Fresh off my first defeat of the season, my team bounced back in fine fashion. Matched up against the sixteenth ranked team in the league, I handled them fairly easily and enjoyed a comfortable lead all week long.
My offense struggled for a second consecutive week and heading into the home stretch, that’s beginning to become worrisome. I lost four of the six categories winning only runs and RBI. Dan Uggla was a big reason why, scoring six times and driving in seven while hitting .391/.481 with a pair of homers. Denard Span (.316) was the only other player to crack the .300 mark while Ben Zobrist (.062) and Jorge Posada (.154) really contributed to my .214 average for the week. I lost stolen bases 2-to-1 with my one steal coming from the unlikeliest of players – Jorge Posada. It was actually his second steal of the year, and puts him one behind his career high of three.
My pitchers saved the week by sweeping all six pitching categories with relative ease. Adam Wainwright, Tim Hudson and Felix Hernandez combined for four quality starts, three wins and an ERA of zero. Hernandez and Wainwright each threw two-hit shutouts while Hudson went eight scoreless in his only start this week. Josh Johnson was bombed in his start, but after the season he’s had, one bad start is excusable, especially when the rest of my staff picked him up. David Aardsma had three saves in three perfect innings and Ryan Franklin picked up a pair of saves.
Nyjer Morgan hit the DL this week with a hip problem, so I had to scramble to find a replacement outfielder – not an enviable proposition when your offense has been slumping for several weeks now. I grabbed Chris Heisey from Cincinnati, but his everyday job was gone when the Reds traded for Jim Edmonds a day later. So I replaced him with Jarrod Saltalamacchia when Boston called him up so I’m back to carrying a caddy for days Posada gets off – which should be several in the August heat.
After a bad loss last week, an 8-4 win was a nice bounceback, even if it was against a bad team. The week pushed my record to 148-67-13 on the year and kept me in first place, although a half a game was shaved off my lead, cutting it down to 8.5 games with two weeks to play. Up next for me is Brandon’s Bombers who I beat 11-0 in the season’s first week. Brandon’s Bombers are 74-131-23 for the season and coming off a 11-1 loss this week. Hopefully my offense starts to heat up and my pitchers continue to bring the heat.
Eventually, every good run comes to an end. The Roman Empire, MASH and now my seventeen week unbeaten streak is over. Matched up against the number two team in the league for the third time this year, my team got out of the gate slow and couldn’t recover.
Not much to write home about offensively this week, as I was slaughtered in five categories and managed to stave off a sweep by swiping stolen bases. Dan Uggla and Gaby Sanchez were my only hitters to break .300 this week and Uggla combined with Nick Swisher to hit all four of my home runs. My team drove in seventeen runs during the week while Pedro Alvarez and Carlos Ruiz drove in sixteen for my opponent, who finished with 38.
Despite having just three two-start pitchers this week and my opponent having eight (!!!) I won quality starts (8-to-7) and strikeouts (62-to-48) and tied saves. I lost wins, ERA and WHIP, but going 2-3-1 when facing such a numbers disadvantage isn’t terrible. I got double quality starts out of Tim Hudson and Jake Westbrook, but Westbrook failed to record a win. Josh Johnson and Felix Hernandez were terrific once again but neither picked up a win. Story of my season.
Transactions-wise this week, I activated Scott Olsen and dumped him immediately for Braves rookie call-up Mike Minor. Olsen put up a stinker the day after I dropped him, so I dodged a bullet there. Also, as much as it pained me to do it, I dropped Brennan Boesch and picked up Milwaukee call-up Lorenzo Cain. Boesch absolutely carried me for about six weeks this summer and is a huge reason why my team is where it is. But he’s been brutal now for about a month and I had to cut ties.
Up next for me is Honkey Lips, who is 86-113-17 on the season and in 16th place overall. It’s a nice respite for me after a tough run in the schedule. My first losing week of 3-8-1 dropped my record to 140-63-13 and sawed five games off my lead, dropping it to nine with three weeks left.
My opponent this week was one I had some history with. Before the season started while I was shopping around for a hitter, we started some negotiations and she ended up being completely unrealistic with her proposals, wanting way more value back than she was giving up. I run across an owner like this every once and a while and it makes me want to beat the crap out of them when we play. And I had a pretty good go at it this week.
