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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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7/31 - I’m back in the “office” for a week before heading to Ohio at the end of the week.
Corey Pavin was the winner of the most recent PGA event. Curiously, no GuruGolf team had him! I don’t recall if that’s happened before, but it’s certainly rare. Going into the tournament, Pavin was averaging only about 3 birdies per round, which probably explains the general lack of sponsorship. But this weekend he posted 21 birdies and an eagle.
Today we’ll have the final potential flurry of MLB trading, with the trade deadline at 4:00pm ET this afternoon. After that, players involved in trades must first clear waivers, so while subsequent trades are certainly possible, the bigger names are less likely to be moved after today. We’ve already had a few big names (and big contracts) shuffled around. If you’re in a single league roto league, this can be the most maddening time of the season. For example, NL-only teams have lost the use of Bobby Abreu and Carlos Lee for the rest of the season. Alfonzo Soriano is certainly at risk as well, with A.L. teams being the leading candidates for his services. I know that some roto leagues make exceptions for players traded out of the league, but the standard rule is that when a player leaves the league, he’s out. It’s probably the single biggest hazard of the single league format.
Thanks to Gurupie Challenger for suggesting today’s quote.
7/21 - The classic saying is that “good pitching stops good hitting.” And in the case of the Tigers-White Sox rivalry, that maxim held true this week. The White Sox have been the most prolific scoring team in the majors this season, averaging 5.75 runs per game. But after scoring 7 in the series opener vs. Detroit, they managed only 3 more runs in the final two games. Detroit, meanwhile, leads the majors with a team ERA of 3.53 – in fact, the only team with a team ERA under 4.00. And they stayed right on that pace in this series.
After posting -12 through two rounds, Tiger sure looks unstoppable. History certainly suggests that when he starts this well in a major, he won’t be caught. Meanwhile, where did Chris DiMarco come from? He’s had a fairly miserable season, missing the cut seven times in his past dozen outings. But those who stuck with him this week are getting a handsome reward, with 15 birdies in his first two rounds!
I’ll be vacationing on Long Beach Island (NJ) for the next week. As usual, stats will continue to be updated daily, but I will not be updating the blurbs for the next week. If any of you see good quotes, I will consider updating the quote of the day. Just email your suggestion to me. I prefer quotes that are funny, or stupid, or insightful, or noteworthy in some regard. While I’m always open to suggestions, for the next week, it’s solely the collective obligation of all of you to find them and suggest them.
7/20 - The first round of the British Open is well underway, and so far the scoring looks like a normal week on the PGA Tour. The popular favorite on GuruGolf rosters is once again Zach Johnson, owing almost exclusively to his ability to be carried over from last week. About 50% of teams have Zach, and almost 30% have Jeff Sluman, also a holdover. Next comes Tiger Woods, on roughly 25% of all active rosters.
The Red Sox turned a trick not done since 1916, winning back-to-back games in Fenway Park by 1-0 scores. A 21-year-old pitcher named Babe Ruth was involved in the previous 1-0 tandem. Before yesterday’s game, Boston signed winning pitcher Josh Beckett to a 3-year contract extension. Ruth also remained with the Sox for three additional years. If history repeats, you might want to pencil Beckett into the Yankees 2010 rotation.
Thanks to Gurupie Challenger for suggesting today’s quote.
7/19 - The British Open tees off at 6:30am local time tomorrow morning. For those unfamiliar with the time zone implications, 6:30am in England is equivalent to 1:30am Eastern time, and 10:30pm tonight Pacific time. The GuruGolf roster freeze coincides with the tee time, so those of you on the west coast had better get your weekly rosters set before 10:30pm tonight, or you’ll be in deep doodoo. Forewarned is forearmed.
I’ve commented several times this year on the lack of a Coors Field effect this season – with Coors shutouts occurring at a record clip, and the park being only slightly favorable to scoring this year. Apparently, the missing offense has moved to Petco Park in San Diego, where home run production is up roughly 50% this season. Last year, it ranked as the toughest park for scoring and for homers, but there have been 120 balls hit out so far this year, 2 more than the 118 hit all of last year. Sadly (from the perspective of my RIBC team), Brian Giles never got the memo. His slugging percentage is below his on-base percentage this year.
7/18 - I know that we’re deep in the heart of the baseball season, and football is still almost 2 months away – at least the start of the NFL regular season. But if you are interested in competing in one of the qualifying leagues for the RIFC (RotoGuru Invitational Football Challenge), those leagues are forming now at the message forum. There will be two AAA leagues (one of which is already full) for previous qualifying league managers, and as many AA leagues as needed to fill the remaining interest, as long as Commissioners step up. Each league will have 14 teams. Rules are spelled out in the RIFC preseason thread.
In the “be careful what you ask for” category, Doug Mirabelli attempted to coax the umpire into a walk on an apparent 4th ball in the 7th inning last night, heading off toward first base before getting called back. He promptly lined the next pitch over the fence for a game-tying 3-run homer. The Red Sox went on to win by one run, and all Papelbon owners are grateful that the ump stuck to his guns.
