The first half is over and the second half has begun. Of course the season is more than half way over. In fact, I think there are only 6 or 7 more weeks until the playoffs. Somewhere along writing this blog I got away from insulting the other teams. I thought why not start again today?
Let’s review each team. We’ll start with the West Division.
The West is currently led by the Miami Carlins with a 9-6 record. After getting off to a 5-0 start, the Carlins saw a long losing streak take some steam out of the…something that has steam. Cleveland? Consistently scoring high and back on track, the Miami Carlins look to either finish with a first round by or at the very least with home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Really, I’m not going to insult my own team unless it’s Pablo Sandoval’s weight.
In second place are The Fuzzy Taints. A team nobody expected to do well because of the gene pool it comes from (the name didn’t help much either) The Fuzzy Taints have proven to everyone they are a playoff team. The first team to beat Jimmy Dean Vienna Sausages, The Fuzzy Taints enter the second half with a 9-6 record, only trailing the Miami Carlins because they haven’t scored nearly as much. The team’s greatness strength is perhaps signing subpar level players on the New York Mets and playing them at the right time. It takes real balls to have Omar Quintanilla on your team. Or maybe it just takes a fuzzy taint.
Third place is where it gets interesting. Right now we see Drunkin’ Drafters, brother of The Fuzzy Taints, there. Drunkin’ Drafters suffered a few tough luck losses this season and are nibbling at a final playoff spot. Drunkin’ Drafter’s biggest issue this season has been its pitching. The first pick they took in the draft was the under-performing Justin Verlander and not long after David Price was selected. Only because Edwin Encarnacian has played so well have Drunkin’ Drafters been able to make up for Verlander and Price. Drunkin’ Drafters need a few other teams to collapse to get into the playoffs. I wish I could have thought of a better way to word this where the collapsing has something to do with being drunk. Stumbling into the playoffs? That works.
Next we find Team Boyle. Tied with Drunkin’ Drafters with a 7-8 record, Team Boyle has not been able to score this season at all. Strikeouts have been their problem. An outfield that looks like they should have “Chico’s Bailbonds” on the back doesn’t help either. First pick Matt Kemp has been injured or a singles hitter and Stephen Strasburg has been more like SNL alumni Andy Samberg on the mound. Will adding Troy Tulowitzki in a trade with the Houston Asterisks get Team Boyle a few more points? The loss of Adrian Beltre, an iron man compared to Tulowitzki might come back to bite him in the ass. Considering Team Boyle is managed by my father, I have seen his ass and it’s so small that a single bite could do some real damage.
Finally in last place we find the Houston Asterisks. A team that spent much of the season on strike due to management’s hatred of facial hair. Somehow even while on strike they managed to pick up 3 wins and another last week against Team Gold. The strike is over in Houston and the Asterisks are looking to play spoiler. With a “swing for the fences” and “hope Homer Bailey pitches a no-hitter” strategy, the Houston Asterisks play a risky game. Unless they go undefeated for the rest of the year, look for the Houston Asterisks players at your local golf club this September during the playoffs.
Moving along to the East Division now…
First place finds a familiar name, Jimmy Dean Vienna Sausages. The team that averages a loss only once every 6 or 7 weeks haven’t had much to complain about this year other than the one trade made. The only real weakness in Jimmy Dean Vienna Sausages lies in their reliability on a few players. Most notably they are their three big pitchers; Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright, and Madison Bumgartner. The team not afraid to take risks with the likes of Jose Fernandez or an injured Matt Garza has been farting roses all season long. I see another loss or two coming soon in these warm months as the JDVS offense is its weak point. They have all but locked up a first round bye and my hope for a Yasiel Puig deportation.
Stone Cold is the next team in the East Division. Starting off poorly, Stone Cold has been playing well of late. Like Team Boyle, Stone Cold has an outfield that reminds me of Shane Mapps, that black kid Andre, and me. This was the starting outfield for my little league team in 1998. And by starting I mean starting in the 3rd inning because the coach didn’t want us actually starting the game. Stone Cold has had guys like Max Scherzer and Justin Masterson put up career highs. More than likely, Stone Cold will cool off a little bit. Ha! So clever.
Next we find Team Gold. With a similar start to the season as Stone Cold, Team Gold may be one of the better offensive teams at some positions and at others the weakness is clear. Overall Team Gold has become a well-rounded team and I like their shot in the playoffs. That is of course unless Team Gold’s wife gets in the way. Team Gold of course might be best known as having the first overall pick then having to leave the draft to watch television with his wife. I’m not married so I don’t comprehend the full power a wife can have over a husband. Whatever happens, at least I can say I’m allowed to do whatever I want while Team Gold is out at the Flower Festival.
