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Diary of a Fantasy Madman: Game Change
By Zach Steinhorn
Tuesday, July 24 - 11:05 AM
I really thought that Clayton Richard had changed. I really thought that he was no longer a pitch at home but bench on the road guy. That's been the rule for awhile, as the 28-year-old southpaw has, over the past few seasons, recorded perhaps the most drastic home/away splits of any starting pitcher in baseball. But then came five straight road starts of two earned runs or less and then came my decision to pick him up for a two-start week in which he'd be facing the Giants and Marlins, both on the road. These aren't exactly juggernaut offenses, so how bad could it get? So far, it's bad. Very bad. Last night, San Francisco torched Richard for seven runs in only five innings. Now he'll need to throw a gem this coming Sunday just to salvage the week. Maybe Richard hasn't changed after all. Maybe that was just wishful thinking.
Wednesday, July 25 - 11:20 PM
Remember a couple weeks back when I discussed my worst Tout FAAB pickups? Well, I think I might have found a player to add to that list. He used to be pretty good. Come to think of it, he used to be one of the more reliable closers in the game, which is why I decided to bid $17, exactly half of my remaining FAAB budget, on newly anointed Astros' closer Francisco Cordero. Thanks to the Vickrey process, I managed to get him for $15, but that's still a hefty price to pay for a guy who has been awful for most of this season. But I figured that a move back to the familiar ninth-inning role could reinvigorate him, and since the saves race is very tight, adding another closer, despite the damage he might do to my ERA and WHIP, would result in a net gain. 1 1/3 innings, six earned runs and two blown saves later, I'm thinking this was a bad idea. One, two? How many more of these meltdowns will it take before Cordero gets demoted to middle relief duty? 329 career saves is great and all, but it doesn't do me any good. I really have to become more of a "What have you done for me lately?" type of owner. I'm too obsessed with this track record stuff.
Saturday, July 28 - 4:04 PM
I've seen this happen so many times. NL starting pitchers who move to the AL tend to struggle right out of the gate. And it makes a whole lot of sense. Not getting to face the pitcher is a big time bummer. Instead of an almost automatic out, you've got the DH, a batter who is usually a dangerous home run threat. What could be a poor inning in the NL could turn out to be a disaster inning in the AL. Today, Anibal Sanchez became the latest career-long National Leaguer to experience a rude awakening in his first taste of the Junior Circuit. Five runs in six innings isn't terrible considering that it was on the road against a powerful Blue Jays' lineup. But as a Sanchez owner, I'm annoyed. Why couldn't the Marlins have traded him to the Dodgers, the Braves or even the Pirates? There's a reason why I like to fill my fantasy rotations with as many National League hurlers as possible. The last thing I need is for real life GMs to interfere with my plans. Anibal will still be an above average fantasy starter, but with an expected decline in strikeouts and rise in ERA and WHIP, he won't be the same pitcher who took the mound in Florida.
Saturday, July 28 - 5:12 PM
Another trip to the DL for Pablo Sandoval. I've always been a fan of the Panda, but I'm now really starting to lose patience with him. Yeah, he injured his hamstring on a fluky play where he had to stretch for a ball at first base, but I can't help but think that his well-documented weight issues played a factor here. I mean, would Mark Teixeira or Albert Pujols have met the same fate? No one knows for sure. Maybe I'm being too hard on Pablo. He's been banged up quite a bit over the last couple of years, but when he's healthy he produces.
And that hasn't changed.
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