Fantasy fix for all hitters: Baltimore's lousy pitching staff

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8314/" data-ylk="slk:Daniel Murphy">Daniel Murphy</a> homered Wednesday, and gets the Baltimore staff on the weekend (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Daniel Murphy homered Wednesday, and gets the Baltimore staff on the weekend (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Gleyber Torres isn’t starting against the Orioles on Thursday. Maybe the AL East has some arcane mercy rule. Can you get hurt trotting around the bases?

Torres is having a nifty second season, but he can thank the Orioles for most of that. He’s pushed the OPS over .900 and has 12 home runs, but remarkably 10 of those taters have come at Baltimore’s expense. Things really get juicy when Torres visits Camden Yards — after homering twice there Wednesday, he’s now 12-for-23 in Crabcake City, with seven home runs.

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The video game is broken. It’s raining home runs in Baltimore, baby. Everything else is the same.

There’s not much actionable to Torres owning this pitching staff — he’s a universally owned and beloved played. But it underscores just how critical it is to pick on the Baltimore pitchers whenever possible. Roto, head to head, DFS especially — we need to appreciate that these guys put the ball on a tee for the entire league.

The Orioles are the quickest team in history to allow 100 home runs; the count is now up to 105. For some seasonal perspective, only one other team is over 74 gophers allowed. The 5.77 team ERA is dead last, a half run clear of the Royals. The Baltimore staff is the only one with a negative WAR grade through the opening third of the year.

So we’re set to attack Baltimore’s staff with almost anyone. And just to put extremes to the test, Baltimore heads to Colorado this weekend. Coors Freaking Field.

If you see the Weekend at Bernie’s guy in the lineup, you start him (okay, maybe that’s just Ian Desmond). Tony Wolters, who just hit his first homer of the year Wednesday, to go with that .294 average? Push play. Daniel Murphy, with that pretty .176 average? It’s go time.

The slumping Detroit and San Francisco offenses come to Baltimore after that. Maybe the Orioles can get Miguel Cabrera going. I beg the Giants to give Pablo Sandoval some at-bats next week. It’s comical and maybe even a little sad the resurgent Panda can’t crack this pathetic lineup.

Baltimore just wants you to be happy. Let’s swing for the fences.

Temporary closer in Colorado

Michael Lazarus is a friend of mine and a colleague of mine. He’s a product manager for Yahoo, a Colorado sports fan, and a member of the Friends & Family League. He knows his stuff.

On Wednesday, he made a F&F pickup, then fired off a DM to me:

I'm terrified of Scott Oberg now that I finally beat everyone to the waiver wire today in F&F.

Colorado, meet your new ninth-inning guy!

Oberg temporarily settles into the closing chair with Wade Davis (oblique) hitting the injured list. Oberg somehow has a 1.77 ERA this year, but it’s been a smoke and mirrors show — he’s walked 11 batters against 13 strikeouts, and his FIP stands at 4.70. His BABIP (.196) and strand rate (89.6 percent) are absurdly lucky as well.

How badly do you need those saves? This is the type of player I’d take at the lowest of acquisition costs, but I’m unlikely to devote significant resources to him. The Rockies are optimistic Davis won’t be out long. If you want to take the plunge, Oberg is unclaimed in 77 percent of Yahoo leagues.

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Some run for Rengifo?

The Twins and Angels had a bizarre postponement in The OC on Wednesday. Although it stopped raining about four hours prior to game time, the outfield couldn’t be cultivated into a playable environment. You almost wonder if Crash Davis and his henchmen took a hose to the field, forced the rainout. Maybe everyone was too depressed about the Andrelton Simmons injury.

In the meantime, get familiar with Luis Rengifo. He’s in line to replace Simmons, and maybe there’s something here.

Rengifo did little in an early trial, for whatever 38 at-bats mean to you. But he’s posted a .270/.357/.409 line through 436 minor-league games, along with 130 steals. It hasn’t always been the cleanest show on the bases — he’s also been caught 52 times, and he’s just 3-for-6 this year. But a major chunk of the stolen-base chase is finding players who are willing to run, and Rengifo is one of those guys.

Let’s give the 22-year-old a look as he settles in against Minnesota Thursday and Texas on the weekend. He’s available just about everywhere.

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