Search Results : Brad Lidge

Closers Continue to Cause Angst for Fantasy Owners

by Eddie Mayrose

Last August, I wrote a column that was, essentially, a letter to my 2012 Draft-Day self, beseeching caution on a number of fronts where, in the past, a blind eye had served to bite me in the butt during the season.

Luckily, I included that column as part of my Draft Prep last month and skirted the biggest pitfall- Closers.  Highlighting the line: “No matter how often we hear that Saves are Fantasy Baseball’s most unreliable statistic, it’s difficult to pass on established closers” , I remained patient and didn’t reach early.  That pearl of wisdom, seemingly obvious, was unfortunately ignored by many once the first two or three relievers came off the board.

Think about it.  The “Closer Run” is the first in any draft, as some Fantasy Owners scurry like frightened deer to grab recognizable names three and four rounds earlier than their statistics/opportunity/reliability dictate.  And, every year, many of these guys spend April bemoaning the fact that their selections have gotten out of the gate slowly, or, worse, performed poorly enough to lose the job.

The first two weeks of the 2012 campaign have followed the annual script, with as many as ten teams uncertain about the role or being forced to show patience with their struggling stoppers. While this ambiguity may be a headache for the likes of Bobby Valentine, it’s an opportunity for Fantasy Owners to add 20+ Saves to the statistics through judicious use of the waiver wire. Here’s a quick, Moonlight synopsis of how some of these situations might play out. Continue reading »

by Eddie Mayrose

Perhaps nothing in Fantasy Baseball is more uncertain than relief pitching.  Each year, there are closers coming off big seasons that lose their jobs, others whose names you’ve never heard who register 30 saves off of the waiver wire and those tragic few that spend more time on the disabled list than the mound.  Mix in the many different strategies regarding when they should be drafted and the value of set-up man and it’s easy to see why the bullpen causes so much stress to Fantasy Owners.

So, how to evaluate this fickle group; the only one in Roto Baseball that has a category all to themselves.  One, adapted by a few leagues, is to eliminate Saves as a category.  For the rest of us, a reliable system for evaluating closers is as elusive as it is necessary.

Because Saves, like Wins, are dependent on so many factors, they are relatively incidental.  The peripheral stats are also less of a concern, as the WHIP and ERA of a relief pitcher will not overly impact your team’s totals because of the low number of innings thrown.  It comes down, then, to two vital criteria: youth and strikeouts. Continue reading »

I’m wondering if Alex Rodriguez is now considered a “true Yankee” by the Bombers’ Jeter-worshiping fan base whose fieldwithballmoonjudgment seems to be based solely on post-season success.  My question to them, using the same barometer: Given his lack of playoff participation, is Don Mattingly a true Yankee?… Joe Torre may have four World Series titles and fourteen straight playoff appearances but his decision to start Hiroki Kuroda in Game 3 of the NLCS is the single, biggest reason the Dodgers are playing golf this weekend…Wanted to give credit to umpire Jerry Davis for refusing to give Angels’ shortstop, Erick Aybar, the old “neighborhood call when he failed to touch second base while turning a double play in Game 2.  Wanted to point out that the logic of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver that he should have called him out was ridiculous, if only because Davis would have been skewered when replay showed the miss.  Wanted to, that is, until Tim McClelland blew up at third base in Game 4.  Ironically, McClelland is thought by many, including old Moonlight, to be the best in the game.  His positioning on both blown calls, however, would have gotten him a scolding at a High School umpires clinic.  Unfortunately, the blown calls throughout these playoffs has refueled the ridiculous notion that replay should be used in baseball.  Here’s a better solution.  Let’s have actual umpires handle the training, evaluation and assigning of MLB’s men in blue and make sure that current umps submit for retraining each off season… I don’t care how cold it gets, those hats with the ear flaps have got to go… Throw out all of the stats.  The most glaring evidence of the Yankees’ dominance to this point is that both the Twins and the Angels, two of baseball’s most fundamentally sound teams in the game, suddenly started making mistakes you wouldn’t expect from Little Leaguers once the pinstripes showed up in the other dugout…Have to give credit to Phils’ GM Ruben Amaro.  Even though his team was desperate for starting pitching at the trade deadline, he refused to overpay for Toronto’s Roy Halladay, turning instead to Cleveland and Cliff Lee.  Is there anyone in baseball who’d trade Lee for Halladay straight-up right now?… Say what you will about Joe Girardi’s overmanaging in Game 3 but you can’t deny he followed the same, safe, course most managers choose in today’s game.  It seems that many would rather have a reason for failure than risk trusting their instincts. While it’s true that Alfredo Alceves may have been the better matchup on paper, Girardi’s eyes just saw Dave Robertson mow down two Angels without breaking a sweat.  How about managing to your own players’ strengths rather than the other guys?…Get used to these young Dodgers; Loney, Ethier and Kemp.  They’ll be the core of a perennial contender for a long time… I know that TBS must be very proud of its expensive toys but I really don’t need a silly box to tell me that the low, inside pitch I just saw was, in fact, low and inside.  Same goes for FOX and the graphic that tells me “NYY lead 3-2″.  Even in the unlikely scenario that I didn’t know that before tuning in, I’d remember after someone mentioned it… No surprise that Mariano Rivera is one of just two closers that haven’t blown a save this post season but who’d have guessed Brad Lidge would be the other?… Gotta love C.C. Sabathia taking the mound on three days rest in Game 4.  His “I’m the ace, gimme the ball”, mentality is a refreshing change.  Somewhere, Sandy Koufax was smiling…  Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel, who had current Dodger Jim Thome in both Cleveland and Philadelphia, signaled to his former player that, “This is the guy we want”, just before Jimmy Rollins doubled to win Game 4.  Nice call, skip… Most relieved man in the world Thursday was Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia.  After pulling John Lackey despite Lackey’s strong objections and watching his bullpen throw batting practice, Scioscia was spared a very uncomfortable press conference by the Angel bats… Was anyone really surprised that Manny Ramirez was in the shower when the Phils came back to beat the Dodgers in Game 4?