Cecil Cantrell is the team that went on the most similar journey to the Miami Carlins. A great start followed by struggles, Cecil Cantrell is back on track with an 8-7 record. Cecil Cantrell’s biggest problem this season has been the lack of commissioner updates. The occasional video or statement has been made, but nothing concrete or consistent has occurred. The man is busy though, participating in many other leagues and having never once placed a player on the disabled list despite having many candidates. It’s something to respect about the man. He makes his players play through the pain rather than do what’s best for everyone.
Rounding out the division and the league for that matter are the Si Hurricanes. At first I saw the Si Hurricanes as a big threat. The 2-13 record says otherwise. Poor pitching, the disappearance of Ryan Braun, and still having Carl Crawford on the disabled list even though he is not injured are the cause of this. The Si Hurricanes don’t look to spoil so much anymore unless they happen to get lucky like the Houston Asterisks did a few times. It’s hard to say something about a team that has performed so bad without making myself look like an ass. It’s like making fun of the fat redheaded kid with glasses and dead parents. It’s just not worth it.
The Miami Carlins have gotten back to the basics, completely annihilating their opponents. Yeah, I know last week we were up against the second worst team and this week is against the worst, but a win is a win is a win is a win.
Yesterday’s total points scoring was 41 for the Carlins and -5 for the Si Hurricanes. J.J. Hardy had -3 points and Adam Lind had -4 points for the Si Hurricanes to lead the way to an embarrassing day. Only Carlos Gonzalez (3 points) and Matt Joyce (1 point) put up positive numbers on America’s Birthday.
Carlos Gomez and Allen Craig led the way for the Carlins’s offense, putting up 11 and 8 points respectively, both hitting home runs.
Pitching for the Carlins today will be Jake Westbrook up against the Marlins. When asked what his game plan was, Jake Westbrook said he would like to actually strike someone out. Westbrook only has 27 strikeouts this season with a season high of 6. Normally he averages 2 or 3. Westbrook is still a valuable pitcher. He pitches to contact and rarely walks batters. He’s on a good team and the last time I checked he hasn’t given up a home run all season. Albeit he has missed some time, he has pitched long enough into the year to have given up a long ball.
The Si Hurricanes may have thrown in the towel this week. Scoring as much as possible is still important though. Having an even record with The Fuzzy Taints, our tie-breaker will be points scored. Currently all teams in my West Division are leading their match-ups this week. It’s nice to see, until I realize this could knock me out of the playoffs if I’m not too careful.
Where do we start? Well, I’ll announce the score. 287-274 in favor of The Fuzzy Taints.
Yesterday was an interesting day. It should have been a Miami Carlins victory. Grant Balfour shouldn’t have blown a save and earned -7 points. If he gets a clean save that’s about 6 points and then we have a tie! It was that simple. Things were looking so possible when The Fuzzy Taints closer Ernesto Frieri got a blown save and earned -7 points and then Grant Balfour comes back and does the same. Other factors that could have helped the Miami Carlins are if The Fuzzy Taints didn’t have a terrific offensive day, led by Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacian, and Brian McCann. All of these things could have made it so…and it sickens me to say….the Miami Carlins wouldn’t be at an even 6-6 on the season.
Player of the Week easily goes to Nelson Cruz. He hit three home runs this week and earned 31 points. Enemy of the Week goes to Edwin Encarnacian who also hit 3 home runs and finished up with 38 points. The hard one is to pick the Disappointment of the Week. As much as I want to give it to Grant Balfour or Jayson Werth, I have to look at the overall picture. Jeremy Guthrie used an entire start to earn -8 points. If he pitches halfway decent then this week ends completely differently.
Scores from around the league look like this:
Team Gold beat Si Hurricanes 261-243
Stone Cold took care of Cecil Cantrell 309-256
Jimmy Dean Vienna Sausages had no problem with Drunkin Drafters, they won 361-274
Team Boyle had a week off and made the best of it beating the Houston Asterisks 299-178
Again, I would like to point out the point scoring. I may have lost, but there were still 4 teams who scored less and one team who scored as much as me. Sigh.
The Atlanta Slaves news was a little better. We finished 8-7-1 on the week. The negative part comes in when you realize the Atlanta Slaves are no longer in first place. Only 3 games behind, the Slaves are still an obvious playoff team. The standings in this league are getting further and further apart. The 5th place team, the first team not to make the playoffs is now 16.5 games out of first and about 9 out of making the playoffs.
This week the Miami Carlins play the Houston Asterisks. This is pretty much a guaranteed win. Ever since the team’s owner banned sideburns, the players have refused to take the field in most games. The other match-ups are a bit interesting too. The two best teams Stone Cold and Jimmy Dean Vienna Sausages play each other. Cecil Cantrell, a team having a similar season to the Miami Carlins where we started off great and are now struggling, play the worst team in the league, Si Hurricanes. Team Boyle plays Team Gold and a Team Boyle win ties them up. The same can be said about the match-up between The Fuzzy Taints and Drunkin’ Drafters. All that really matters in the end though is that the Miami Carlins win. It’s too early for scoreboard watching. We just need to start winning again.
