Posts Tagged ‘Trigger Pulling’

The Playoff Push: Where the Phillies make me poop myself

The Yankees are pretty assured of a playoff spot. This much has been certain for a while. They will either win the AL East or win the wild card. The Rangers, Twins and Rays also will be in the playoffs. All of these teams are great. Probably not as good as the Yankees, but who is?

I’ll tell you who is. The Phillies is. The Phillies most definitely is. I wrote them off a few weeks ago

Do you really need more reasons to hate the Phillies than this?

because they were losing in the division race to the Braves. Since then, the Phillies have reeled off a record so terrifying I don’t even want to look it up. Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt form a pitching trio deadlier than any in recent memory – I think all of them have sub-3 ERAs since August, which is just…I hate it.

Roy Oswalt ‘s career has been on the schneid for like 5 years. All of a sudden, he gets traded to an already good team in a hitter’s park and turns into 2005 Roy Oswalt? Roy Halladay is who we thought he is, having just gotten win number 20 last night. Cole Hamels is my boi, has been for a long time, and finds himself on both of my fantasy team. He might be their best pitcher right now. In his last six starts, he has an ERA of 0.82, 45 strikeouts and five wins in 43.2 innings pitched. Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), he’s regained his 2008 form and then some.

Then, you have the Phillies offense. Jimmy Rollins is hurt, but at this point, that hardly matters. Ryan Howard is mashing, and Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez combine to form by far the best lineup in the NL, and they and the Yankees are neck and neck for the best in the bigs.

Which of course brings me back to the Bronx Bombers. The Phillies may be frighteningly hot right now and devastatingly talented, but does that mean they’re better than the Yankees? I mean, Alex Rodriguez is now clutch, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada are one hell of an offensive core. Derek Jeter isn’t even one of our 5 best hitters, but that doesn’t mean he’s no longer Derek Jeter. Brett Gardner is faster than any Phillie, which counts for something, and Curtis Granderson is (FINALLY) hitting this month.

Don’t forget, we still have the single greatest playoff weapon of all time at the back of the bullpen, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and…well there’s the rub. The only reason the Phillies do scare me is I don’t know who comes after Andrew Eugene. Phil Hughes was dominant in the beginning of the year but has completely reversed course and become a mediocre-at-best SP since the break. A.J. Burnett might as well carry around his own personal Heimlich maneuver technician (which is my guess as to what one would be called) he’s such a choke artist and Javier Vazquez is allergic to pinstripes/expectations.

Granted, none of this may matter when the calender flips to October. These are the Yankees we’re talking about. Say what you want about this current manifestation, but they now know what it takes to hoist that multi-flagged trophy. The Phillies do too, but they have a different sort of aura. The Yankees’ is tradition, professionalism, nostalgia and The Memory of The Boss. The Phillies’ is tasers, Riot Punch, and of course, this guy:

Today’s Heroes: 5/30 – Le Blogging

Sundays are free here. I have class from 9-12:15 5 days a week, and have class some days and activities other days in the afternoon until dinner. Then dinner, then either passing out, going out drinking, the latter followed by the former, or staying up late watching TV. Doing these activities leaves me dog-tired, and wanting nothing to do with hopping on the computer and banging out 700 words of fantasy advice when I barely have the time to pay attention (that didn’t stop Teamocil from climbing back into forth place on the heels of The Great Jason Heyward, Carlos Gonzalez and Robbie Cano’s strong weeks). But I’ve done it anyway, for you. Yesterday, I spent literally all day in the mediocre-at-best city of Marseille (go here if you want to hear why), was too tired to go out in France on a Saturday night, so the fact that a wrote a blog post was heroic, at the least.

Today is Sunday, though. Sundays are free. Completely free. I can wake up at 2:15 if I want to (check), I can have breakfast at 2:45 of espresso, a baguette smothered in nutella and apricot confiture (check), then download some hip-hop I had wanted to for two months (check), then listen to it while cranking out a Today’s Heroes (check). So here it is.

