Congratulations to Jake of WHATS A SABRE, who triumphed over Tied for First 1154-967. The series was particularly close during the first week, but as the weekend arrived the SABREs took a sizable lead and never really looked back. Tied for First ran into some bad luck--poor showings by Kevin Slowey and especially Francisco Liriano chief among them. But the SABREs got key performances from their two big rotation cogs--Verlander and Lincecum--as well as some tremendously surprising performances from Mark Ellis (105 pts), Mike Aviles (105 pts), and Drew Stubbs (99 pts) to carry them comfortably to the championship.
The SABREs were an interesting team this year. They were among the best pitching squads in the league, but their offense never really came together until about the time the playoffs started this year. Hot streaks by hitters combined with solid pitching at the top and effective use of streamed two-start starters at the bottom of the rotation ultimately were the keys to his playoff success.
In the consolation matches:
* Blocking Janish handily defeated a miserable showing by The Grues to secure third place in the league, 999-827. The Grues scored just 324 points the first week, which was their worst showing of the year. A 500-point week two was, by far, too little, too late.
* Zach Sanders defeated the Marxists 1030-831, the largest margin among all teams. Sanders secured 5th place with this showing.
* Jeff Zimmerman defeated EyeOnTheMendozaLine 1005-855 to secure 7th place.
Congratulations once again to all of the playoff teams. And thanks to everyone who participated in the league this year: it was a blast. Next year should even better. And there's lots to do in the offseason, so stay tuned!
The semifinals are over, and what a week it was! Let's get right into it.
WHATS A SABRE defeated Blocking Janish 529-450
The SABREs have been active on the waiver wire this playoff season, and it helped them secure a late-season win over the best team in the league, Blocking Janish last week. The SABREs picked up three two-start pitchers for the series, and they accumulated a total of 84 points. Dillion Gee had the best week of the trio, accumulating 56 points over 13 innings, while Andrew Miller turned in -16 pts in just over 6 innings. In the end, though, while this group helped, they probably weren't the reason the SABREs won. They mounted a strong offensive attack--particularly on the last day of the series--scoring 283 points on hitting. Combined with their 246 points from pitching, it was more than enough to put them over the hump.
For their part, Blocking Janish struggled. They received a fabulous two-start performance from Jon Lester (86 pts), but aside from a decent start by Roy Halladay (35 pts) their pitching really didn't put anything together--losing Johan Santana to injury and Brandon Morrow to ... caution, I guess ... really weakened this pitching staff. On offense, several players had fine weeks, but uber-masher Miguel Cabrera posted -3 points.
Blocking Janish absolutely dominated the league this year, so I'm sad to see them bid farewell prior to the final game. That said, this sort of thing happens in baseball: remember the 2001 Seattle Mariners?
Tied for First defeated The Grues 543-492
Going into the final day of the series, Tied for First had a 20ish point lead on The Grues, but had only one starter left to the Grues pair of starts. When Francisco Liriano laid an egg for TFF (13 pts, 5 IP), things were looking pretty good for the Grues...until Tied for First's offense took over. They rampaged their way to 71 points on that last day, while the Grues mustered only 8 points to go with a superb final start from Brett Myers (7 IP, 42 pts). It just wasn't enough.
The Grues had an up and down season. They lost their first four weeks, and it took a 7-week winning streak to get them out of the basement and back into contention. It really was a team that just never came together. Mauer, the #1 pick has been just "ok" all season. Justin Morneau, acquired in return for Brian McCann following the draft, had a great first half but then suffered a "mild concussion" and missed the rest of the season. The "dual aces" of Dan Haren and Josh Beckett had off years... Given all of that, I'm glad to have made it this far!
Preview of the Championship Series
WHATS A SABRE (14-8-0) vs. Tied for First (13-8-1)
We have a two-week finale, and it looks to be a good one. Tied for First, a team that has been just shy of the lead almost all season has finally risen to the top. Similarly, WHATS A SABRE, a team who led their division almost the entire season before losing their title, has won a reprieve and look take it all. They look evenly matched. The SABREs have the better record, but only because Tied for First was (appropriately) involved in the only tie of the season. Tied for First accumulated more points during the regular season, but the total separation was only 159 points.
