While there were plenty of things to get excited about on Friday night such as six of Gerrit Cole’s first 38 pitches (three innings) hitting triple-digits on the radar gun and Stephen Strasburg’s successful return to the mound, there was a whole lot of bizarro baseball going on as well. For those not familiar with the term, the Bizarro world was an alternate reality created in the DC Comics universe where all the characters were replicas of heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman but with opposite (read: evil) personalities. So in the baseball world, when we refer to bizarro baseball, we’re talking about things that can only be true in an alternate universe.
Just look at some of the action we’re talking about – Clayton Kershaw continues to get thumped by the Padres, the Marlins winning nine straight over the Giants, Jered Weaver getting peppered by the Pirates, and how about Bartolo Colon being the first 10-game winner for Oakland before the end of June since Mark Mulder in 2004? Crazy, right? But that’s the way it goes sometimes and that’s how some people land themselves in first place in their fantasy leagues -- crazy bizarro moments and a whole lot of luck.
And when I say luck, I certainly don’t mean it in a negative way because, lets’ face it, you need a whole lot of luck in this game, both real and fantasy, to survive and succeed. Just take the rate stat BABIP. What’s the first thing people say about a high or low BABIP? Either the guy has gotten extremely lucky or ridiculously unlucky. You can’t pin blame or accolades entirely on just what the numbers say. Sometimes there’s the human element to the game and sometimes it’s just plain old dumb luck. Of course, when it comes to bizarro baseball, there’s a whole mess of unluckiness going around. But hopefully, that evens out for you as the year goes on.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the highlights….
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Paul Goldschmidt, 1B ARI||3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
At least there was no bizarro baseball going on when it came time to pick the Beast of the Day as Paul Goldschmidt just continues to be an absolute stud in the box scores and on the field. With a .306 average, 19 home runs, 65 RBI and half a dozen stolen bases, he’s easily been one of the best, if not the best, first baseman out there. What’s even better is the fact that, if you own him, you can perpetually say things like “Paul Goldschmidt all over your pitcher tonight,” which is something I’ve been saying to my nephew during our head to head match-up this week. I’d say it gets a laugh from him every time, but he’s too busy crying over the four home runs over the last four games.
|Shane Victorino, OF BOS||4-5, R, HR, 5 RBI|
|Yoenis Cespedes, OF OAK||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
|Jordy Mercer, SS PIT||3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, SB|
|Hector Santiago, SP CHW||W, 1.13 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 5 K|
|Matt Garza, SP CHC||W, 1.13 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 8 K|
Shane Victorino started things off with a bang for the Red Sox…literally. He opened up the game with a leadoff home run and then proceeded to pound the Tigers pitching all night long. It was actually a much-needed night for the Flyin’ Hawaiian as the home run was his first since May 8 and it was just his second multi-hit game in his last ten. Obviously he’s not being relied on for his power, but you’ve got to take what you can get when your speed guy only has eight swipes on the year. He does have four here in June, but it’s still a disappointing total for fantasy owners.
The next time you laugh at a guy who says he hits differently when he’s a DH versus when he plays the field, remember Yoenis Cespedes. The Showcase was mired in a brutal 4-for-29 (.138) slump while nursing his hamstring injury and filling in as the team’s DH, but the A’s finally trusted the fact that he was healthy enough to play the field and then happily watched as he posted his third multi-homer game of the month. Say what you want about the crappy batting average, but he’s still on pace to break the 30-homer barrier.
Don’t look now but Jordy Mercer is about to be a very popular waiver pick-up this weekend. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle announce that Mercer would see the bulk of the work at shortstop moving forward and the 26-year old responded with a huge game Friday. If you’re in need of some middle infield help, he qualifies at both second and short and has a fairly nice mix of both power and speed.
What a gem pitched by Hector Santiago, huh? Granted the Royals are no powerhouse, but save for Eric Hosmer’s double and solo shot, Santiago allowed just one base-runner and he never got off first. With Gavin Floyd and Jake Peavy out for extended periods of time, Santiago will continue to get starts in the rotation and should he pitch like he has in the three starts since rejoining the rotation – 2.29 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 19.2 innings – he’s going to be a very nice add from your waiver wire.
Even with a three hour rain delay, Matt Garza powered through and pitched a fantastic game. OK, fine, it was the Astros who are barely a step above the Royals these days, but a solid outing nonetheless. After a shellacking from the Reds three starts ago, Garza has now given up just one run over his last 15 innings with a healthy 13:4 K:BB. Interesting start for him next week though as he faces the Brewers in Miller Park. He’s got a 2.90 ERA over his last six starts against Milwaukee, but only a 4.32 ERA in three starts in their house.
|Carlos Gonzalez, OF COL||0-4, 3 K|
|A.J. Ellis, C LAD||0-4, 3 K|
|Jesus Guzman, 1B SD||0-4, 3 K|
|Tyler Lyons, SP STL||ND, 21.60 ERA, 3.60 WHIP, 1 K|
|Jeremy Guthrie, SP KC||L, 23.14 ERA, 3.43 WHIP, 1 K|
The usual stumbling block for many who appear here, but oh man is Jeremy Guthrie a disaster. After all those amazing starts he provided for the Royals since coming over to Kansas City last year though the first month of the season this year, he’s now gone back to being the Guthrie of old and destroying fantasy ratios left and right. Three quality starts in early June were nice, but they were bookended by 12 runs in 12.1 innings (two starts) and 10 runs in 9.1 innings (another two starts). I know that Minnesota is weak and their ballpark plays to the pitchers, but I simply can’t condone using him right now. Even in a match-up as potentially tasty as that.
Trevor Cahill, SP ARI – hip (questionable for next start)
Mike Carp, OF BOS – hamstring (day to day)
Nick Swisher, 1B/OF CLE – shoulder (day to day)
Austin Jackson, OF DET – leg (day to day)
Josh Hamilton, OF TEX – wrist (out until at least Monday)
Andre Ethier, OF LAD – knee (day to day)
Jonathon Niese, SP NYM – shoulder (15-day DL)
John Jaso, C OAK – hand (day to day)
Carlos Quentin, OF SD – shoulder (day to day)
Clayton Richard, SP SD – shoulder (expected to go on 15-day DL)
Brandon Crawford, SS SF – fingers (day to day)
Andres Torres, OF SF – knee (day to day)
Jason Bay, OF SEA – hamstring (day to day)
Roger Bernadina, OF WAS – eye (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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