7/17 - John Senden did find his way onto four GuruGolf rosters for the John Deer Classic. Nice call. Those teams not only get a bonus trade, but they don’t even have to sell him for this week’s British Open.
This weekend marked the completion of the 4-week “Open Faced Sandwich” contest in GuruGolf. Congrats to the winners, who will be notified by email about their prizes:
In baseball, Saturday was remarkable in that no saves were recorded in any of the 15 games. There were six blown saves, however. This was the first time that a full MLB schedule produced no saves in almost 30 years.
7/14 - Michelle Wie is obviously a phenomenal talent, but she should probably learn to win on the LPGA before she gets pummeled too much on the PGA tour. Yesterday’s +6 in the John Deere Classic was uncompetitive, topping only a handful of the men. Maybe in 10 years she will be able to compete with the men. And maybe I’m full of crap.
Francisco Liriano came back to earth last night. We’ll see how long he decides to stay. Even on a off-night he wasn’t terrible, surrendering only 5 hits in 5 IP. Unfortunately, three of those hits weren’t playable. And he did throw 97 pitches in those 5 innings, so he clearly wasn’t the master of his domain.
Taking Liriano’s place in outer space was Mark Teixeira. A first round draft pick in most roto leagues this year, he’d been essentially MIA for the first half. If last night’s 3 homer barrage is any indication, he’s back on track.
I realized this morning that the TSN Season 2 Basic game has added an additional slot for a DH, so I made the appropriate adjustments to the Assimilator to accommodate that. Unfortunately, TSN hasn’t fully accommodated it, as their frozen roster page doesn’t show the extra slot, to the ability to copy in a roster directly from the TSN site is still non-functioning. I’ve alerted TSN to the glitch, and hopefully it will be solved soon. I just wanted to let you know it’s in the works.
7/13 - Back to the salt mines…
In GuruGolf, the early golfers finally got started after a fog delay of more than 2 hours. And speaking of fog, a lot of GuruGolf managers didn’t notice the withdrawals this week of Bo Van Pelt and Ben Crane, both who evidently opted to head oversees a bit early. Some of those teams have provisional golfers set up, but some don’t. And some teams with provisional golfers have both players in their foursomes. Remember that provisional golfer substitutions are processed after round one, although scoring will be retroactive to the start of the tournament. So if you have one of those teams, you’ll have to do some mental adjustments on your live scorecard today.
Zach Johnson is the overwhelming favorite among GuruGolf teams this week, appearing on more than half of all active rosters. Those teams sure hope he won’t be flying overseas early!
During the All Star break, I uploaded TSN Salary Cap football player prices in the sortable stats. The Assimilator and player pages are not yet updated. In my sortable stats tables, I show the actual TSNP for 2005 that were used in last year’s game, while TSN is showing those points updated for subsequent scoring changes. The differences for players are all minor. However, on the TSN site, team defenses have not been adjusted for points not scored against the defense (while mine are), so theirs are simply wrong. Some of those differences are much more material. But I doubt if you would rely on either set in choosing team defenses this year, so I guess it’s not really a big deal.
7/12 - I remember that when I was in my “formative years”, the A.L. was completely dominated by the N.L. in the All Star game. It seemed like no matter what, the N.L. managed to find a way to win. The N.L. won 8 straight starting in 1963, and after a momentous A.L. win in Detroit in 1971, the N.L. ran off another 11 straight. I’m no longer as emotionally invested in the outcome as I was back then, but it’s still amusing to see the tables so completely turned.
The John Deere Classic tees off at 8am ET tomorrow. This is the final week of the “Open Faced Sandwich” contest, which includes the four tournaments sandwiched in between the two Opens. There are still well over 100 active teams with inactive golfers, so a lot of roster shuffling should be on tap today. Don’t forget!
7/10 - The GuruGolfing collective thad this one figured out. Trevor Immelman was essentially tied for the most popular golfer of the week, and he won. The other most popular choice, Kenny Perry, was no slouch either, tying for 12th. So it’s no big surprise that the top GuruGolf team of the week, Orion, had ‘em both. The top worst ball team, & the French Surrender (an apt name for this final day of the World Cup), had Immelman as well, although some of his teammates did more of the heavy lifting.
The All Star break starts today, and provides a short summer hiatus from fantasy baseball management. I hope to get started on some football research, but I also have some non-sports tasks on my “to do” list, so I may just go blurb-free for the next few days and try to cross off a few of those other jobs. GuruGolf and baseball resume on Thursday – as will I. As Michael Kay would say, “See ya!”
7/7 - One more series to go, and then we get the All Star break. If you’re playing the TSN basic game, Season 1 ends on Sunday, and Season 2 starts after the break. I uploaded the Season 2 prices in the sortable stats yesterday, so you can start working on a lineup now if you wish. After Sunday, I’ll load those prices in the Assimilator as well.
