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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.

7/29 - This is always a critical time of the season for roto baseball teams. Late trades can wreak havoc on a contending team, especially if a player is moved to the wrong league, or an everyday player becomes subject to platooning, or if a closer is moving to a setup role. If you have players that are ďin playĒ, hold your breath.

On the other hand, if you have someone like Shawn Chacon, then perhaps there is more upside than downside when he escapes from Coors Field. Of course, if you have Shawn Chacon, you are either in a very deep league, or in an NL-only league, in which case getting traded to the AL canít help unless your league allows you to retain players traded to the other league.

Last weekís PGA tournament was pretty tame for most GuruGolf managers, as all of the ten most widely owned golfers made the cut. This week looks dicier, as the most popular golfer this week, Scott Verplank, starts the day 3 shots behind the current cut line. Verplank is on about half of all active rosters this week, so his early departure would have material ramifications for weekend scoring. Tiger Woods is also just below the cut line this morning, but itís hard to imagine him not making it. Still, heís on about one-third of all teams, so there may be some anxious Tiger moments, especially for the 12% of rosters that have both Woods and Verplank.

7/28 - Itís not often that the top pitcher of the day fails top get a W, but Jake Peavy earned the honor with 121 TSNP over 8 innings, all the more impressive because he was facing St. Louis. Peavy was consistently strong over his first 10 starts this year, averaging 99.5 TSNP per start over than span. In his next 10 starts, heís been anything but consistent, averaging 50 per start, with three negative outings and three in the 100s. If thereís been any consistency, itís that every other start is decent. So you may want to skip the next one at Pittsburgh.

I did some work on the football sortable stats for the TSN game yesterday, and found some inconsistencies in the TSN data, most notably the absence of 15 players who are apparently priced but not showing up as available. Iíve alerted TSN. I also noticed that they have incorrect points for team defenses for 2004, as they fail to compensate for points scored against the offense. Thatís not a particularly big deal, since last yearís points are probably not a good indicator of this yearís expectation. In any event, Iíll have the correct 2004 defensive points listed when everything is sorted out.

Meanwhile, Swirve has launched its fantasy football game. Iíll get those prices included in the soon-to-be-released sortable stats as well. Iím still hoping to have these up by early next week.

7/27 - Randy Johnson pitched his best game of the year last night, flirting with a no hitter for awhile, fanning 11 over eight 2-hit shutout innings. The 170 TSNP was his best result of the season, and only his second game better than 150 TSNP this season, the first being a 163 in mid-June. Last season, he topped 150 TSNP on five occasions, the best being a 204 TSNP monster in Atlanta in May. In 2002, he had ten outings of 150 or better. So while he has shown flashes of Unit-ness this season, heís still not approaching the dominance of years gone by.

Looking at Randyís monster game history got me curious, so I tallied all pitching games of 150 TSNP or better this season. So far, there have been 49 of them, hurled by 38 different pitchers. Only nine pitchers have more than two, the list headed by 3 each from Carpenter and Halladay. In addition to Johnson, the six guys with two apiece are Buehrle, Garland, Pedro, Oswalt, Peavy, and Willis. Last season, Johan Santana had six of them.

Whatís the significance? Admittedly, 150 TSNP is an arbitrary benchmark. However, you always like to have pitchers who have shown a capability to put up numbers like that. I know Iím more willing to ďhand the ballĒ to a starter who can put up a monster result, even when heís been less stellar over his recent starts. On the other hand, Randy has been so inconsistent that the penalty for missing those occasional flashes of brilliance has been pretty severe. He has only four other games of 100 or better, so if you donít get the monster outing, you could get just about anything. High risk, high reward.

7/26 - The Red Sox, with Curt Schilling on the mound, lost in extra innings last night. What was most remarkable was that this was Bostonís first extra inning game of the season. The last time they played more than nine was in last yearís playoffs, when they won three extended games.

I went through a tortured period yesterday afternoon trying to decide whether to add Barry Zito to my TSN rosters. I really thought he was the best option of the day, based on his recent outings, Oaklandís hot bats, Clevelandís long travel to get there, and the fact that the Tribe never seems to do well against lefties (although I havenít checked to see whether that still applies this season.) It would also fit into my pitching plans very efficiently. The downside? I really hate to pick up pitchers against my favorite team. The fantasy gods usually punish me for such treachery.

