inside the Gatorade cooler.
The TPC course played very soft in Connecticut this week, both literally and figuratively. Three teams posted a -55 in GuruGolf best ball scoring, and more than 20 teams finished with a score of -50 or better. Worst ball scoring was much more difficult – although manager gruelly solved that problem, posting the two top worst ball results, including a +43 from team Payton.
We released a new tool on our affiliated DailyBaseballData.com site this past weekend, the Bullpen Usage Report. Once again, the focus was on producing as much useful info as possible on a single report, this time covering bullpen activity. Sorted by active relievers within team, the report not only summarizes recent activity (4 days is the default period, but you can select from 1-7 days), but also allows you to quickly drill down to see the game-by-game details for any pitcher or team. The focus is generally on innings pitched and pitch counts, although you can also quickly see the inning of entry for each pitching appearance, which may help you to discern changing usage trends. Admittedly, it’s a lot of data thrown at you all at once – but it sure beats the need for multiple clicks if you happen to be looking for any of this information.
6/26 - What a difference a week makes in golf. In yesterday’s opening round of the Travelers Championship, only 15 foursomes were able to post a double-digit worst ball score. One foursome had a worst ball score of +1! In last week’s U.S. Open, only three foursomes managed to post a first round worst ball score under +10.
As we come down to the final weekend of interleague baseball, the American League is poised to take the head-to-head title once again, currently 17 games over .500 with a 54% winning percentage. That’s not quite as lopsided as in recent years, however. Last year, the AL won 59% of those matchups, and 56% in 2007. So far, five AL teams have losing records: Cleveland (4-11), Oakland (5-10), Toronto (6-9), KC (7-8), and the Yankees (7-8). Five NL teams have winning records: Florida (10-5), St. Louis (8-4), Colorado (8-4), San Fran (9-6), and the Dodgers (8-7). The best AL team has been the Angels, currently at 11-4, while the Phillies have been the most futile NL team at 4-11.
6/25 - In today’s marquis pitching matchup (no, not Jason Marquis), Chris Carpenter faces Johan Santana. Given Carpenter’s recent dominance and Santana’s recent scuffling, you’d tend to expect St. Louis to prevail. But these matchups often have a way of turning out differently than expected – so I figure that either Santana will outduel Carp, of perhaps that it will be a hitting slugfest. Or maybe the game will go four innings and then be rain delayed. Based on the weather forecast, that’s possible.
The Travelers Championship looks to be free of weather issues today, which I’m sure is a relief to all tour golfers who ventured up from Long Island to play in Connecticut this week. In GuruGolf, David Toms is a slight popular favorite, on roughly 20% of all foursomes. Diversity is really the dominant theme, though, as 107 different golfers are represented, and about 18 different golfers are on at least 10% of rosters. U.S. Open champ Lucas Glover isn’t getting much love, though, on only nine of 200+ teams. Then again, that’s seven more teams than had him last weekend.
6/24 - In spite of losing, Chien-Ming Wang had a very respectable outing last night, surrendering only 3 earned runs in five innings. It may have only produced 9 TSNP, but that’s the most fantasy points he’s had in any start so far this season – topping last weeks 6 TSNP effort. His ERA is all the way down to 11.49. Single digits seem very possible now.
The Travelers Championship tees off at 6:50am tomorrow morning in nearby Cromwell, CT. I’m not planning to go this year, even though the strength of the field has benefitted somewhat by the venue’s proximity to last weeks U.S. Open. For GuruGolf, this is the first week of the abbreviated “Open Faced Sandwich Contest”, which spans the three tournaments between the U.S. and British Opens. Get your foursomes lined up!
6/23 - The final round of the U.S. Open had its share of dramatic moments. Too bad so many of you working stiffs had to miss it.
On to baseball. Sometime during the last day or two, we officially turned the corner into summer. I figured I’d due a quick check to see what players have been the hottest heading into the hottest months. I found a few surprises.
For example, Huston Street has appeared in 9 games over the past 15 days, saving 8 and winning the other. He’s accumulated more fantasy points over that stretch than any other player – hitter or pitcher. Meanwhile, the hottest starters have been King Felix, Matt Cain, and [gulp] Kevin Correia! Never expected to find that last name near the top.
On the hitting side, Albert Pujols [yawn] leads the pack, although Troy Tulowitzki has been tracking him very closely. Ryan Braun ranks 3rd, but he and the rest of the hitting pack are quite a bit behind the top two.