WHATS A SABRE is a pitching-oriented team. They posted the second-highest pitching totals in the league, but their offense was below-average. Tied for First was more balanced: 5th best pitching, but also the 7th best hitting. Early returns have the SABREs up 96-29 with lots of baseball yet to play, but Tied for First has three starters going tomorrow. It should be exciting!
It was a wild first week of the playoffs, and not one that was good for division winners: only one of the top four seeds survived into the second round! And the one that did won by the narrowest margin of the four matchups. Let's go division by division:
Blocking Janish defeated the Marxists 493-425
Surprisingly, for the offense-oriented Marxists, their pitching actually held its own against Blocking Janish's last week, only falling short by just 19 points. It was their hitting that sputtered. Janish, which feature a plus offense in their own right, outhit the Marxists last week by nearly 50 points, led by an outstanding performances from Shane Victorino (12/29, 1 HR, 5 SB, 5 BB, 80 pts) and a solid showing from Miguel Cabrera (40 pts). It wasn't a dominant performance by Janish, but they continue into the next round still ranked the top seeded team.
The Grues defeated Zach Sanders 575-404
Despite Sanders taking both regular season series, the division rival Grues pulled out an upset win. It turned out to not be very close. The teams were matched with three two-start starters, but Sanders' squad--aside from the dependable Adam Wainwright who provided a 40-point start--turned in fairly mediocre performances while the Grues generally shined. Leading the way were a pair of starts by Dan Haren and Madison Bumgarner, who both netted over 70 points on the week. Offensively, neither team hit for much, though the Grues edged Sanders on that front as well by 26 points.
Tied for First defeated EyeOntheMendoza Line 612-454
Tied for First has run into some tough luck this year, but last week they defeated the Mendozas in decisive fashion. This was also something of an upset--the Mendozas led TFF in both winning percentage and total points. But last week, they just couldn't keep up. Tied for First had a HUGE offensive week, scoring 353 points on the backs of three players who hit for more than 60 points: Raul Ibanez (81 pts), Ben Zobrist (74 pts), and Colby "Probably more important to the Cardinals than LaRussa" Rasmus (61 pts). The pitching was no slouch either, scoring 260 points thanks to two-start weeks by Mad Max Scherzer (80 pts) and Ubaldo Jimenez (71 pts). It was the most impressive showing of the week.
WHATS A SABRE defeated Jeff Zimmerman 559-361
I billed this match-up as pitching vs. offense. And that's essentially what it was: Zimmerman won more points on offense, while the SABREs earned more points on pitching. Unfortunately for Jeff's team, his pitching absolutely imploded last week. Both Jon Garland and Jordan Zimmerman posted negative-point starts, and two-start starter Chris Volstad accumulated a grand total of 7 points. The best start of them all was Colby Lewis's 6.1 IP, 29-point game against Toronto. At the same time, the SABREs got outstanding pitching (Justin Verlander [105 pts!] and Tim Lincecum [92 pts!] each accumulated more points than Zimmerman's entire pitching staff!), and had a pretty solid hitting performance as well with 253 total points.
This week, in the winner bracket, co-northern division wild card teams Tied for First and The Grues battle it out for a spot in the finals. At the same time, Blocking Janish takes their #1 seed against the #2 pitching team in the league, WHATS A SABRE. Stay tuned to see who makes the finals!
The regular season has come and gone, and we're now entering the inaugural Renegade Reporter postseason!
Before we preview this weeks' series, let's recap what happened last week. The biggest news was that a win by EyeOnTheMendozaLine and a loss by WHATS A SABRE (by just 15 points!) resulted in a last minute tie in the Southern Division. And, due to the total points advantage of the Mendozas, who finished the season with the second-highest point total in the league, BLee's squad is the surprise winner of the Southern Division! Condolences go out to WHATS A SABRE, who had headlined that division since the 6th week of the season.
If there's any consolation to losing the division title, however, it's that the SABRE's might have drawn an easier matchup as a wild card than the Mendozas get as the 3-seed--at least based on total points. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...