I finally decided to play it down the middle, making the move on 3 of my 5 teams. The result was OK, although I was hoping for a better result than 74 TSNP. The game was such a blowout that Zito only worked 6 innings, although he did throw 100 pitches. Note to Cleveland: when you are losing by more than 10 runs, there is no need to score against my starters. Save Ďem for another game.

Although Zito came up with less than I wanted, at least he outpointed Freddy Garcia by 43 TSNP. Garcia was my second choice for the day. As it turned out, Derek Lowe had the best result (157 TSNP), but in spite of facing Cincy, he just hasnít shown enough consistency to have been on the radar lately. So I donít kick myself for missing that opportunity.

I posted the 2005 NFL schedule last night. Itís linked in the football section on the left side of this page. Hopefully I did it correctly. If nothing else, every team has the correct number of home, away, and bye weeks. Iíll now begin working on getting some sortable stats up for the TSN salary cap game. Maybe by the end of the week Ė but donít hold me to it. Certainly by next week.

7/25 - After being away for a week on the steamy New Jersey shore, itís good to be back in an air conditioned room with a high-speed internet connection.

First, some backtracking. Congrats to the two GuruGolf prize winner for the British Open:
Pedro Putts (best ball)
Caddy Shack (worst ball)
Of special note is that the ďCaddy ShackĒ team is managed by the same guy who won the best ball prize in the previous contest!

There are three tournaments between the British Open and the PGA Championship. The next prize contest will cover those three weeks Ė the ďSummer HeatĒ contest. The same rules apply as in previous contests.

Baseball: Over the weekend, I had both Pedro and Prior. After one inning of each game, they had a combined TSNP total of approximately -70, surrendering 6 runs on 7 hits. Priorís inning looked like a reprise of the home run derby. Somehow, they managed to combine for +83 TSNP overall, with Pedro even getting a win while Prior escaped with a no decision. Had they been able to erase those first innings, their point total could have been pushing 200. But alas, first innings count. I listened to Pedroís game in the car radio, and watched Prior on TV. Itís stressful to hear/watch a game when your pitcher digs an early hole and then struggles all game to climb out. I guess I should be grateful that they each escaped to post positive results, even if they each fell far short of my aspirations. (Thatís what I get for holding on to Prior against St. Louis, I suppose.)

Football: Itís still July, but itís time to start organizing for football. Invitations for the 2005 RIFC have been sent out, and qualifying leagues are now being formed. If you would like to participate this year, please indicate your interest in the appropriate football forum thread.

7/15 - Back to the salt mines...

Baseball once again provides a full slate of games today, including one afternoon tilt in Wrigley Field.

Meanwhile, the British Open lumbers toward the cut line. Scores have been surprisingly well behaved, and at this juncture, it appears that anyone finishing in plus numbers will be spectators for the weekend.

I will be vacationing on the New Jersey shore next week, so Iíll undoubtedly take a hiatus from daily blurb production. Of course, all stats will be updated as usual. Itís not that much of a vacation!

Stay cool!

7/14 - Itís unusual to wake up, get on the computer, and see that a significant proportion of the golf field has already completed its round. It was even more disappointing to see that GuruGolf wasnít reporting any of that scoring. Fortunately, I think I have been able to resolve all of the morningís glitches, although there was no shortage of issues to be addressed. It seems that the majors are not only difficult for the golfers; they cause software glitches as well.

Baseball restarts this afternoon. Hope you all enjoyed your respite.

7/13 - Thereís not much to say today other than ďReady, Ö Set, ÖĒ.

ď Ö GoĒ comes tomorrow.

The first priority is to get your British Open roster set for GuruGolf. The roster freeze ia at 1:30am ET tomorrow morning, which is 10:30pm tonight Pacific time. Baseball rosters can wait until tomorrow morning, although there are two afternoon games tomorrow, so donít dally too late.

Everyone to the launching pad! Enjoy the rest of the season!

