It’s crunch time, people. It may seem like there’s still plenty of baseball left to go in the season but before you know it, it’s going to be mid-September, there will be two scoring periods left in the fantasy season and suddenly that six-month long season….that marathon you began in April….is going to whisk by and all that time you thought you had left is going to be gone. You need to keep your focus now, more than ever.
With the rash of injuries we’re seeing right now, your attention to detail cannot waver. Teams are losing key pieces right now – CC Sabathia hit the DL with elbow soreness, Will Middlebrooks broke his wrist, and more – and if they are ahead of you in the standings, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable. You need to make sure your roster is operating at peak performance and, if at all possible, you need to make sure their’s isn’t. If you’ve got players on the bench that are never used – and you know there’s at least one or two – then use it to make a waiver claim to block your opponent. If he has Huston Street and you’ve got some shlub on your bench that never sees tiem in your active lineup, then go and pick up Dale Thayer right now. Or Luke Gregersen, if you must. Maybe we’re not 100-percent sure who the Padres closer will be just yet, but if you can keep him from getting the bullpen help he needs then that’s going to help you in the long run.
It’s not about making a ton of moves and it’s not about shuffling up your roster, unless you absolutely have to. It’s about making those fine-tuning tweaks. If you’re starting lineup is healthy and you never alter it, then play around with your bench a little. Make sure you have the necessary depth in case the injury bug bites you, but be proactive in trying to block your opponent if you can. It’s just about paying attention and making sure you’re doing everything you possibly can to get to the top. Maybe there’s a lot you can still do and maybe there isn’t. But paying attention to see if there’s something is paramount to your success.
OK, coach’s pep talk is over. Let’s hit the highlights…
|Jason Marquis, SD||9.0||2||0||0||1||4||0||0.00||0.33|
Jeez, I thought yesterday’s selection was making me a little nauseous, but really…? I’ve got to go with Jason Marquis here? Oh man. Was it retro night on Saturday or something? You’ve got to love what pitching in Petco does for a…..what? It was a road start? Oh come on. That doesn’t make it easier to explain this then. Guess I just have to give credit where credit is due and yes….talk abou the sun shining on a dog’s ass at least once. Marquis took a no-hitter in the seventh where Travis Snider broke it up, but a complete-game, two-hit shutout is almost as impressive…..especially when it’s Marquis throwing it.
|B.J. Upton, OF TB||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Vernon Wells, OF LAA||3-3, R, HR, 3 RBI|
|Tyler Flowers, C CHW||3-3, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI|
|Zach McAllister, SP CLE||W, 2.25 ERA, 0.38 WHIP, 4 K|
|Ivan Nova, SP NYY||W, 2.45 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 10 K|
Well, here you go…..it was retro night apparently. Sure, B.J. Upton is only 27 years old, but he’s been around for a while now, disappointing fantasy owners with his ridiculously poor batting average and just never reaching that pinnacle we all thought he would someday attain. And then Vernon Wells? Really? I know he’s being paid a crazy amount of money but how does this guy still warrant playing time? I suppose throwing him a bone every now and then will net you a decent performance like this, but if he gets the start on Sunday, I can almost guarantee we’ll see him in the section below when the Sunday recap comes out.
I will throw some accolades Tyler Flowers’ way for a job well done here. It’s got to be tough trying to break into a team’s lineup when their aging veteran catcher is suddenly not aging anymore. The year that A.J. Pierzynski is having is almost unfathomable, but I’m just hoping that Flowers is using this as a learning experience and not getting too frustrated. His time will come soon enough.
You know, with the right match-up, Zach McAllister is looking like a real solid candidate to be streaming during this latter part of the season. He’s got four quality starts in his last six outings and he was a third of an inning from making it five out of seven. He still gets victimized by the long ball a bit too often, but with a 3.46 ERA (3.59 FIP), a 7.96 K/9, and a 3.45 K/BB ratio, he’s doing some real nice work out there. Check him out for next week with a Friday start in pitcher-friendly Oakland.
It looks as if maybe Ivan Nova has gotten back on track with this impressive start against Toronto. He’s definitely been struggling to keep runs off the board lately and his strikeout rate has dropped over the last five starts, but hopefully, this game is a springboard to a strong finish. With a match-up against Texas coming up, I’m a bit leery about starting him immediately, but with a strong showing next week, I’ll be a lot more convinced abou this remaining starts for the season.
|Anthony Gose, OF TOR||0-4, 4 K|
|J.J. Hardy, SS BAL||0-4, 3 K|
|Carlos Gomez, OF MIL||0-4, 3 K|
|Johan Santana, SP NYM||L, 54.00 ERA, 6.75 WHIP, 2 K|
|Dan Haren, SP LAA||L, 13.50 ERA, 2.40 WHIP|
As for this crew, all I can say is wow when it comes to Dan Haren. This guy has completely fallen apart this season. There have to be a lot of unhappy folks out there who either wasted an early draft pick or thought they were being slick and bought low at some point during the year. Whichever the case may be, there still a lot of unhappy people out there. Wonder what’s going to happen to him when he faces Tampa Bay next with a healthy Evan Longoria.
Willie Bloomquist, SS ARI – back (15-day DL)
Will Middlebrooks, 3B BOS – wrist (15-day DL, out for season)
Paul Konerko, 1B CHW – concussion (7-day DL)
Scott Rolen, 3B CIN – back (doubtful)
Jason Kipnis, 2B CLE – neck (out until August 13)
Dexter Fowler, OF COL – back (questionable)
Jarrod Dyson, OF KC – ankle (questionable)
Jerry Hairston, 2B LAD – hip (doubtful)
CC Sabathia, SP NYY – elbow (15-day DL)
Brandon Inge, 3B OAK – shoulder (doubtful)
Huston Street, RP SD – calf (15-day DL)
Skip Schumaker, 2B STL – wrist (doubtful)
Yunel Escobar, SS TOR – elbow (doubtful)
Colby Rasmus, OF TOR – groin (doubtful)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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