Preview of the Quarterfinals
#1 Blocking Janish vs. #8 Marxists
The Marxists held on to the 8th seed with a decisive victory over the Sabremorticians last week, but their prize is a first-round matchup with the best team in the league, Blocking Janish. Kris's squad won two more series than any other team, and ultimately held more than a 600-point lead over the second-best team in total points. They easily had the best pitching in the league (a team 3.28 FIP!!), and feature three of the top 13 pitchers by total points (Halladay, Santana, and Lester). But on top of that, they ended up 4th in hitting points as well, thanks to a combined attack by Miguel Cabrera (top overall point-getter this season) and Carlos Gonzalez. The Marxists, for their part, were the second-best hitting team in the league, though their pitching lagged well behind Janish's this season. You can see a scenario in which an upset could occur here...but you have to give the edge to Janish, especially with a substantial early lead.
#2 Zach Sanders vs. #7 The Grues
Sanders' squad has been excellent all season long, and has never been anything less than tied for first place in the very competitive Northern Division. His team has a balanced attack, with the 5th-ranked offense as well as the #6 pitching staff by overall points. This week he matches up with my squad for the third time this season. While the Grues have a very slight edge in overall points this season, Sanders squad has won (handily) each of the prior two encounters. The Grues are more of a pitching team: they rank 3rd in pitching points, but are middle of the pack in hitting...and are lacking a number of their top hitters due to injuries (Justin Morneau, Magglio Ordonez and even Carlos Guillen). The teams are matched in terms of their number of starts, though the Grues got off to a good start yesterday and have the early lead in this series.
#3 EyeOnTheMendozaLine vs. #6 Tied For First
The Mendozas won their division fair and square this year on the strength of excellent pitching and above-average offense. This week, they match up against a formidable opponent in Tied for First. TFF was involved in the only tied series this season, and the result is that they are 13-8-1 compared to the Mendozas 14-8 record. But they only trail the Mendozas by 220 points on the season, amazingly ranking just behind the Menzodas in both offense and pitching. This is a series that could easily go either way. Not to disappoint, as I write this, it is the only playoff series in which both teams have already cleared 100 points.
#4 Jeff Zimmerman vs. #5 WHATS A SABRE
This match-up is hitting vs. pitching, plain and simple. Zimmerman's squad posted the highest hitting points total in the league, but their pitching was 5th from the bottom. The SABREs, on the other hand, had the second best pitching in the league behind Janish, but their offense was 12th in the league. I love this: there's more than one way to build a winning team in this league, and these two teams are extreme on either side. The expectation, I think, is that Zimmerman's squad should post a more consistent point total as a hitting-oriented squad. The SABREs, on the other hand, can fluctutate from very good to very bad, depending on the what the week brings his pitchers. So far, early returns are good for the SABREs.
Good luck to all of the playoff teams. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out. Next week will include the semi-finals, as well as the first consolation round for those playoff teams who lose this first week.
I woke up this morning to see that there is now just one playoff slot remaining. EyeOnTheMendozaLine and The Grues clinched overnight. Here are our playoff teams, along with their opponents as things currently stand (these teams will still be there, though the seeds may still change):
#1 Blocking Janish vs. #8 TBD
#2 Zach Sanders vs. #7 The Grues*
#3 WHATS A SABRE vs. #6 EyeOnTheMendozaLine
#4 Jeff Zimmerman vs. #5 Tied For First
Congratulations to all of these managers. TBD is currently led by the Marxists, but if they lose two other teams could claim the slot: The Infield Flies and I always get to 3rd.
* For the record, I have no idea how the Grues can have clinched a playoff slot. While the rules don't state this, I think tiebreakers are determined by total points; this change seemed to happen when they updated the league standings to show total points. If the Grues have an awful week and lose, they could still (theoretically) be tied or worse in record and have lower points than all three of Ialwaysgetto3rd, the Marxists, and the Infield Flies. Maybe I'm not understanding something here, but I think this is right...??
The Marxists draw the Sabremorticians this week. After a decent start, the SaberMorts have had a tough go of it, losing eight in a row. This week, however, both teams have just one two-start pitcher apiece, so it is anyone's game.