7/12 - Ugh. In direct contradiction to the stated rules (and past precendent), TSN processed a price update for Ultimate baseball last night. I donít know whether they will reverse the changes or not, but when this last happened (several years ago in the hockey game), they simply apologized but let the price changes stand. The fact that this has happened before makes it even more inexcusable. Weíll just have to wait on their official response. [Note: TSN has decided to reverse the price change and restore the appropriate prices. Good decision!]

PSC had some significant scoring problems late last week, but those seem to have been corrected now. If you are playing that game, you may want to recheck your standings. And by all means, donít forget to reset your roster!

For you GuruGolf managers who are procrastinators, the opening tee time this week is at 6:30am in Scotland, which is 1:30am Eastern Time, and 10:30pm Wednesday night Pacific time. Those of you on the West Coast had better not wait until Wednesday night to make roster moves.

7/11 - Time for a break. In baseball, that is. Donít forget, however, that PSC rosters must be reset from scratch by Thursday, and the TSN Basic 2 game starts up on Thursday. All prices for those games are loaded in the sartibles and the Assimilator.

Congrats to the prize winners in GuruGolfís ďOpen Faced SandwichĒ Contest, covering the three tournaments between the U.S. Open and British Open:
Best Ball: Blind Golfers (4 stroke victory)
Worst Ball: cressida2 (1 stroke victory)

The British Open is the next tournament, and like all majors, prizes are offered for the top best ball and worst ball scores for this tournament alone. See the news page at the game site for more details. Also, for the British Open, there are approximately 30 golfers in the current field who are unlisted in the GuruGolf game. If you would like any of these golfers listed (with a $500 GuruGolf price), just send me an email or post a request in the golf forum. A listing of those golfers appears in this thread.

7/8 - It was one of those days when you were better off not picking up a pitcher. Only four topped 100 TSNP, and none of them were guys that you were likely to have gone for. Among those who were added, the best result was from John Smoltz, who managed only 32 TSNP. Several popular choices were negative.

I expect that PSC baseball prices will be updated today. If the prices are released, Iíll have them loaded in the sartibles by this evening. You have until next Thursday afternoon to completely reset your lineups, and Iím sure it wonít be easy Ė so donít put in off until Thursday morning.

A thread at the baseball forum has been started to discuss pitching rotations after the All Star break. This is always a tricky period, since normal sequences are often disrupted. If youíre looking for info, or you have some news to share, please check in. Assume nothing.

7/7 - A month ago, Chris Carpenter was barely on the pitching radar. Heíd been respectable, for sure, but was certainly not someone on your ďgots to haveĒ list. But over his last five starts the worst result was +138 TSNP. His recent surge is reminiscent of Johan Santanaís 2004 season. Santana had only one outing above 100 TSNP prior to June 9th, after which he had only two starts below 100 TSNP (a +87 in early August, and a +62 in his final start of the season.) Carpenter is already way ahead of Santana through the same date last year. Meanwhile, Santana seems to have turned into last yearís Roy Halladay. Carpenter owners should enjoy the ride this year, but be very afraid of next yearís encore.

Exhibit B is Johan Santanaís 2005 season. He actually started out the season fairly well, but his last five starts have totaled +97 TSNP. He was probably the top pitcher taken in many roto drafts this spring. For example, in the RIBC draft, here are the pitching selections in the first two rounds:
Round 1: Santana(6), Randy(11), Schmidt(13), Gagne(16)
Round 2: Prior(2), Pedro(3), Schilling(6), Sheets(7), Oswalt(9), C. Zambrano(16).

I just compared that list against the ESPN player rater for pitchers (which uses the same statistical categories), and the only matches among pitchers in the current top 10 are Pedro(3), Oswalt(6), and Santana(9). Of course, before deciding that taking pitchers in the opening rounds is unduly risky, there are also some notable disappointments on the hitting side, including Beltran(5), Bonds(7), and Helton(9). Arguably, Santana has worked out better than any of those three, at least to this point. So whatís my point?

Iím not sure I have one. But if Carpenter continues on his current trajectory, bear this all in mind when drafting next spring.