6/22 - I’ve got the TV coverage of the U.S. Open on in the background, but it’s still tough to focus on what’s happening there while working on the web site, so I may just have to concede and go sit in front of that screen, instead of this one. I do know that at this moment, Tiger is only four strokes back, with 4 to play. On the surface, that sounds like a tall order, but the leaders still have many more to play, and they could easily retreat a few strokes – or more. If Tiger can post a red number, the pressure will be on. And Phil is currently tied with Tiger, with 9 holes to go. Imagine if this comes down to an 18-hole playoff between Tiger and Phil. Not likely, of course – but plausible, given where things stand at the moment.
There are only four baseball games today, including one makeup game - the Cubs at Atlanta. Make sure your schedule has that one listed. Not all do.
6/19 - Amazingly, all MLB games were played yesterday. Maybe even more amazingly, the damp weather kept any flyballs from reaching home run territory in Yankee Stadium, which dropped that stadium back to second place in the “Homer friendly” derby, behind Arizona’s Chase Field.
Two of baseball’s most prodigious 2009 fantasy stars went on the disabled list yesterday. Roy Halladay and Raul Ibanez. Arguably, they could have been considered the top pitcher and top hitter so far this season. If you’ve been riding their coattails, better hitch a ride elsewhere for the next week or two. And if you’ve been chasing a team with one of them – here’s your chance!
Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there. Take it easy this weekend; watch baseball and golf. That’s my plan.
6/18 - It’s raining in Hartford this morning, and expected to continue all day and night. We’re located midway between Boston and New York, so that can’t bode well for the likelihood that either the Red Sox or Yankees will get their games in today or tonight.
Speaking of not boding well, the Zach Greinke rocket ship seems to have crashed this month. In three June starts, he has an ERA of 5.68 and a WHIP of 1.52. Granted, his YTD numbers are still impressive, but he can’t sustain them for much longer if those June numbers continue.
The U.S. Open got started on time this morning, but the rains have now suspended play, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they are done for the day. GuruGolf teams are pretty diverse this week, with popular favorites Retief Goosen and David Toms on less than 20% or all foursomes.
6/17 - I have gotten woefully behind in recognizing the latest class of inductees to the RotoGuru Hall of Fame. In recent years, the annual enshrinement has taken place following the football season, but this year, the NBA Finals have already been completed. So, to get current, I’ll include two seasons of basketball winners this time around. Without further ado, allow me to formally recognize the RotoGuru Hall of Fame Class of 2008-08½
Early tomorrow, the U.S. Open tees off on Long Island, weather permitting. The local forecast shows a material probability of rain every day this week, so delays seem likely, although no day looks like a complete washout. But then, I’m no meteorologist. In any event, get your GuruGolf foursomes lined up. A major championship is no time to be going with less than four active golfers – for best ball or worst ball.
6/16 - It appears that TSN has made some change to the mechanics of their login process, and as a consequence, I have been able to retrieve updated player data – specifically, prices and position eligibilities. The Assimilator roster copy function is also not working. I’m trying to figure out how to adjust my programs to accommodate the changes, but have been unsuccessful so far. So, unless and until I figure it out, TSN price and position data will not be updated in the sortable stats or the Assimilator.
Update: Programs were successfully adjusted this afternoon, and all data has now been updated. Special thanks to Gurupie youngroman for his assistance in diagnosing the problem and the cure. And thanks to all of you for your patience.
6/15 - The Batter vs. Pitcher report at the affiliated DailyBaseballData.com site has been enhanced to provide some position-based highlighting. Now, if you are looking for a catcher, you can click on that position title and all catchers will be highlighted. Position eligibilities are based on the Draftbug game, so if you’re working on a lineup for a different game format, they may not correspond exactly. But they should agree in most cases. With only two games on today’s docket, it’s not a very interesting day to check it out. But of course, you can generate the report for any day in the next week.
In GuruGolf, the St. Jude Classic course was a “kinder, gentler” course compared to recent years. The second-round cut line was at even par, compared to +6 in each of the previous two years. Kudos to shankers (-53) with the top best ball score (by 4 strokes), while a pair of teams tied for worst ball honors with a +48.
Congrats also to the "Spring to the Open" Contest prize winners:
6/12 - “A free throw, a free throw, my kingdom for a free throw.” That could have been the lament of Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy last night, whose kingdom was anything but magic. Derek Fisher may have been credited with the game’s ultimate “dagger”, but the real killer was Orlando’s going 2-7 from the foul line (by Howard and Turkoglu) in the last 5 minutes, which was why Fisher was in position to tie the game with his trey. With Dwight Howard, you know that free throws can be an adventure – although he did manage to shoot 70% vs. Cleveland. So maybe the 1-4 FT shooting from Hedo Turko-glue down the stretch is the real reason the Magic seem to be stuck.