The Infield Flies face off against the Bake McBridegrooms this week. While abandoned since the day of the draft, the Bakes have put together a decent second half, winning four straight prior to last week's loss. Easily the league leader in saves, they aren't a pushover. This week, they have three two-start pitchers to the Flies' one, although this is negated to some degree by the fact that two of their other active players are on the DL.
Finally, I always get to 3rd has perhaps the toughest assignment. They match up against division-leading Jeff Zimmerman, who is still looking to gain in his playoff seed against WHATS A SABRE. Zimmerman's squad has had the best offense in the league this year, but his pitching is in the lower third. I always get to 3rd are a more balanced team, and have actually outscored Zimmerman on the year...but it's the wins that count. I always get to 3rd has the advantage in two-start starters, but again, he's up against a heck of an offense.
Good luck to all of these managers! Looking forward to the inaugural playoffs, which begin next week!!
Also, sorry for the lack of a recap last week. The first week of classes, plus no child care one of my kids basically has me behind on everything. Couldn't get to it until Saturday, and at that point there was no point. :)
We're officially entering the stretch run now, entering the first of three rematch matchups. It's time to settle some scores! But first, let's look at what happened last week:
Recap of key matchups
WHATS A SABRE defeated Zach Sanders 575-473
Last week was a big week for WHATS A SABRE. With the win, they pulled into a two-game lead in the southern division. At this point in the season, that means that they are guaranteed to at least tie for the division lead as long as they win just one of the three remaining series. While the SABREs technically led the week's series in both hitting and pitching, this series in my mind comes down to one player: Mike Stanton. The top Marlins prospect had an unbelievable week last week, going 14/24 with 5 doubles, 4 home runs, and 3 walks. That equals 120 points, folks. That's insane.
The Grues defeated I always get to 3rd 610-390
A strong offensive attack led by Joe Mauer and five two-start pitchers combined for a strong week by my team. Really, this was just one of those weeks when all the stars aligned for my guys, whereas I always get to 3rd's squad just couldn't seem to get much together. The consequences are interesting. My team is suddenly in the mix for second place in the Northern division despite sitting in the cellar for most of the season. I always get to 3rd, on the other hand, falls back from WHATS A SABRE and will need a very strong final showing to win the division--though they still are ranked for a wild card slot as things stand today.
New York Jazzers: 614 points
Lots of strong performances carried the Jazzers this past week: five players scored 49 points or better, led by Ryan Ludwick who went 9 for 23 with a pair of doubles and three home runs for his new Padres team. On the pitching side of things, beyond a pair of two-start starters, both Wandy Rodriguez and Jonathon Niese had superb starts last week, both going 7 innings and netting 50 and 49 points, respectively.
The Marxists defeated the Rockin' Rockers 444-436
The short story here is that the Marxists led with offense, while the Rockers had the better pitching. Unfortunately for the Rockers, the pitching just wasn't enough.
Focus on this weeks' action
Rather than focus on specific series, let's go division by division.
Zach Sanders has a guaranteed playoff slot, and with a win this week can guarantee at least a tie for the division lead (by record). He faces the Infield Flies, who despite their losing record are right there with the other top teams (aside from Janish) in total points--they are no pushovers. Meanwhile, the second- and third-place teams, Tied for First and the Grues, are battling it this week, and both teams have more points on the season than Sanders. If Sanders loses this week, and either of these teams wins, what had looked like a clear victory could hang in a precarious balance. And guess who Sanders has to play the last two weeks of the season? That's right: The Grues and Tied for First.
WHATS A SABRE's win last week was huge, but he hasn't locked up the division or the playoffs just yet. EyeOnTheMendozaLine is still a strong team, and I always get to 3rd may still bounce back; both teams are just two games back. Of their immediate competition this week, the Mendozas should have it the worst as they face off against the European Swords (10-9 in the North). That said, I always get to 3rd is currently trailing the Bake McBrideGrooms by nearly 80 points!
Despite trailing DoubleDose by a tad over 100 points on the season, Jeff Zimmerman (11-8) has a two-game lead in the East. This is probably a division where you will not see a wild card: 11-8 is the minimum record for a wild card slot right now, and even so not all 11-8 teams are current playoff seeds. Zimmerman needs to win two of the last three weeks to guarantee himself a playoff spot. But as things stand as I write this, he is losing while DoubleDose is winning.