7/6 - Just one day after convincing myself that I should retain Derrek Lee and pass on Travis Hafner, I have good reason to reconsider. Lee left last nightís game with shoulder pain. Itís quite possible that this will turn out to be minor. Lee might even start tonight. But as the most widely owned player in the TSN game, this seems like a screaming invitation to make a shift, even if it turns out to be temporary.

The sartibles now include the player prices for the TSN Basic Season 2 game. Until that season starts, the price change column will show the difference between the Season 2 draft price and the current (season 1) Basic price. As usual, there are some pretty large differences. For example, as of today, Brett Myers has inflated the most, up almost $1.8m. Chris Carpenter has the largest discount, down $2.5m. Clearly, these prices were set before Carpenterís latest surge.

In GuruGolf, if you have $5320 or more, you can afford the four most expensive golfers this week. And 18 teams have accumulated that much wealth. Of course, the foursome of Toms, Mayfair, Cink, and Hensby may not be the optimum combination. But with all four of them now qualified to appear in the British Open next week, I expect them to show up on a lot of rosters, even if there arenít many squads sporting that complete foursome. If you want to differentiate, you should probably look elsewhere.

7/5 - Travis Hafner now presents a conundrum. Over the past two weeks, no hitter has had a hotter bat. But in the TSN game, heís only eligible at first base. Currently, my TSN teams have Pujols at 1B, and Derrek Lee in the DH slot. The only way to add Hafner is to drop one of them. With 20-20 hindsight, a Hafner-for-Lee swap would have worked out well yesterday. But Lee hasnít exactly been slumping. Although Hafner has 168 TSNP in the past two days, Lee had 99 TSNP over the two days prior to that. Lee is clearly just as capable as anyone to post a monster game. So I guess I just sit tight and grimace everytime Hafner goes deep. At least heís doing it for my favorite team.

Morgan Ensberg presented a similar dilemma for me last week. But A.Rod, who I had tentatively planned to hold at 3B for the duration, was slumping, and I finally made the swap. Over the past seven days, Ensberg has outpointed A.Rod by almost 200 TSNP, so that move has worked out, especially since the price savings allowed for upgrades in other slots. Of course, A.Rod could also go on a tear any day now, and the gap could easily be reversed before the trade is.

7/4 - Although itís a Monday, itís also a national holiday in the states. Fortunately, the MLB schedule is better today than on most holidays, as all but two teams are in action. I suppose Toronto can be given a pass, since itís not a Canadian holiday. And if Toronto is off, then symmetry dictates that some other team also has to have a bye. Today, Oakland gets the short straw.

If you had pitchers working yesterday, I hope they were in the early games. At one point, the day was shaping up as a real hittersí nightmare. But as the day wore on, the hitters found some traction, first getting to Buehrle, and then roughing up Schmidt. Somewhere in that time frame, Chad Cordero blew a save as well.

In GuruGolf, the Open Faced Sandwich Contest is still up for grabs. Team TD4 has a 3 stroke lead in the best competition, having not lost a golfer to the cut in the first two weeks of the contest. The margin for the worst ball contest is also 3 strokes, with cressida2 enjoying the slight lead. Just one week remains in this short contest.

7/1 - It seems that at about this point of every baseball season, I embark on a highly successful point avoidance strategy. If you look at the top three hitters last night - Mench, Teixera, and Carlos Lee, all three have been on several of my TSN teams in late June, and none were still there yesterday. Ditto for Soriano. Argh! It would have been a good week to be without internet access.

On my top TSN team I have 4 pitchers going tonight. Carpenter is very widely owned. Peavy is in the top 10, although near the bottom of that list. Randy Johnson and Johan Santana are way down the list now, as most teams have dumped them after one of their recent disappointing starts. In this case, Iím showing uncommon patience Ė something I wish I had shown toward some of the aforementioned hitters. If Johnson and Santana do well, itíll be a nice coup. If they implode, then I guess I should have known better.

The Houston-Cincy game had an interesting outcome last night. The game was rained out after seven innings with the score tied 2-2. Since it had gone at least 5 innings, the game counts for statistical purposes. But since it was tied, the entire game will be replayed from the start Ė in this case as part of a doubleheader on Saturday. If you have players from those teams, you may be able to have your cake and eat it too.

2005: June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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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