Eddie Guardado was traded to Cincinnati yesterday, and will most likely take over the closer role there, at least until he blows it. His 5.48 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, and 3 blown saves would seem to make him a risky venture. But according to ESPN, the Reds relievers have a combined stat line of 10 losses, 13 blown saves, and a 5.28 ERA. So, maybe the worst case is that Guardado will blend right in. With that type of bullpen, it’s hard to understand how Cincy could be only 2 games back. On the other hand, they’re only 2 games over .500. If St. Louis can’t get their ship righted, we could see a 4-way horse race in the N.L. Central, including Milwaukee and Houston. Maybe Roger Clemens can make a difference.
Tiger Woods got off to a precarious start, shooting a +1 yesterday, but seems to have regained form this morning, birdying 4 of his first 6 holes. The cut line will probably be at even par, give or take a stroke, so he currently has a few shots to play with. And he’s only three strokes off the lead. Maybe I should have taken him this week after all.
7/6 - After the Indians pounded the Yankees 19-1 on Tuesday night, I figured they’d lose a squeaker the next time out. Not! The Yankees reversed fortunes, putting an 11-3 beatdown on the Tribe. I guess that’s a better way to lose, if you’re going to lose. You never like to lose a close one after putting up so many excess runs. On the other hand, you never like to lose, period.
The Western Open teed off this morning, and all eyes will be on Tiger Woods in his first appearance since missing the cut at the U.S. Open. This will certainly be his only outing before the British Open. A significant minority of GuruGolf managers decided to take the chance on him, as he’s on 26 rosters, roughly 1-in-10. I started the week by adding him to one of my teams, but then reconsidered yesterday and opted for Jim Furyk instead. So it wouldn’t at all surprise me to see Tiger win it all. If so, I’ll take the credit.
Instead of Tiger (or Furyk), Kenny Perry and Trevor Immelman are this week’s two most popular golfers, with each appearing on 25% of all rosters, and both of them appearing on a little over 6%.
7/5 - I don’t get to watch many Cleveland games, but I was able to see their 19-1 thrashing of the Yankees last night, which was certainly a sight to behold. I fully expect the Tribe to lose 2-1 tonight.
The A.L. Central has really been racking up the hits and runs lately. For the past two weeks, all five teams rank in the top 8 in TSNP against opposing starters. Even Kansas City ranks 5th, holding opposing starters to an average of only 9.2 TSNP/G. Minnesota is first (-12.3 TSNP/G), the White Sox are 3rd, and Cleveland and Detroit are 7th and 8th. The only NL team in the top 8 is Colorado. Boston and Toronto are the other two.
The Western Open tees off at 8am ET tomorrow morning. It looks like about 100 teams still need to make some roster moves to get 4 active golfers. Don’t forget!
7/4 - It’s a national holiday in the States today, so most of the MLB action is early. Nine games have afternoon start times. Set your rosters early!
The MLB season moved past the halfway point on Sunday. A full season is 2430 games, and through last night, 1233 have already been played. It’s already looking like the post season will have a slightly different look this year. Atlanta will almost certainly be out, the first time that’s happened since 1990. Unless the Tigers or White Sox falter in the second half, either the Yankees or Red Sox will also be missing in October. It seems like they’re always both playing, but of the eleven years since the Wild Card was instituted, those two teams have both appeared only six times, and of the five times they weren’t both in the playoffs, it was always the Red Sox who were sitting at home. In fact, like the Braves, the Yankees have also been in every post season since the start of the Wild Card.
In spite of a sub-par outing last night, Johan Santana remains atop the YTD rankings for total TSNP. If Albert Pujols hadn’t been injured for a few weeks, the averages suggest that he’d be in the lead, as he is the only full time player to be averaging more than 20 TSNP/EG. There is one pitcher with only 5 starts who is averaging almost 25 TSNP/EG (and 114 TSNP per start), and that’s Jered Weaver, whose worst outing of the season was an 89 TSNP effort in his 3rd start. Francisco Liriano has gotten more notice so far (with twice as many starts), but Weaver seems to be on that same track.
7/3 - Francisco Liriano made his first start of the season on May 19. Since May 14 (five days prior, just to be conservative), he has amassed 985 TSNP, which is not only 109 TSNP per start, but more TSNP than any other pitcher or hitters during that span. The only other player with more than 900 TSNP over the same period is teammate Johan Santana (919), and only three other players have even topped 800 TSNP [Zambrano (859), Beltran (804), and B.J. Ryan (801)]. (Side note: it is surprising to see Carlos Zambrano ranked that high, given the team he pitches for.)
Interleague play is now over (unless there were any postponed games to be made up – I didn’t check). The N.L. must be relieved, as the league can go back to playing .500 ball in aggregate.
After last week’s PGA tournament didn’t end until Tuesday morning, this week’s Buick Championship was over by about 2:30 Sunday afternoon. The players teed off early to beat a possible afternoon storm, although the bad weather never arrived. I went to the third round of the tournament on Saturday, and must say that the field was not an impressive one, which may explain why the crowds were so light even though he weather was great. This coming week, the field is much stronger, including all three of Tiger, Vijay, and Phil. Last week, Trevor Immelman was the most expensive GuruGolfer in the field. This week, he ranks 12th in price. Of course, most of those top golfers won’t be playing the following week, presumably heading overseas early.
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
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