Okay, yeah, we’ll get back to the Braves and their playoff-run-to-come shortly. This will be a combination rant/whine. Here’s the summary: I hate Huston Street right now.
Not even that – more like 2 outs plus 1 strike. That’s what separated me from total victory and league domination yesterday afternoon.
I was thisclose to winning my head-to-head fantasy league yesterday. And I was upended by a tired pitcher who obviously had nothing to offer but meatballs in the last game of the year: Padres-Giants.
Granted, it should not have even ever come down to this… but the last week of the baseball season has even less to do with “normal” than does… well, even the first week. Regulars are rested. Teams with nothing to play for will experiment with call-ups. Pitchers aren’t terribly interested in throwing out their best stuff (oh so much do I wish I’d picked up Henderson Alvarez to use – but who in their right mind would have started him vs. Detroit???). Injured players rest.
The semi-finals matchup I had was epic. I won it 8-2, but that score doesn’t do it justice. That should have been the finals. In that one, I faced a worthy opponent, and it seems more like I won 8 coin flips – everything was close. He had Mike Trout – I had Miggy. It was a great battle.
The one this week just stunk. And it was mostly because the league went one week too long.
After a slow start this year – spent the first month or two battling around the .500 mark, my team suddenly exploded. I won thirteen weeks in a row. Okay, yeah – I did have the #1 draft position. But I actually took a bit of ridicule for using that spot to select Miguel Cabrera to anchor this team. There were multiple opinions that I should have taken Ryan Braun. Guess we know that was a good call. I picked up Jayson Werth around mid-year – as a free agent, believe it or not. Once he got hot, I was unstoppable. Pitching was good, too: lots of strikeouts, enough of everything else to over come Fernando Rodney‘s frequent meltdowns.
13 weeks. It was awesome.
I was undone this week by two things: the calendar (that “last week of the year” syndrome), and total dumb luck. The opposing manager wasn’t even playing… obviously had lost interest some time ago. How do I know this? He still had Tim Hudson active and Zack Greinke on the DL. Yet he still had just enough pitching this particular week (Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, and Eric Stults – Eric Freaking Stults, for cryin’ out loud!!) to cobble together 3 pitching wins, which was enough to beat me. Stults had two of those victories this week!!
Yes, 3 wins was enough to beat me. Barely.
I saw this coming…. from a mile away. But even I couldn’t fathom that my own pitching performances would be so … so horribly bad this week.
- Scott Feldman. 3.85 ERA for the year. This week? Try 30.86… with a 3.86 WHIP. That’s hard to do.
- Chris Archer. 3.22 ERA for the year… but 6.75 this week – and quick-hooked by Madden while the Rays were trying to implode.
- Chris Sale. My ace. My “go-to” guy. Also a 6.75 this week.
- Gerrit Cole. This was a wholly different problem: I added him after his Tuesday victory, figuring that the Pirates would use him again on Sunday in a meaningful game. So how on earth do you figure the Reds would lay down and get themselves swept in their own ballpark during a playoff run??? Cole, therefore, never threw a pitch for me.
- I lost at least one more win due to a guy not finishing the 5th inning. It was definitely one of those weeks.
- Jose Quintana: 5.14 for the week. Charlie Morton: 6.23. Dillon Gee: 6.00. None of those guys generated a win for me!
Even with all of that, it still came down to Sunday. And the last game. Padres – Giants.
My league allowed a fairly ridiculous 10 player transactions per week. I will unashamedly declare that I abused that privilege this week. Once I saw what could (and did) happen, I started spamming pitchers like crazy in the hope of garnering at least one victory… and hopefully 3 or 4. After Wednesday, every thrower on the roster was fair game to be dumped and replaced. I made nine such moves. Eight starters went for me on Saturday and Sunday. I missed one… but that wasn’t my fault: Joe Kelly wasn’t supposed to pitch very much yesterday… but he stayed … and stayed… and actually got the win… while sitting on my bench. I suppose I can rationalize that I didn’t have an available slot for him anyway.
Oh yeah – Padres/Giants.
I had already gotten a W out of Scott Kazmir on Saturday. But I could see that I needed something else… and was running out of options.
I chose Tyson Ross.
Ross finished up with an excellent 3.17 ERA, despite a 3-8 record… hey, he’s a Padre… after earning a rotation slot in early August. He never allowed more than four earned runs – oops, except for 6 vs. Philly on September 12th. But he’d been really good lately. Of course, that also means I’d be counting on the Padre offense to be something better than normal.
It was a tight game early. But when Jedd Gyorko broke open a 2-2 contest in the top of the fifth with a grand slam, I thought I might actually have this one won. A Ross victory would give me a 3rd pitching win – and an overall 5-5 tie for the week. Because of my prior League Domination, I would win the tie-breaker, and therefore the league crown.
The bottom of the fifth came and went. Ross allowed another run, but he finished the inning with a 6-3 lead. He had qualified for the W.
Tim Stauffer was the beginning of my downfall. He started the seventh for San Diego and promptly gave up 2 earned… now the nail-biting began. 6-5. Luke Gregerson pitched a perfect eighth, though, and hopes began rising again.
In the top of the ninth, Will Venable – who I’d used occasionally this year – tripled in a pinch-hit appearance for Gregerson. Unfortunately, the Friars stranded him at third base. I need three more outs for victory.
Enter Huston Street.
I started the year with Street on both my fantasy teams. He was a solid late-round pickup for saves. He was also excellent trade bait. And he did have 33 saves, and a 2.70 ERA.
Yesterday, he had nothing.
First batter. 1 ball, 2 strikes. Francisco Peguero. 422 feet. First ever major league home run. Yes, it was THAT kind of last-week nonsense that did me in yesterday!! That blown save – from a guy not even on my roster… giving up a homer to a minor league call-up guy… his second hit ever… to raise his average to .207.
Yeah, he then went on to also blow the game. Single, wild pitch, walk, passed ball, intentional walk, single. He got nobody out. Whatever. I didn’t even care after the homer.
So I lost in the H2H finals to a guy who hadn’t bothered to even participate for the past 2 months. At least. Thanks to the failure of somebody I wasn’t even using. But do I really blame Street for all of this? Of course not. Even though it is the modern American tendency to blame somebody else for your troubles. Besides, clearly, I had an entire pitching staff of problems this week. And he wasn’t even supposed to be one of them… he was just the last one.
I do have some ideas about what I wanna do next year, though.