My offense, led by Dan Uggla this week was absolutely ridiculous. I hit eleven home runs, the most ever for me in one week, highlighted by five from Uggla and three from Swisher. With Brennan Boesch and Jose Guillen struggling, all eleven home runs came from my infielders. Imagine what my team could do with a passable outfield. Uggla, Swisher, Scott Rolen and Jeff Keppinger all put up on-base percentages over .400, with Uggla and Rolen clearing the .500 mark. That helped make up for the sub-.200 OBPs from Boesch, Guillen and Gaby Sanchez. I won five of six offensive categories, only losing RBI mostly due to the fact that of my eleven home runs, nine were of the solo variety. Can’t drive in guys that aren’t on base. Nyjer Morgan and Ben Zobrist each stole three bases, easily winning my that category. Zobrist only played three games this week due to some minor back stiffness, so hopefully he’s ready to go when the Rays start up again on Tuesday. His average has been down, but he still fills out the stat line.
I ran into a fairly hot pitching staff with Wandy Rodriguez and Dan Haren, but managed to take four of six categories due mostly in part to numbers. My opponent made only four starts with Stephen Strasburg hitting the DL, and I took advantage by winning strikeouts, quality starts and wins. My starters didn’t pitch badly, posting a 3.78 ERA and a 1.27 ERA, but it wasn’t enough this week. I picked up two saves which was plenty this week as my opponent had no closers on her roster. Josh Johnson and Adam Wainwright both had down weeks, posting ERAs over 5.00, but luckily they came during a week that I had mostly in the bag. I recorded six quality starts, but the only outing that particularly impressed was Tim Hudson’s 7.2 inning, one run performance early in the week. A lot of six inning, three runs jobs this week.
I’m going to hold off on the transactions for the week, because I made quite a few changes this week that I’ll detail in a post later this week. Overall this week I went 9-3-0 and improved my record to 137-55-12, still good for first place. The team behind me gained a game in the standings, and has a chance to do some real damage next week as we square off for the third matchup this season of the top 2 teams. The first one was all the way back during Week 2 and saw me come out on top and the second one was in Week 7 and also saw a victory for Morales in Wonderland. Hopefully I’ll do more of the same. I’m up against Murderer’s Row this week who’s name is more than fitting as they’re coming off a 10-2 week that pushed their record to 122-68-14.
This week will be known as the week where I ended my middle reliever experiment. My starters had a typical strong week, allowing nine runs in 47.1 innings for a 1.71 ERA. They won four games and posted five quality starts in seven chances. But my relievers posted ERAs of 40.50, 21.60, 6.00, 54.00 and 135.00 jumping my ERA to just a shade under five.
My offense wasn’t spectacular, but they had a good enough week to earn a 3-3 split, winning runs, stolen bases and on-base percentage and losing homers, RBI and average. Nick Swisher had a big week as he hit .357/.419 with a pair of home runs and six runs scored that earned him a spot on the AL all-star team. Ben Zobrist hit only .235 but finished the week with nine runs and five stolen bases thanks to a .519 on-base percentage. Nyjer Morgan continued hitting very little, but swiped two more bases and Jeff Keppinger posted a .389 average and knocked his second homer of the season.
Josh Johnson and Adam Wainwright both pitched eight scoreless innings earning wins and Felix Hernandez twirled sixteen innings over two starts and struck out fifteen, picking up a win and two quality starts. My starters had a typical strong week, allowing nine runs in 47.1 innings for a 1.71 ERA. They won four games and posted five quality starts in seven chances. But my relievers posted ERAs of 40.50, 21.60, 6.00, 54.00 and 135.00 jumping my ERA to just a shade under five. Brandon League and Tyler Clippard imploded, and Ryan Franklin and Neftali Feliz has awful weeks as well. Despite all these horrific performances, I only lost ERA and WHIP. I won wins, strikeouts and quality starts and tied in saves, giving me a 3-2-1 week in the pitching department.
Because of their epic meltdowns this week, I decided that hoarding middle relief pitchers would end up being more detrimental than it would beneficial and made a bunch of moves. I dropped Tyler Clippard and Brandon League and replaced them with starters Jake Westbrook and Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson is throwing well for Tampa Bay’s Triple-A team and I’m stashing him with hopes that he’ll eventually be promoted and turn in a few nice performances down the stretch. If not, he’s an easy cut when Scott Olsen returns from the DL.
I also made another trade this week, sending Matt Garza to the team I was playing this week for Florida 2B Dan Uggla. I figured with Westbrook on my team and Olsen close to returning, I could move a SP for some offensive help. Uggla is a decent return for a guy who’s been my worst starter this year, even if I sold low on Garza. I was prepared to offer Jamie Garcia or perhaps even Tim Hudson for Uggla, but he had Brandon Phillips entrenched as his second baseman and parted with Uggla for just Garza.
The 6-5-1 week moved my record to 112-46-10 and kept my in first place, but also allowed the league to gain on me, as my lead was cut from 10 games to eight. Up next for me is another hot team, The Process, who is in third place overall with a 94-57-17 record and is coming off a 6-4-2 win last week