I went into last Sunday's set of games with Jeremy Guthrie, CC Sabathia, and Mark Buehrle all starting for their teams as I chased Chris Liss for a League of Alternative Baseball (LABR) title.
And, the team had a pretty good day, with home runs from Nick Swisher and Jose Bautista, and a pair of saves from Jordan Walden and Andrew Bailey.
Most of this horsehide play occurred while I was working the Oakland game; in fact I witnessed the Bailey conversion, and Ryan Sweeney's two-RBI triple, and Dustin Ackley's dinger, all of which helped one team or another.
I knew Buehrle was starting against the Rangers Sunday evening while I was on my way home, but I fed our dogs and worked on a column before I turned on the game so that the Pale Hose/Texas contest had some frames completed before I looked.
Doc prescribes Tiger's Blood
Hence, "Ugh!" When I looked it was the fifth inning, with the White Sox down 16-0. And over his 3 1/3 innings, Buehrle allowed 10 hits, a pair of walks and seven runs.
I have generally said that I have much more fun in a pennant race than by running away with a title, but that is much easier said when one is in first. And, short of a team Rotowire instant melt-down, my participation in the LABR race is pretty much done with Chris holding a 14 point lead.
However, in the Murphy Scoresheet League, my Tiger's Blood team had managed a tidy lead over our Ruth division of the 24-team format till an 0-6 week, just before the break, caused a tumble into the cellar.
Since then though, the team has rallied, but in synch with the rest of my division for going into the final month of the season two games separate first and fourth place, as the Jeroboam Justification lead with a 74-63 record, while Smell the Glove logs in at 73-64, with the Paradox Icals and the Blood at 72-65.
And, it is amazing just how similar our four teams are stat-wise.
For example the Justification have tossed 1235 2/3 innings with an ERA of 3.48, and a batting average against of .244, while the Blood have 1231 1/3 innings twirled with a 3.63 earned run total and average against of .246. Not to mention the Justification allowed seven fewer hits than I at 1167, with 30 more whiffs at 975.
And, while Tiger's Blood has 17 complete games and 18 shutouts, the Jeroboams have 13 complete games and 16 shutouts.
For those teams in between, the Paradox Icals have a 3.71 ERA, while second place Smell the Glove has a higher 4.30 total.
But, the offenses of those two teams lead the Justification and the Blood, as Smell the Glove comes in .276-162-635, and while my average is higher than the Paradox Icals at .271 (to .244), his 159 homers wastes my 129. Oddly, though, we are just 12 RBI apart, with my team having 614 to the Icals' 602.
Though they have the worst pitching, Smell the Glove does lead hitting with a .773 OPS, while Tiger's Blood is second at .742, followed by the Paradoxicals at .733, with the leading Jeraboams below .700 at .674.
What this does is support the maxim that pitching will beat hitting over the long run, but the question is whose pitching is better?
I have to think with Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, and Shaun Marcum as my core three starters, as opposed to the Jeraboams' Hiroki Kuroda, James Shields, and Ted Lilly troika, I have the edge, but so far the standings do not say so.
It will, however, be a lot of fun watching this H2H format work its way through the final four weeks of the season.
But, as with LABR, Tiger's Blood is involved in a pennant race and I am not in first. Meaning the final month of the season will be more intense than I hoped.
See more of Lawr's work, including the Hotpage (published each Monday) and Bed Goes Up, Bed Goes Down (each Saturday), along with the work of Todd Zola, Brian Walton, and the Mastersball team at www.mastersball.com.
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 MLB.com as a statistician.