  • I don’t know how many people know this, but since 1996, only one team in all of the Major Leagues has a winning record against the Yankees. That team would be (sorry, Collin and *snicker snicker* O’s fans) the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I hate them. Not enough to refuse owning any of their players (Kendry Morales and Jered Weaver, and I used to have a spot reserved for K-Rod on my teams in the mid-2000’s), but enough to never even secretly root for them against the Yanks. I bench Jered Weaver every time. Yesterday, I was given another very good reason to hate them. After their one non-evil hitter (Kendry), hit a walk-off grand slam, what do they do to thank him? Break his fucking leg, that’s what. And they all joined in to beat the living crap out of him and sideline him for 10-12 weeks. Serious pricks. Now that incredible keeper pick his so much less valuable, and I need offense. Members of the league, I’m listening to offers for a pitcher of mine.

Leg Assassination: The Montage

  • Continuing this morning’s theme of hatred, I hate Carlos Silva. He’s a below-average pitcher throwing up top-50 fantasy numbers for no good reason. After 7 innings and 11 Ks last night, my hatred builds, fueled by the certain knowledge that if I were to pick him up, he would immediately begin to suck on my team, I know it. The eventual regression will not take place on my starting roster, I assure you.
  • Dexter Fowler had a good run. However, if you play in the Rockies outfield, you’re on a preposterously short leash. Why? Because after Carlos Gonzalez and Brad Hawpe, they have 3-4 interchangeable outfielders. Enter Seth Smith, the Rockies’ Flava-Flav-of-the-week, hitting .409 with seven runs, three dingers and six RBI. He hits behind CarGo and ahead of Tulowitzki, Helton, Hawpe, Stewart and Olivo in some order. That’s a pretty sweet place to be, so you should keep an eye on this guy. If he locks that spot up, he’ll be even more valuable than his season total of 8 homers would have you believe (which is already adequately valuable).
  • The time difference pwned me in the Buster Posey sweepstakes me. While everyone was hearing the news of his call-up yesterday morning, I was stuck on some lame train through the historic district of Marseille (not my idea), handcuffed by the idea of time zones. Starting Miguel Olivo in both leagues, Posey would be a perfect addition because I’m not deluding myself that Olivo can continue to be on pace for 30 HR and 15 steals. Yes, those are his 475-AB paces. Obviously I wouldn’t drop Olivo, but Posey, a can’t miss offensive prospect at catcher, would be a very nice backup, keeping for 1 (he was already in the Yahoo! universe and available in both leagues). C’est la vie, as they say over here. Over there, we call it pwned.
  • Former Terrapin Brett Cecil continued his stellar widely-available play? Why widely available? Because the last time he had a stretch like this, everyone picked him up. Then he sucked for a few starts, and everyone dropped him again. Well, I’m not making that mistake again, unless of course I can trade two pitchers for a great power hitter. Then I might make that mistake again. Totally a viable option, guys. Just saying. I need hitting.
  • Is John Axford the Brewers’ new closer? I haven’t been reading the rags, but he has a win and two saves in his last two appearances, so that leads me to believe it is. In that case, there will be a scrum for him in all leagues, since the Brewers are a decent team that would be better if they hadn’t been employing Trevor Hoffman. They have an unbelievable lineup, and at least one pitcher of delivering consistently great performances (Yovani Gallardo). That should be a solid two-three saves a week if he can keep the job.

Thank God I have this blog to express my Morales frustration, since absolutely no one in France cares about baseball, if not, suppressing this rage would be very unhealthy.

Why Winning a Category is Stupid

I already know the counter-argument to this, which is rife with logic. Obviously winning a category nets you an extra point. But you know what it gets you? ONLY ONE EXTRA POINT. That’s it. Having 9 points in home runs is fine. It’s not a tragedy. You still have a powerful team? Why, then, does it become stupid to have an additional point?