With the season wrapped up, it’s time to turn our attention to the business of the post season.  We’ll get back to our off fieldwithballmoonseason Fantasy baseball advice in a week or two but, for now, we’ll preview the Major League Baseball playoffs and how we see ‘em.
First, it’s important to point out that, while there’s still alot of baseball to be played, Moonlight’s pre-season prediction of a Twins-Phillies World Series is still alive.  I’m about to pick against it but, I wanted to point that out.  On to the picks.

National League Playoffs

Phillies vs. Rockies-  The Rockies have been the NL’s best team since Jim Tracy took over and almost came all the way back to take the NL West.  There are problems in the rotation, however, as Jason Marquis has been relegated to the bull pen off of his poor second half performance and Jorge de la Rosa is iffy after leaving his last start.  No such problems exist in Philly, as their rotation goes five deep.  It’s the bullpen where the defending champs are uncertain, with Brad Lidge sporting a 7+ ERA and Ryan Madson failing to take hold of the job.  Does Charlie Manuel have the stuff to go with Brett Myers in a playoff series?  Stay tuned.  Phillies in 5.

Dodgers vs. Cardinals- The trading deadline acquisition of Matt Holliday solidified the St. Louis lineup and allowed them to coast in the NL Central.  They have the best pitching in the game behind Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter while the Dodgers rotation has been inconsistent through much of the second half; especially Chad Billingsley.  Look for the Cards’ hurlers to stifle Manny’s bat.  Cards in 4.

American League Playoffs

Yankees vs. Twins- It was a long, uphill climb for the Twinkies as they made up seven games in four weeks without former MVP Justin Morneau.  That climb may have taken too much out of them, however, to mount any kind of challenge vs. MLB’s best team.  The Bombers will feast on the Twins’ young hurlers and dominate Minnesota in the playoffs the same way they did while going 7-0 during the regular season.  Yankees in 4.

Angels vs. Red Sox-  Yes, I’m well aware that the Red Sox seem to have the Angels’ number over the last few years; back to 1986 to be more precise, actually.  But I love the way the Angels play, love their resiliency and determination and think Vladimir Guerrero is going to have a big October.  For the Sawx, Beckett has struggled for over a month and Jon Lester’s health is a question.  Angels in 3.

by Moonlight Graham

Just Three Weeks Left in the Fantasy Baseball Season

With just three weeks left in the season, things are getting pretty tight in the Hausier’s Krowedum Rotisserie Leaguefieldwithballmoon where Chris Aucone’s R Farters remain atop the standings. The Farters have led the pack since early June and have only recently been challenged by Bobby Carr’s Master Batters and Lou Carducci’s Mean Street Posse. However, neither has been able to get within three points of the leader and may not be able to as they battle each other in several categories. Mindful of how last season’s title was, literally, decided on the season’s final pitch, all three have been active on the transaction wire; hoping to grab that one rookie with a hot bat or a flamethrower with one three hit shutout up his sleeve. Rest assured, they’ll be perusing the following lists looking for any help they can get. You should too.


We’ve loved Nick Swisher all year and there’s no reason to get off the Yankee OF’s bandwagon now. He’s been on fire in September and, despite hitting in the lower part of the order, will always have RBI opportunities in that lineup… Despite mediocre Won-Loss records, Javier Vasquez and Jair Jurrjens have been Fantasy Baseball studs in Atlanta. Don’t let the poor offensive support and bad bullpens of the Braves force them out of your lineup… Jake Fox will likely get most of the AB vacated by Alfonso Soriano when the slumping Cub’s OF finally decides to have surgery. Fox has become the Cubs’ best power bat of late… Funny how the Cubs continue to struggle while having so many on this list. Carlos Marmol, after finally getting the closer’s job, has 10 S… Ted Lilly, despite a month on the DL, is the Cubs’ leading winner and has turned in four straight gems since he returned… Rockies’ OF Seth Smith has 4 HR and 10 RBI in September…


ChiSox C A.J. Pierzinski will start to lose AB to prospect Tyler Flowers as soon as Chicago decides it’s out of the divisional picture. Memo to Ozzie Guillen: That time is now… The White Sox have also started to sit OF Alex Rios, who’s been a major disappointment since coming over from Toronto… Detroit’s Fernando Rodney will serve a three game suspension for throwing a ball into the stands… At some point, Alfonso Soriano will get his balky knee scoped. Don’t allow him to think about it on your roster… Don’t go crazy over Mat Gamel’s return to Milwaukee as he won’t just be handed the 3B job. Casey McGehee has been hitting the ball well and manager Ken Macha plans to stay with him… Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo will have his next turn skipped as the Brew Crew tries to limit his IP. Yeesh… Ever hear of a closer with an ERA over 7.00? Hard to believe Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel won’t start looking somewhere other than Brad Lidge as the playoffs draw near. He’s been abysmal… And what Stalling list would be complete without a nod to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who this week set a North American professional sports record with their 17th consecutive losing season.

Sick Bay

Rockies’ SS Troy Tulowitzki was pulled from the lineup earlier this week with back spasms… Corey Hart returned to the Brewers’ lineup after missing a month because of an appendectomy… Tim Lincecum was scratched from his last start with spasms on his lower left side.

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