Yes! Indeed I am. Someway, somehow, the fantasy baseball gods, and yes I believe in fantasy baseball gods, looked down at me and pitied me. Yesterday was supposed to destroy the Carlins. Instead, the day finished miraculously with the Miami Carlins leading The Fuzzy Taints 258-251.
Patrick Corbin and Francisco Liriano both got wins for The Fuzzy Taints and Travis Wood got a no decision. So what happened? The Fuzzy Taints’ offense didn’t. They scored 8 total points, the same amount as Nelson Cruz alone scored. Today comes down to a combination of relief pitching and offense. Can the Carlins take it?
Against my better judgment, I decided against going completely ruthless in my strategy in filling up my starting pitching staff today with relief pitchers who are also qualified as starters. I signed Josh Collmenter for that very purpose, but decided to release him and sign Brett Cecil for today, possibly longer if things work out well. I felt keeping them both on my team would be in a way cheating, especially since it would require me to drop Jayson Werth because he is the player on the team I am angriest at. The rule of who you can and cannot have on your roster, based on positions, is not enforced and I could probably get away with it. Maybe I’m part Japanese in trying to be honorable. I’m also terribly paranoid that having a roster full of middle relievers will backfire and I”ll look like a fool.
As it should be, the Miami Carlins took the lead. The Carlins come into the weekend leading The Fuzzy Taints 180-140, with a 5-3 starts used lead. Essentially, The Fuzzy Taints are owed 20 points from two starters to even it up.
Unfortunately John Lackey once again was not used in his start yesterday and he pitched well. I say this is unfortunate because now Yu Darvish had his start pushed back to Tuesday and I had to scramble to find a 7th starter for this week. I decided to drop Neil Walker and pick up Jeremy Guthrie who pitches against the Chicago White Sox today as this 7th starter. Cole Hamels also goes today against the New York Mets. I like both of these match-ups and I’m hoping it pushes the Carlins way ahead once we run out of starts.
Yesterday’s scoring included a vintage performance from Jordan Zimmermann, a fine performance from Matt Moore, and a lackluster one from Mike Minor. The only positive from not pitching John Lackey is he wouldn’t have gotten the win because Carlins short stop Jhonny Peralta hit a 9th inning home run to help the Tigers win.
“Sure I hit it for the Tigers,” said Peralta. “I also hit it for the Carlins. Not only that, I hit it for steroid users everywhere….Awww crap.”
Jered Weaver will pitch today for The Fuzzy Taints while tomorrow it appears Francisco Liriano, Patrick Corbin, and Travis Wood will finish things off. Sunday’s scoring will all come down to the offense and closers, a less exciting way to do things, but considering the Carlins have a pretty good offense I have a good feeling.
I would not be doing my job if I didn’t mention Jayson Werth’s 4 strikeout game yesterday. With Allen Craig on the bench (he would eventually have a 2-run pinch hit), Werth got the start. Werth showed his worth when he struck out 4 times. As a Philadelphia Phillies fan, I have to hate him even more now. It’s almost as if Werth isn’t taking my fantasy baseball team seriously. Such a shame because he looks like such a serious man.
The Miami Carlins made up some ground yesterday. It wasn’t much, but 5 points is still 5 points. The score is still 111-97, in favor of The Fuzzy Taints thanks mostly to a 22 point performance by Jake Westbrook.
“After my first time pitching for the Carlins when I put up a pathetic 0 points, it feels good to be someone who actually participates in a positive way,” said Westbrook. “I’ve heard murmurs what happens to guys who continually pitch poorly. I’ve heard you get traded to the Houston Asterisks.”
Today things will pick up greatly. Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Minor, and Matt Moore will all be pitching for the Carlins. John Lackey is also available to pitch, but I won’t throw him out there. He has poor numbers against the team he’s pitching against and it’s also the Detroit Tigers. I have had a history of playing pitchers against the Tigers. I would like to avoid it as much as I can.
By this time tomorrow the Miami Carlins should be in the lead. If we’re not, the situation will become very dire. I’m still not completely satisfied with the pitching match-ups other than Mike Minor against the Mets. Matt Moore goes against the Yankees and Jordan Zimmermann goes against the Rockies, thankfully in Washington, not Colorado.
“When you start the week off trailing, it’s a slow upward climb,” said Carlins 1B/OF Allen Craig. “You know, like me this season and my only 6 home runs. Wasn’t I drafted in like the 6th round? I really should stop being a singles hitter.”