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10/2/2012: The Day the Offense Died

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Fifteen strikeouts, but no win (USP)

Don't feel too bad if your fantasy offense went into a 7-for-51 tailspin during Tuesday's play. Your arch rival might have fared even worse.

Make no mistake, the penultimate day of the baseball season turned into a Streaming Party. For whatever reason, offense took a complete holiday on Tuesday. Only one team, the Mariners of all clubs, scored six runs. A whopping 13 of the 15 games went under the posted total, and the other two games were pushes. Vegas projected we'd see 119.5 runs from the full slate — instead, we got 87. It felt like a backyard Wiffle Ball game, dominated by the bagel.

There were a few starting pitchers who bombed, but not too many. Captain Erratic Tommy Hanson allowed five earned runs while Anthony Swarzak and Anthony Bass gave up four each — that's it for the crooked numbers. Everyone else escaped at three earned or fewer. Chris Capuano didn't last long and there were some bullpen meltdowns (Rafael Betancourt and Andrew Bailey allowed game-altering homers in the ninth), but for the most part this was a good day to be on the mound.

Where does a day like this come from? Is this just a sample of randomness, or were results being driven by something else? Did some batters in throw-away games take a hack-first approach? Were umpires handing out borderline strikes in some of the non-critical matches? I was primarily watching NFL film on Tuesday night; I can't point to anything specific from the sandlot. How much can we blame the JV lineups, the teams who were resting key players? Whatever it was, it felt odd all evening.

Feel free to salute your Tuesday heroes, the expected and the unexpected, in the comments below. Is Hisashi Iwakuma a shoo-in for a Wiggy? Did James Shields push you to the promised land with his 15 strikeouts, or did the tough-luck loss do you in? Did you have the nerve to start a Bud Norris or a Kevin Correia? How much of a winner's share are you giving to Miguel Gonzalez?

The batters did get one piece of good news on stupid bloody Tuesday: the fences are coming in at Safeco Field. Alas, we'll have to wait until 2013 on that one. The pitchers laughed first, last and hardest on this day.

Good luck with the final 15 games, amigos. First pitch is a mere five hours away. Get your popcorn ready, start clearing off some mantle space.

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