Think about it this way: If I’m winning home runs and RBI, and my team includes Ryan Howard, Matt Holliday,

Don't be this guy, look how sad he is.

Ryan Braun, Mark Reynolds and Manny Ramirez. While the OF of this team would be ridiculously amazing, and this could only happen in an auction league, I can pretty much assure you that my team will beat yours in home runs, and I will laugh at you.

You however, should laugh at me. I may be winning home runs, but I doubt I’m winning a league with that lineup. Why, you may ask, with such epic hitters all of whom would be drafted in the top four rounds of most drafts, would this team not thoroughly dominate?

If it’s not obvious already, the rest of the team probably sucks balls. The money I spent on those five took money away from my pitching, run scorers and base-stealers. I may have boatloads of points in homers, RBI and probably batting average, but chances are I have only a few in pitching.

What should I/anyone who’s dominating a category do? Trade from strength. If I trade Braun away, I can likely secure a starter along the lines of Johan Santana and a speed guy who doesn’t come with much pop, such as Brett Gardner, Michael Bourn or Jacoby Ellsbury (if healthy). While you might go down a point in homers (might), you gain points in ERA, WHIP, W, and Ks with just adding Santana. Maybe a point in each, but that’s still four points. You also gain a couple of points in steals as those three (or players like them) yield such high volumes of steals that they can vault you past other managers who didn’t just acquire a speed demon.

Giving up two points in HR, RBI, but gaining six points in other places? That’s a no-brainer. You know what else is a no-brainer? A guy who wins a category in a landslide. You go from the above muscly-dude to this guy. And who doesn’t love him?

Overstimulated Other Thoughts

While parked in front of the TV, switching between the NBA playoffs and the draft, with fantasy baseball info updating live on my Macbook, my brain is preparing to melt. Before it does, I felt the need to post some obversations on all three goings on before my head explodes:

  • The draft is stupid. The whole dog-n-pony show is a farce. I find myself tuning in and rapidly changing the channel back to playoff basketball. The thought that it will almost certainly rate higher than basketball on a night when LeBron AND Kobe are playing is just an example of Americans’ blind devotion to football without giving the NBA a chance. There are few things in sports that get me more excited than playoff basketball, and the Super Bowl isn’t one of them (World Cup, Yankees in the playoffs…the Jets last year).
  • What I did catch of the draft made me want to pull the trigger all over Jon Gruden à la this guy. Not every single guy drafted will be a Pro Bowler, but you wouldn’t know it listening to Mr. Gruden. “This guy’s the real deal,” “Earl Thomas will be an All-Pro very soon,” “He’s a heckuva football player.” I know you desperately want another head coaching gig, but showering praise all over every single GM in the NFL on their night to shine is not the way to do it. Okay, rant over.
  • Jake Peavy continues to make everyone wonder what the heck happened to the guy who won the pitching triple crown that one time? 4 IP, 7 hits, 7 walks, 7 runs, 5 Ks. Seven was not my lucky number tonight. He and Scott Baker combined to pretty much nullify yesterday’s beautiful pitching performances.
  • Derrick Rose played better than LeBron James tonight. It was pretty close, and LeBron won the box-score-off (The King had 39 points, 10 boards, 8 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, with 5 turnovers vs. Rose’s 32, 7 assists, 2 rebounds, but zero turnovers, and absolutely took over late. There was a stretch where the Cavs were mounting a frenzy of a comeback, but Rose was just doing anything he wanted offensively. He is easily the fastest player in the NBA, and it’s not close. He made Mo Williams/Delonte West look so bad that the Cavs wound up putting Bron Bron on him, which worked. Bulls won though, so that was cool. Sweeps are boring, unless the Yankees do it.

Get out of my way, Saturn

That’s all I got. The one good thing about draft night (recently) is when the Jets pick, and that was a freaking awesome pick in Kyle Wilson. Are you scared yet, league?