Sunday, July 15, 2007

The problematic WINS category!

If you've played fantasy baseball for any length of time, you've probably discovered that there is one category that is more frustrating than any other: WINS. For those of you who don't know much about the game, basically your team of players that you picked in the March or April draft put up statistics for your team (usually) in 10 categories. The most popular settings for hitting are RUNS, HOME RUNS, RBI's, STOLEN BASES and BATTING AVERAGE... for pitching, the categories are usually are WINS, E.R.A., WHIP (Walks+Hits per Inning Pitched), SAVES and STRIKEOUTS...

Now since I pride myself in doing my research and drafting a great team on draft day, I usually have competitive teams in just about every league... my one deficiency tends to usually be speed - I never seem to draft enough of it, or if I do the guys I do draft either end up getting off to slow starts (see Julio Lugo) or injured (Dave Roberts)... While a deficiency in steals can set your team back a little, there is nothing more frustrating than watching what seemed to be a sure win for one of your pitchers suddenly go away... Yesterday I had that happen not once, but TWICE in games I was watching yesterday!!!

I have Derek Lowe of the Los Angeles Dodgers on several of my teams including one of my CBS Sportsline teams... the Dodgers made two errors early, but "D-Lowe" was good enough to get out of each of the resultant jams. For the second day in a row, the Dodgers erupted for a six run inning against the San Francisco Giants. Jeff Kent's three run homer led the fifth inning attack as the Blue Crew took a 6-0 lead. Shortstop Rafael Furcal would commit the Dodgers' third error in the bottom of the frame. The Giants would string together three hits and would add two runs to draw to within 6-2. Lowe would hold the Giants in check in the 6th inning and with that his day was done. The line: eight hits, one earned run, two walks and six strikeouts. The Dodgers added a run in the top of the 7th to take a 7-2 lead and it appeared Lowe's 9th victory of the year was all but assured. Randy Winn though would hit a grand slam homer after fouling a ball hard off his foot in the bottom of the eighth inning to make it a one run game. The foot hurt so bad that he had to leave the game immediately after hitting the homer. In the bottom of the 9th, Barry Bonds led off the inning with a walk off of Dodger closer Takeshi Saito for the Giants and then moved to second on a Ryan Klesko ground out. Bengie Molina then flew out and Saito was one out away from saving Lowe's win for me... and then Pedro Feliz singled to tie the game at 7! Argh! For Saito, it was only his third blown save of the year. The Dodgers would go on to score a run in the top of the 12th to win the game 8-7... but for D-Lowe and me, the damage had been done...

Now, while I was watching the Dodgers/Giants game, I also was flipping to the Chicago White Sox game in Baltimore against the Orioles... I'll just give a brief recap of this one. Javier Vazquez is on several of my fantasy teams as well - 2 of my CBS Sportsline ones. "Vaz" is given a 5-1 lead in the top of the third inning, which he protects until the bottom of the sixth - a solo homer by Kevin Millar and two run shot by Jay Payton make it a one run game. Vazquez gets pulled after that, but the White Sox pen does it's job, shutting down the Orioles for the next 2+ innings. Alex Cintron added an insurance run for the White Sox in the top of the 8th, so closer Bobby Jenks had a two run lead to work with when he entered with two outs in the bottom of the 8th. Jenks closed out the 8th inning and then got two outs while allowing a run to make it 6-5. Then, the unthinkable happened - Jenks threw a WILD PITCH to score the tying run!!! And once again my win was gone... the White Sox would go on to lose the game 7-6 in 10 innings. For Vazquez and me, it was just another frustrating day at the office!!!


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