The hot corner of the web to learn about fantasy baseball.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Darvish, Rodney Pushing Cys Toward Upset of Bomba
A great start by Yu Darvish and strong relief work by Fernando Rodney have the Cys on the verge of a big upset of Los Coche Bomba. Darvish will get a second start in this series on Sunday. Here is a quick look at each series as we enter the weekend.
Bomba entered this series with a 30-15-3 record, the league's best. It holds a 3.5-game lead over High Cheese in the South Division and has an 8-game cushion over the last place Cys. But it's the Cys that have command of this series, leading 10-2. Closer Fernando Rodney, a free-agent acquisition for the Cys, has pitched three scoreless innings, striking out five and earning two saves. In a season where the ninth inning has been an adventure for most teams, Rodney has been rock solid. Darvish earned one of the team's three quality starts when he struck out nine batters in seven innings of one-run ball. The Cys will have CC Sabathia, C.J. Wilson, Mike Minor, Darvish, and rookie Matt Moore on the mound over the next three days. Bomba will counter with Brandon Beachy, Matt Garza, Derek Holland, and Bruce Chen. Bomba is waiting for second baseman Robinson Cano to break out of his slump. He's 4-for-15 with six strikeouts and just one RBI this week.
Howie Kendrick is on fire and he has Home Run 101 on the verge of a big series win over Give it a Yankee. It would be a tough loss for Give it a Yankee, which sits just one game behind the Bulls in the North Division pennant race. Home Run 101 entered this series with a 14-32-2 record, the league's worst, but holds an 8-3-1 lead over Give it a Yankee. Home Run 101 is already 12.5 games back in the North Division but a series win here could have the team back in contention. Kendrick is the series MVP so far, going 7-for-15 with two homers, four RBI and four runs scored. He has struck out just twice this week. If it weren't for David Wright, Give it a Yankee would be facing a bigger deficit. Wright is 6-for-14 with two stolen bases and four runs scored. Josh Johnson, Colby Lewis, and Johnny Cueto all have starts remaining in this series for Home Run 101. Luke Hochevar, and rookie Drew Smyly will pitch for Give it a Yankee.
Bacon at Mile 11 entered this series trailing the Bulls by 4.5-games in the North Division pennant race. With three days remaining, Bacon holds a 7-3-2 lead and could turn the pennant race into a virtual dead heat. The two best players in the league this week have faced off in this series. Carlos Gonzalez is 7-for-14 with four homers, two stolen bases, eight RBI and seven runs scored for the Bulls. A performance like that would normally KO an opponent, but Justin Upton has responded with two homers, four stolen bases, five RBI and seven runs scored for Bacon. Jason Vargas, Wie-Yin Chen, Chris Capuano, and Shaun Marcum all have starts remaining for the Bulls, who are getting beat in four of the six pitching categories. Trevor Cahill and Joe Weiland will try to maintain those pitching advantages for Bacon.
Entering this series, the Vicious Fishes trailed the Marin Menehunes by just 3.5-games in the West Division pennant race. That margin could grow substantially if the team doesn't rally past the Lower Haighters this weekend. The Fishes currently trail the series 9-2-1but many of the scoring categories are close so there is still time to make up ground. The key moment in this series came in one night at Petco Park when Ryan Braun hit three home runs for the Lower Haighters. The next night, Braun strained his achilles and he's now questionable for the weekend. With third baseman Kevin Youkilis out with a back injury, the Lower Haighters could have to defend its lead with two fewer bats in the lineup. The Fishes will send David Price, Jason Hammel, and Chris Sale to the mound this weekend. The Lower Haighters will counter with rookie Tommy Milone and ace Felix Hernandez.
The Slammers hold the top spot in the East Division pennant race and entered this series with a 3.5-game lead over third-place Twinkle Toes. But pitching, the strength for the Slammers, has let the team down this week. They trail 4-7-1 heading into the final three days of the series. Closers Heath Bell and Brandon League have both blown saves while starters James Shields and Mark Buehrle were unable to earn quality starts. Edwin Encarnacion is keeping the team in the series. He has three homers, a stolen base and five RBI this week. Closer Brett Myers has been the hero for Twinkle Toes. Myers has pitched two scoreless innings and earned two saves. Zack Greinke, Kyle Lohse, James McDonald, and Buehrle all have starts remaining for the Slammer, who trail the quality starts category by one. Twinkle Toes will try to protect the led with Ubaldo Jimenez, Juan Nicasio, Jeremy Hellickson, and Madison Bumgarner.
The Jersey Boys are desperate for something good to happen. The team is snake-bit. On Thursday, veteran closer Mariano Rivera, one of the team's best players, was hurt shagging balls in the outfield. The team entered this series with a 14-27-7 record and was in last place in the East Division, 10-games out. Facing the Machine, one of the league's best teams, the Jersey Boys have kept this series close, trailing 4-6-2 with three days remaining. With six categories still too close to call, the Jersey Boys are in position for a comeback, upset victory if they can find a hero. Hiroki Kuroda, R.A. Dickey, and Aaron Harang all have starts remaining for the Jersey Boys. Matt Cain, Ricky Nolasco, Gavin Floyd, and Jake Peavy will start for the Machine. The player of the series so far has been setup man Joel Peralta. He has struck out six in 4.1 scoreless innings, earning a save and two holds for the Machine.
The two best teams in the West Division are facing each other in this series. The Marin Menehunes have a 24-20-4 record and hold a 3-game lead over A-Rod's Mirrors. They also have a commanding 8-3-1 advantage in the series with three days remaining. Carlos Ruiz has been the best player in the series so far. "Chooch" is 5-for-12 with a home run and nine RBI. The Mirrors have dominated the starting pitching matchups. Jeff Samardzija struck out seven while giving up just one run in 7.2 innings in his first start in the series. Stephen Strasburg, Kevin Correia, and Cole Hamels will pitch for the Mirrors this weekend. Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia, Johan Santana, and Tim Lincecum will pitch for the Menehunes. The Menehunes have built their series advantage without much production from two of their best hitters, Nolan Reimold and Billy Butler. They are a combined 4-for-19 with no runs or RBI.
High Cheese is extracting some revenge after HUMA beat them last year to win the South Division pennant. Entering the weekend, High Cheese holds a commanding 10-1-1 lead and could take over the South Division lead with a big series win. Jered Weaver's no-hitter has been the highlight of the series and it has helped High Cheese build an advantage in five of the six pitching categories. High Cheese could get a boost at the back end of the bullpen as David Robertson is expected to get some save opportunities with the Yankees following Mariano Rivera's injury. HUMA will try to get back into this series with quality starting pitching. Jon Lester, Chad Billingsley, Henderson Alvarez, and Jordan Zimmerman all have starts remaining. Adam Wainwright, Gio Gonzalez, and Vance Worley will pitch for High Cheese.
I am a former journalist and sportswriter, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for investigative reporting. Today, my passion is helping baseball fans learn how to enjoy the game of fantasy baseball, which I've been playing since the early 1980s.