Interleague play starts in earnest today, and continues unabated for the next 2½ weeks. Managers of rosters with A.L. designated hitters – be prepared for some extra bench time. Key players at risk for the next week include David Ortiz (who’s recently started to hit again), Jim Thome, and Ken Griffey.
6/11 - The Yankees lost again the to Red Sox, but there was some good news for starter Chien-Ming Wang: in spite of surrendering 4 earned runs in less than 3 innings, his ERA dropped – from 14.46 to 14.34. Gotta celebrate the good news wherever you can find it.
There are a bunch of early games today, and quite possibly a bunch of very late games – as every night game in a non-domed stadium has a significant threat of rain. None look like slam-dunk rainouts, so my best guess is that many will get played, but not without some delays.
In GuruGolf, the popular favorite for this week’s St. Jude Classic is… Michael Letzig! I’ve got to confess, I wouldn’t recognize Michael Letzig if he walked into the room wearing a T-shirt that said, “I’m Michael Letzig”. I guess the attraction is a combination of reasonable price, and making 13 of 14 cuts this season. Perhaps some limited TV exposure as Tiger’s playing partner in the final round last week didn’t hurt either, even though he had 10 more strokes than Tiger did that day. His YTD birdie rate is nothing special (although not bad at 3.66 per round), but he did finish well (T18) in this event last year. For whatever reason, he found his way on to 22% of active GuruGolf foursomes – about 5% more than the next most popular trio of Goosen, Mickelson, and DiMarco.
6/10 - If you are trying to pick only one or two pitchers for a game day, yesterday was a tough one. Some days, it’s hard to find two pitchers that you’d want to start. But yesterday, there were more than half-a-dozen starters with solid pedigrees. And, as seems to be the usual outcome of those situations, most of them had disappointing results. But not
Josh Beckett, whose opening month was fraught with problems, but has really turned it around since then:
The St. Jude Classic tees off tomorrow morning in Memphis. This shapes up to be another tough-scoring event, as the cut line was +6 for each of the past two years. Sandwiched between the Memorial and the U.S. Open, GuruGolf worst ball scoring should be in for an impressive stretch.
This is the final week for the second GuruGolf in-season contest, the “Spring to the Open” contest, which started immediately after the Masters. With one week to go, the same team is in the lead for both the best ball and worst ball titles. I don’t recall whether that feat has ever been accomplished before. It’s certainly rare, in any case. And, of course, the fat lady hasn’t sung on this contest yet.
6/9 - One of the things that I noticed when scanning the final tally on yesterday’s Who’s Hittin’ and Who’s Sittin’ summary is that White Sox hitter Jayson Nix was the only “active” hitter on either Chicago or Detroit to sit out both ends of their doubleheader. Sounds like he’s not about to be an integral part of that team in the near future!
At the polar opposite end of that spectrum is Toronto’s Adam Lind, who banged out two HRs in Texas last night. So far in June, he’s hitting .483 with a 1.448 OPS. He’s gone on hot streaks in previous years as well, but has not yet been able to put together a sustained season of roto-worthy numbers. And until this year, he had diffuclty hitting lefties. But this year, his batting averages are almost identical facing lefties vs. righties – although he still shows more power and plate discipline vs. righties. Now at age 25 (26 in July), maybe he’s turned the corner.
6/8 - Today, we’re unveiling a new tool at
DailyBaseballData.com. Listed as the first entry under the “Other Tools” menu, it is called the
Lineup Dashboard. This program consolidates all lineup and boxscore data for the day’s games on a single page. That, in itself, may or may not be useful to you. But the pièce de résistance is the consolidation of hitting lineup data at the bottom of the page, called Who’s Hittin’, and Who’s Sittin’. This shows all hitters that have appeared in a starting lineup or a game boxscore, sorted alphabetically by team – and also lists all hitters who have not (yet) appeared! For this latter category, all hitters who have been on the active roster at some time in the prior 7 days are considered. Those who are currently not on the active list are preceded by an asterisk. So this tool can be helpful in several respects:
As is often the case with new programs, there may still be some minor bugs or tweaks that need to be addressed. But it seemed to work well yesterday, so we might as well take it public today and see how it goes. Feel free to send me any comments or ideas you have.
In GuruGolf, Knight-Time (-52) posted the top best ball score of the weekend, while takeda (+65) was the worst ball medalist. That gap of 117 strokes between the bestball and worstball extremes was quite wide.
6/5 - If you look up “platinum sombrero” in the dictionary, you probably should see a picture of Alex Rios next to the entry. Last night, he fanned five times against John Lackey (4) and Brian Fuentes (1), the second time in his career that he has accomplished the feat. He managed to see 22 pitches during the game: 7 balls, 2 called strikes, 3 foul balls, and 10 “swing-an-a-misses”. According to Wikipedia, the feat is almost 6 times rarer than hitting for the cycle. It also occurs about three times more often than a perfect game.