Blocking Janish has clinched this division. They've been the class of the league thus far, without question, posting 800 more points than the next best team and holding the best record in the league at 15-4. Predictably, they are winning. Both the Marxists and CincyKids still have a shot at wild card slot--though CincyKids is currently losing to Sexfist, which just won't do at all.
One quick announcement: The TRADING DEADLINE IS THIS COMING Sunday, August 15th!! If you want to try to swing a deal, now is the time! No more trades will be permitted after that date.
Since I unfortunately missed last week's update (sorry!), let's start with an overview of happenings in the divisions. First, we need to offer congratulations to Blocking Janish and Zach Sanders, who both clinched playoff spots this week. Both have 14-4 records, are leading their divisions by a significant margin, and are among the leaders in overall team points accrued. In fact, do yourself a favor and go to the league website (http://tinyurl.com/25lhjww) and look at the Points Accumulation graph. Look at where Blocking Janish is, and look where everyone else is. That, folks, is domination. Above-average offense and the best pitching in the league = obvious favorite to win it all in the playoffs. But...that's why we play the games!
In the East, Jeff Zimmerman still holds a two-game lead above DoubleDose and the rest of the field, despite a close loss this past week to my squad. The closest race is in the South, where WHATS A SABRE holds a narrow one game lead over I always get to 3rd. Both teams have exactly paced each other over the past four weeks, so every week is a big week for these two teams. I'll preview both of their series below.
Closest Series last week: DoubleDose over CincyKids 478-477
One freaking point! Both teams had fairly average weeks (our league average is 471 points), with good performances and poor performances. CincyKids got an outstanding performance from number one overall pick Albert Pujols (12/23, 3 HR, 82 pts), as well as good pitching from Livan freaking Hernandez (74 pts) and Carl Pavano (67 pts), both two-start pitchers. Countering this were solid all-around performances across most of DoubleDose's team, who saw eight players top 30 points on the week. Both teams also had poor performances, however: For CincyKids, there was Manny Corpas (-9 pts across 2 IP), A.J. Burnett (-1 pts), and Fred Lewis (-7 pts). For DoubeDose there was Miguel Olivo (-13 pts) and R.A. Dickey (+8 pts across two starts, including a -14 performance on Sunday!). In the end, DoubleDose barely pulled this one out, keeping that team alive, for now, in the playoff hunt. For CincyKids, it was another tough luck loss: their Pythagorean record is 11-7, but they sit at 9-9 and rank 11th in the league according to Yahoo's system.
Best Week: Blocking Janish with 660 points
No one else topped 600, though Zach Sanders might have if not for James Shields -66 point performance on Saturday (still amazed by that). Janish benefited from Brandon Morrow's brilliant performance yesterday (89 pts total across two starts), as well as two start weeks from Roy Halladay (89 pts) and Johan Santana (78 pts) to go with a monster week from Carlos Gonzalez (11/26, 4 HR, 3 SB, 91 pts). Just imagine what might have happened if Carlos Santana hadn't gotten hurt.
This weeks' key matchups
WHATS A SABRE (12-6) vs. Zach Sanders (14-4)
This is a battle of two division leaders. Sanders brings a balanced team with above-average pitching and hitting to the table as he tries to secure the best possible playoff spot. WHATS A SABRE, on the other hand, is an all-defense team--their pitching ranks 2nd only to Blocking Janish, while their hitting is below average. While WHATS A SABRE has led their division since the fourth week of the season, it's typically been a fairly narrow lead, and they need wins to keep their playoff slot. They have an advantage of three two-start pitchers this week, so they should have a decent shot at a win...but Sanders' team isn't ranked #2 for nothing.
I always get to 3rd (11-7) vs. The Grues (11-7)
I always get to 3rd has one of the better records in the 2nd half (won 8 of their last 10), and are only a win away from tying for the league lead. They go up this week against my squad, who also have had a great second half after a very poor start to the season (won 9 of their last 10). The Grues are primarily a pitching squad, with average offense, while the Thirds are a bit above average in both categories. With a win, the Grues have a shot at taking second place in their division (amazing given where we were even a few weeks ago), while a win by the Thirds is essential if they want to take the Southern division. The Grues have four two-start pitchers, but when these include the inimitable Sean O'Sullivan, the badly struggling Mike Pelfrey, and the highly questionable Carlos Zambrano, that means less than it otherwise might...
