After the Break, Some Fly, Others Flop

by Moonlight Graham

Moonlight regular, Joe Mreczko, posed a question about pitchers that might be able to help his Fantasy Baseball team over the second half of the season.  It’s actually a two-sided question, as any Fantasy Baseball owner should be just as worried about the hurlers to avoid as the ones to target.  So, in order to help Joe work his way past all of the Phillie cheese steaks in his league, here’s a special, Moonlight, second half preview from sixty feet six inches.

Grab Bag

Any list of post All Star Break Studs has to begin with Johan Santana as the Mets’ ace is 64-19 over his career in the second half.  Don’t be fooled by his mundane 8-5 record, either. He’s suffered eight no decisions in which he’s allowed just nine runs.  Use his struggles to your advantage by grabbing him from J-Roller frustrated to this point.

Detroit’s Max Scherzer must have been given a magic elixir upon being sent to the minors a little more than a month ago as he suddenly discovered the velocity that had been missing through the early part of the season.  Since his return, Scherzer is 4-3 while averaging 7 K per start.  His numbers still appear unimpressive because of the slow start so, he may come cheap.

Javier Vasquez has spent half a season seeking the approval of ignorant Yankee fans convinced he didn’t belong in the rotation.  He’s the #2 starter now, (as predicted here in February), but may still be undervalued.  Go out and grab him. Continue reading »

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.

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