Perhaps just as “striking”, Toronto teammate Adam Lind, who immediately followed Rios in the batting order, went 5-for-5 with three doubles, and extended his hitting streak to 8 consecutive at bats.
Meanwhile, Ichiro failed to extend his hitting streak last night. The primary reason was that the Mariners had an off day, but the way he’s been swinging lately, youneverknow.
Just a heads-up for those of you who like to plan ahead: Interleague play begins in earnest starting next Friday (6/12) and then continues unabated for 2½ weeks. If you have any full-time DH’s on your fantasy roster, you may want to consider alternate plans. On the other hand, some of those guys might earn position eligibility over that span, if their hitting prowess is enough to overcome their apparent fielding deficiencies. (That’s not likely to happen for David Ortiz, however.)
6/4 - Rain claimed two games last night. San Fran at Washington was rescheduled for a twin bill today, with a 70% chance of rain forecast throughout the late afternoon and evening. In some games, it’s advantageous to load up on players with doubleheaders. But in this case, the risk is that you might get no games played, rather than two.
Charley Hoffman dominates GuruGolf rosters again this week, on more than 42% of all foursomes. After Hoffman, there’s no consensus whatsoever. The next most popular golfer is Kenny Perry, but he’s only on about 14% of foursomes. Hoffman is off to a volatile start this morning, with one eagle, two birdies, two bogeys, and one double bogey in 13 holes played. That’s actually a pretty useful pattern for a best ball (or a worst ball) format – as long as he does well enough to make the cut. But at even par, he’s not flirting with the cut line, which tends to be higher at this venue than at many courses. In the last three years, the cut line was at +6, +2, and +4.
Meanwhile, early starter Luke Donald has just run off 8 birdies over 9 consecutive holes. That’s some serious golf! Last year, Kenny Perry only needed a -8 to win the tournament.
6/3 - It was one of those nights when a lot of stud pitcher starts aligned. Often, that’s a precursor of a disappointing pitching night. And although it wasn’t all the pitchers’ doing, there certainly were some lackluster results, as only 4 pitchers topped the 100 TSNP mark, and only Roy Halladay (129 TSNP) was significantly above that hurdle.
So back in March, who had Raul Ibanez projected as this season’s top hitter? I thought so. Using any of the scoring systems for the games that I track, he currently ranks #1 in YTD points, slightly ahead of Pujols, and at least 10% ahead of anyone else. Interestingly, the third ranked hitter is Jason Bay, who not only leads Manny Ramier in total points (obviously), but also has a higher per-game average than Manny. So how’s that trade working out for Boston?
The Memorial Tournament tees off tomorrow morning. This event has a fairly high profile field, no doubt as a sign of respect for the host, Jack Nicklaus. If you’ve got a decent GuruGolf bankroll, you can pick up a pretty studly foursome.
6/2 - Don’t look now, but Ichiro Suzuki has quietly put together a 25-game hitting streak.
Does anyone besides me have the LaRoche2 tandem in any of their everyday lineups? Last night the pair went 5-for-9, with 4 runs scored, 3 RBIs, 2 doubles and a triple. Adam has been an effective (but very streaky) player over his 5+ year major league career, but younger Andy has had trouble getting traction in the majors, and when his OPS stood at 0.059 on April 15th, it looked like he wasn’t going to make it. But lo and behold, as of today he is hitting .304 with an OPS of .808, topping his older brother’s marks. He does only have 2 home runs (Adam has 7), but regardless, it looks like he will stick around this time.
6/1 - Today I am formally announcing a new affiliated site, DailyBaseballData.com. This site is a collaboration of RotoGuru and DraftBug.com, intended to focus on tools to support the analysis of daily lineup decisions – not only for daily contest sites such as DraftBug, but also for games which allow significant flexibility in setting daily rosters, or even for typical play/bench decisions for your traditional roto team. While most of the initial tools have previously been available to RotoGuru users, our first unique tool is the Weather Dashboard, which consolidates weather forecast information for all of a day’s games onto a single page. Whether you’re looking for rain probabilities, temperature, or wind speed and direction, this is the place. You should no longer need to labor through a multiple-click drill just to ferret out all of this information.
We have a number of ideas on the drawing board for future tools, and they’ll be released in the coming weeks as they are developed. We figure that if we want to get you to try out daily contests like DraftBug, we should also do our best to arm you with a range of tools designed to help you succeed!
In GuruGolf, two teams tied for the top best ball score of -49, while worst ball honors went to Grass Catcher (+43). In general, most teams had pretty good success, as almost 80% had at least three players make the cut this weekend.
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<email@example.com>.
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