The main announcement this week is that I'm establishing the new draft order for next season that was proposed last week: Picks #1 through #12 go to the #9 through #20 teams (in that order, by winning %, tiebreaker = total points), picks #13-20 go to the 8th place team through the 1st place team, as determined by the playoffs. No snaking. FWIW, as of today, the draft order would be:
2. Infield Flies
6. Suit Up!
7. Rockin' Rockers
8. New York Jazzers
10. 14 4 HOF
11. Sexfist replacement
12. BakeMcBrideGrooms replacement
13-20. Remaining teams, in reverse order of placement in the playoffs.
Also, the top four playoff teams get to headline their own divisions next season after realignment. As long as it's not profane or otherwise offensive, I'll let those managers name their divisions. :)
Also, as a reminder: THE TRADE DEADLINE IS AUGUST 15TH. Be sure to have all trades submitted by that date.
On to the Recap!
Last Week's Featured Series
Jeff Zimmerman defeated Tied for First 485-480
Another absurdly close series for Tied for First, this time resulting in a loss. Zimmerman's team has had the best offense in the league thus far, and that was not surprisingly the his team's strength in this series. Michael Young had a fine week (78 pts), along with excellent performances from Ryan Howard, Alex Gonzalez, Placido Polanco, and Brian McCann. This bouyed up his pitching, which was less than excellent--especially with the loss of Andy Pettitte to the DL. On the flip side, Tied for First suffered two negative point performances: Colby Rasmus went 1/17 on the week (-11 pts), while Clay Buchholz was lit up in his start for another -11 points.
I always get to third defeated DoubleDose 569-519
The 3rds continued their winning ways with their third straight victory and sixth of their last seven series. They defeated DoubleDose thanks to a massive offensive attack led by Justin Upton, who came up huge: 12/27, 7 walks, 6 doubles, and a home run for 96 points. They also received strong performances from Adrian Beltre (66 pts), Derrek Lee (44 pts), and Cole Hamels (51 pts).
From the "I Feel For Ya" category
The top performance this week was from CincyKids, who scored 636 points in route to a victory over the Infield Flies. This was particularly notable because, as of 9:27 pm during Sunday Night Baseball, these two teams were tied at 604 points apiece! Unfortunately for the Flies, and fortunately for the CincyKids, Albert Pujols hit a homer that ultimately made the difference. As a result, despite scoring the second-best point total of the week, the Flies fell 636-604. Get 'em next time, I guess. I think that's the third time this has happened this season.
Preview of this week's key matchups
Blocking Janish (12-4) vs. Infield Flies (9-7)
With their tough luck loss last week, the Flies have fallen into a tie for last place in the North (despite being two games over .500!). It doesn't get any easier this week, as they take on Blocking Janish. But if there's a silver lining, Janish is on a two-week losing streak, which accounts for half of their losses this season. The Flies will likely need a win to get back into playoff qualification. Janish, on the other hand, needs a win to fight of CincyKids, who have suddenly crept up to just three games back.
CincyKids (9-7) vs. EyeOnTheMendozaLine (8-8)
This is a battle between two playoff hopefuls. The CincyKids are on a tear of late, winning four of their last five, and are trying to get back into contention in the West while sharing a division with the Janish juggernaut. They are coming off a big win over Infield flies, which also catapulted them into 2nd place (behind Janish) in overall points scored this season. This week, they take on EyeOnTheMendozaLine, which until recently had beenthe 2nd place overall points team. Unfortunately, this is also a team that has stumbled of late, suffering three straight losses after being within sniffing distance of the division lead. They need a win this week to get back on track.
Announcement: In case you missed it, I proposed a change to the rules for next year on the league message board (look for the "Draft order next year?" thread if you want to read it). Until now, the plan was to have the draft order next year be the reverse of team winning percentages this year, without snaking. The problem with this is that, if a manager knew he wasn't going to make the playoffs this year, it would be to his/her advantage to tank the rest of the season to get the best possible draft position next year.
