Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: Meet Pitcher-AAA

by Lawr Michaels, on July 12, 2011 @ 09:45:10 PDT


Man oh man, my last two week cycle of Scoresheet games has just been brutal. Worse, the games have been confusing in that goofy way that only baseball and fantasy ball can be.

Three weeks ago my Tiger's Blood team was running nicely atop the Ruth division of the Murphy League, at 39-36, but a horrid 0-6 week, followed by a 2-5 week in head-to-head play, put an end to that.

This is my third year in the league, and never before have I had a span like this, where my team literally nose-dived into the cellar, so, I am more than a bit taken aback.

Not that I have not had bad weeks, or timeframes where my teams have tanked it before, but, not with this kind of team, in this format.

Minnesota Twins SP Carl Pavano
Pavano has turned it around

And, though the injury bug did hit slightly, in that Albert Pujols went on the DL commensurate with when the slide began, this is a team with Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, and Shaun Marcum as my one-two-three starters. Plus, I have Dillon Gee, Josh Collmenter, Carl Pavano, and the recently departed Zach Britton as additional starters.

Oh yes, and my secret weapon, Kevin Correia.

But, even with the injury to Pujols, I could plug Michael Cuddyer in at first, and platoon Chris Heisey and Corey Patterson, and even that left me with Gordon Beckham on my bench. And, Drew Storen and Glen Perkins in the pen.

And still, I lost 11 of 13 games? And, among all those pitchers, Secret Weapon Correia won both games.

As an example of just how humiliating this run has been, though, there is a provision that we can carry 30 active players on our rosters in the Scoresheet set-up. We set our left- and right-handed hitting lineup each week, and our rotation, plus subs. And, it pays to have as much bench as possible, for if a team has only five starters, and one is injured during the week of play, a "Pitcher-AAA" will be promoted to pick up the slack.

Same is true for position players. For example, earlier in the season, when my shortstop, Erick Aybar, was injured, I did not have a back-up who played the spot, so I spent several days with "Shortstop-AAA" gracing my starting lineup.

Well, in one game last week The Student Loan Sharks started "Pitcher-AAA" against my team. Against my pitcher Marcum. Well, thanks to three errors - one by Aybar and two by Heisey - Marcum allowed six runs, four earned, while Perkins allowed another, and "Pitcher-AAA" beat us 7-5, with five innings of seven hit ball. And, despite homers by Aybar and Heisey to try and compensate for their miscues, I suppose.

Now, I would be lying if I said this doesn't drive me crazy, as I am sure it must you when such things go awry for your teams.

Because, the outcome simply does not make sense, for I clearly have a better team.

But, as we all also know, baseball does not always work itself out as the game seems it should, bearing in mind skill and that myriad of rules, and as exasperating as that is, that is part of what forces us to watch and try to make sense of the whole mess of hits and errors and unearned runs and batter's interference and such.

I actually spent a few days away - out of Wi-Fi and cell phone range - this past Fourth of July week, and the truth is I did not know how horribly my team - you know, the one that lost to "Pitcher-AAA" - played until Sunday.

And, since we get our weekly results each Thursday, my new lower rank in the standings was terra firma for over three days before I discovered the debacle.

I am not sure if the buffer in time softened the blow of my team's failure, or simply that after going 0-6 one week, 2-5 was looking pretty good in comparison. Or, it could be just that mellowing out that occurs when we are disconnected from our DSL and iPhones.

Or, it could be that I got Albert back, and that Pavano was pitching well and placing him in the starting five seems to be a safe play.

Meaning Cuddy is back in the outfield with Alex Gordon, and the Heisey/Patterson platoon should pick things back up.

Not to mention 55 games won leads the 24-team league, and The Jeroboam Justification is 47-41, meaning I am only six games back in the Ruth division with half the year to go, so I should still be OK, I think.

In the meantime all I can do is chuckle at how weird these games - baseball on the field and in our heads - are, and how much fun it is to try and figure them out.

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About Lawr Michaels,

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for as a statistician. Fantasy Baseball

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