By Andy Behrens
April 19, 2007
Roto Arcade This Week : April 16
| April 17 | April 18
You really have to love the way those Yahoo! Sports game notes build drama:
CHICAGO PITCHER MARK BUEHRLE HAS A NO-HITTER THROUGH SIX INNINGS.
CHICAGO PITCHER MARK BUEHRLE HAS A NO-HITTER THROUGH SEVEN INNINGS.
CHICAGO PITCHER MARK BUEHRLE HAS A NO-HITTER THROUGH EIGHT INNINGS.
CHICAGO PITCHER MARK BUEHRLE HAS A NO-HITTER THROUGH 8 1/3 INNINGS.
CHICAGO PITCHER MRK BUEHRLE HAS A NO-HITTER THROUGH 8 2/3 INNINGS.
CHICAGO PITCHER MARK BUEHRLE HAS THROWN A NO-HITTER.
It's just like being there. And yeah, the person typing them really did write "MRK" when there were two outs in the ninth. That's just nerves.
Congratulations to all the Buehrle owners. Just over 79.3 percent of Yahoo! leagues have one. Everything that Buehrle normally does well he did spectacularly Wednesday night: hit the edges, vary speeds, work quickly, coax grounders. Nothing seemed to be over the plate, yet everything was a strike. Kenny Lofton looked too comfortable in the fourth, lining a ball just foul down the left field line, so Buehrle brushed him back and then struck him out. He allowed a walk to Sammy Sosa in the fifth, then promptly picked him off first base.
White Sox announcers Ken Harrelson and Darrin Jackson did a fine job avoiding the words "no" and "hitter," at least until the ninth, instead using the phrase "faced the minimum." The Rangers aren't the easiest lineup to no-hit, but Joe Crede, Tadahito Iguchi, and Juan Uribe all made brilliant plays behind Buehrle. The rest was just a smart pitcher administering a two-hour lesson. If you're a fan of public displays of team chemistry, start watching the game replay at 2:13:40. People are always happy for the guy who tosses the no-hitter, but Mark Buehrle is unusually likeable. Just a great scene. Buehrle was effective in his previous start, too, allowing the A's only four hits over seven innings.
Naturally, I think it's a terrific time to deal him. You might want Monday's start at Kansas City, though.
It was nice to be distracted by a night of excellent reality baseball, because fantasy was particularly unkind yesterday. In the Yahoo! Friends and Family League, I lost Howie Kendrick (broken finger) to the disabled list and Brett Myers (panicked manager) to the bullpen. With Troy Glaus and Mike Mussina already on the DL, it puts me in a tricky position. We only have three bench spots in that league; I'd prefer to use those roster spots on a hitter who's eligible at multiple positions, and a pair of low-ratio starters. Instead, I'm using them on an injured third baseman (Glaus), a Triple-A pitcher (Tim Lincecum), and a fleshy right-hander about to make his first start (Bartolo Colon). It's not ideal.
It's also not time to freak. I'm in a good place, standings-wise, and I'm perfectly on pace to reach the innings pitched limit. I've shopped Colon and Javier Vazquez around the league a bit, looking for a Kendrick replacement – he'll probably miss six weeks. There are enough useful middle infielders among the free agents that I don't need to make a deal, though. The question is this: Who should I drop?
My most droppable player is Garrett Anderson, who's no better than three or four free agents. But that would only create a different lineup hole. I'm not dumping Lincecum, so don't ask. Personal favorite Boof Bonser has exactly one more start to prove himself roster-worthy. He'll face Kansas City on Saturday. I'd like to be patient with Colon, who's also scheduled to start on Saturday, but if he's shaky in his debut it'll be tough to keep him. Which stinks. If Boof and Bartolo both impress, I may have no choice but to cut Myers. Which also stinks. If at all possible, Myers owners need to exercise patience right now. One of the following things will likely happen:
A) He'll return to the rotation by June. Like Jon Lieber told the Phils' website yesterday, "I still believe Brett is our No. 1 starter." That's coming from the guy replacing Myers.
B) Myers will be the Philadelphia closer by June. Their bullpen has been atrocious, and Tom Gordon has been as bad as anyone (4.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, .353 BAA). Myers obviously qualifies at SP, which is a valuable attribute for a fantasy closer.
C) Charlie Manuel will be fired within a few days, and either A or B will happen much sooner.
I'd guess that C is the likely outcome, but I have no insider knowledge here. I actually liked the way Myers was deployed in relief on Wednesday. Manuel brought him in to pitch to the Nats' 3-4-5 hitters in the eighth inning of a winnable game – Philadelphia was down 4-3 at the time. The Phillies then tied the game in the ninth off Chad Cordero. Philadelphia still managed to lose in the 13th, of course.
The following paragraph is a quick aside intended only for Charlie Manuel and his pitching coach, Rich Dubee. The rest of you can just skip ahead. Here goes: Hey, if you guys find yourselves with a lot of free time in the near future and substantial severance packages, I'd like to invite you to join a fantasy league. With me. For money. I've seen enough to realize that you guys are, um … very bold and, um … unconventional. Please use the feedback link below to send me your email addresses. We'll get us a Plus league going.
OK, moving on …
With Kendrick on the shelf, the Angels might just bring up top prospect Brandon Wood, who should be able to play various infield positions. He's hitting .293 at Triple-A Salt Lake with three homers and 11 RBI. I've added him in my AL-only league, just in case.
To those of you who sold high on Felix Hernandez after the one-hitter at Boston, kudos. The Mariners have referred to his elbow as both "tight" and "stiff." His velocity was just fine – in the 94-97 range – before he left Wednesday's loss to the Twins in the first inning. If you're a Felix owner, there isn't much to do but hope.
Dan Wheeler pitched two innings yesterday, entering the game in the eighth with a four run lead. That seemed strange. He hadn't pitched since getting a three-K save last Friday, though, so he's probably available tonight. Chad Qualls had pitched on consecutive days, while Brad Lidge and Trever Miller have stunk. So there you go.
Carlos Zambrano continued his horrible start Wednesday, yielding five earned runs, five walks, and eight hits to the Braves. His velocity was fine, though. It was all about control. Zambrano's ERA is now 7.77, but I'd be willing to bet his ratios have peaked. He had a similarly poor beginning last season, going 0-2 in April with a 5.35 ERA, six home runs allowed, and 25 walks in 33.2 innings. He's really a perfect trade target.
Here are six pitchers I'd be willing to own for Friday if I really needed wins and Ks: Scott Olsen versus Washington (85.6 percent owned), Daniel Cabrera versus Toronto (48.1), John Danks at Detroit (0.6), Mike Pelfrey versus Atlanta (4.6), Kyle Lohse versus Philadelphia (1.4), Randy Wolf versus Pittsburgh (5.4). On Friday, I'll deal with the existential dilemma of being a streamer.
Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Thursday, Apr 19, 2007 2:07 pm, EDT
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