As an alternative, I'd like to institute the following draft order next year (again, no snaking):
* First 12 picks next year go to the #9 through #20 teams from this season, in that order (based on winning percentage, with total points being the tiebreaker)
* Pick #13 goes to the #8 team as determined by playoffs
* Pick #14 goes to the #7 team as determined by playoffs
* And so on, with the winning team this year picking last next year
The idea is to give everyone something to play for. If you don't make the playoffs this year, at least you're playing for better draft position next year.
There have been no objections to this approach so far, but if you have concerns please drop by the message board and voice them. Otherwise, as of next week, I'll declare this rule finalized.
Recap of Last Week
Last week was the All-Star week. The shortened schedule promised that some crazy things would happen, and it did not disappoint. First, in the North:
Tied for First TIED with Bake McBridegrooms 238-238
Talk about some bad luck! Tied for First only got three starts on the week, and only one of them was any good: Francisco Liriano's 48-point win over the White Sox. The result was a weak showing that allowed the RP-heavy Bakes to not just make it close, but actually tie! This is the league's first tie of the season, and while it's better than a loss, it pulls Tied for First out of a tie for first and into a close second, a half-game behind Zach Sanders in the North.
And in the South...
Sexfist defeated EyeOnTheMendozaLine 298-230
The Mendozas had been rising in the total points rankings for several weeks, but all of the sudden have lost two consecutive weeks. This one, at the hands of Sexfist, was particularly painful. Like Tied for First, the Mendozas didn't get a ton of starts last week (4), but at least what they did receive was decent. What they couldn't have counted on, however, was an offensive explosion from Sexfist, led by Carlos Pena (50 pts), Bengie Molina (45 pts), and Corey Hart (41 pts). With a few mediocre appearances by their pitchers, this allowed Sexfist to handily defeat the Mendozas. If losing to Sexfist wasn't enough, this loss was especially tough in that WHATS A SABRE and I always get to 3rd both won, which means the Mendozas have slipped two games behind in their division.
Finally, in the West...
WHATS A SABRE defeated Blocking Janish 435-390
For the second time this season, the second-best scoring team on the week--in this case, Blocking Janish--lost to the top scoring team of the week. This was a big win for WHATS A SABRE, allowing them to break a two-series losing streak. For Janish, it does sting--CincyKids won, allowing them to pull to 4 games back--but they have a large enough margin that they still feel comfortable.
Week 16's Key Matchups
Tied for First (10-4-1) vs. Jeff Zimmerman (9-6)
Zimmerman is leading his division. That's the good news. The bad news is that he also is in the middle of a four-week losing streak, and is facing off against a team that--despite tying an abandoned team last week--has a better record and ranks 4th overall in total points this season. If the rest of Zimmerman's division wasn't scuffling too, this would could be a make or break series for him. Even as it is, it's critical. Tied for First, on the other hand, needs a win to pace Zach Sanders in the North.
I always get to 3rd (9-6) vs. DoubleDose (7-8)
A battle of two second-place teams, this one is interesting because both of these teams are on the brink of contention. I always get to 3rd is now just a game behind WHATS A SABRE, while DoubleDose is two behind Zimmerman's squad. With Zimmerman facing a tough team this week, a win for DoubleDose could represent a chance to pull to just a game behind the leader in the East. I always get to 3rd, on the other hand, is riding a stretch of 7 of 8 wins, and has almost caught WHATS A SABRE. Big week for both teams.
I'm unfortunately traveling this week and wasn't able to post this before I left. Since I'm typing this on my iPhone, this will be very abbreviated.
Biggest news was probably the loss of What's a Sabre?, which put his position in first place in the East in jeopardy. Fortunately for that manager, EyeOnTheMendozaLine also lost and do the lead is intact. However, I always get to third also won, which immediately puts that team into competition for that division.
The North continued to be very strong, with all teams except the Infield Flies winning. The East tightened, with Jeff Zimmerman and DoubleDose losing, letting the rest of the division gain ground.
Enjoy the All-Star break, and I'll see you next week!