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You know, for a day with a short slate of games, Thursday turned out to be quite eventful for baseball fans and fantasy owners alike. There was crazy extra-inning drama, unsung heroes, devastating injuries, and breaking news filled with both hope and despair. We’ve got our usual highlights for you here, but once again, with fewer games on the docket, we can break from out usual format and discuss more than just the top (and bottom) performers from the evening. So let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.
The good news is that here on Monday, the games don’t start until 7pm (ET) so you can really take your time and study up on things before you have to set your lineup for the week. The bad news is that there’s a lot going on that you’re going to have to stay on top of during the day in order to set that lineup properly. Between Ryan Braun’s thumb injury and Hanley Ramirez’ hamstring MRI to the debuts of Gerritt Cole and Zack Wheeler, there seems to be a lot happening right now. Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison are headed back from the DL this week. Ike Davis? He’s in Triple-A. Brandon McCarthy? Still suffering seizures. Matt Kemp won’t return from his injury on-time, Ian Kinsler is finally working his way back from his and good ol’ Chase Utley is right on schedule for his mid-June return. Are you writing this stuff down?
So I’m a little late on posting some highlights from Sunday’s games, but with the limited game slate not starting until 7 PM (eastern) here on Monday, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it just might be beneficial right now as there’s a bit of Monday morning news that might be worthwhile for you as you’re still able to make lineup changes and roster moves in most leagues. If your waiver period has ended, well, maybe there’s some food for thought here for next week. In the meantime, let’s just touch on a few things you’ll need to know moving forward.
It’s been a fairly rough week for yours truly here, not just in real life (hence the absence for the majority of the week), but in the fantasy racket as well. Injuries have been absolutely brutal to all of my fantasy teams during this young season and Friday turned out to be yet another dark and dismal day in my attempts to climb back into contention. Obviously there’s plenty more to come, but when your team is sitting in a relatively deep hole and you continue to lose players faster than you are getting them back, the fantasy doldrums seem a lot like a permanent residence than just a temporary situation.
While the fantasy baseball highlights from Friday’s games are still coming, I’d like to take a quick moment for a self-indulgent rant that has more to do with my disdain for most baseball announcers than it does with the actual game of baseball. By now, everyone knows the details of the Carlos Quentin/Zack Greinke saga, unless of course you’ve been trapped in a Chilean mine for the past 24 hours. You can’t sit for 10 seconds in front of ESPN or the MLB Network without seeing excessive lead-ins, replays and reports on the events which took place Thursday. I can understand highlight shows such as Baseball Tonight and Quick Pitch using it to lure in viewers for the entire show, but what’s bothering me right now is that in-game announcers and wrap-up commentators are using the event in a form of yellow journalism. They are bringing far too much focus to the incident and using it to incite fans, and possibly even teams, to overreact to every hit batsman or inside pitch we see. Their inability to move past something like this is merely a tool to either push forward their own agenda or to boost their own feelings of self-importance. Either way, they need to learn when to shut up and let something go.
It feels like forever ago that we started interleague play this year and finally, it is coming to an end. This is the final week of the cross-league match-ups and then these players won’t see each other until the All Star Game and then the World Series. I couldn’t be happier. Aside from the baseball purist inside of me that cringes every time he hears MLB try to hype one of these match-ups, the fantasy player in me gets aggravated by the unnecessary wrinkles that it causes in our game. If you’re in an AL-only or mixed league and rely on designated hitters like Billy Butler or David Ortiz, you suddenly lose them for a few games a week and in some cases, either have to take a zero for the day, or use up a waiver claim to get a (probable) subpar replacement for a pair of two-week stints. Why should I lose out on either player’s power because MLB wants to make a few extra bucks?
Doubleheaders can be a tricky business for fantasy owners. If you own players starting in a twin-billing, there’s nothing worse than opening up your live scoring page and seeing a big, fat 0-for-8, or worse in some cases. Right off the bat, you know it’s a batting average/OBP killer for you and you just have to sit and hope that someone else in your lineup had one of those 4-for-5 days just to help take the sting out of it. On the other side of the coin, there’s that jubilant feeling you get in your belly when you pop that live scoring page open and see a 6-for-8 followed by a whole slew of baseball abbreviations. Sometimes you see multiple home runs, sometimes it’s one of everything, and sometimes, in points leagues, it’s the bonus for a grand slam or hitting for the cycle. Sink or swim. Feast or famine. The doubleheader can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. But I’ll take my chances with it every time.
Vegas may not have been as hopping as we thought it would be (where was everyone?), but that doesn't mean that it wasn't as much fun as I was expecting. I participated in a baseball draft for the FSTA, networked at the conference, and talked shop with some of the best minds in the business. I also got the chance to spend some time with the brain trust of Fantasy Alarm, and without naming names, I can tell you that these are some quality people folks. You are in good hands if you have Fantasy Alarm bookmarked as a daily read. Now that my sucking up is at an end, though let's face it I'm nothing if not someone who understands the value of self promotion passing along accolades when needed, let's get down to the baseball analysis.