Frustration and fantasy baseball

I’ll kick this article off by telling you this article contains no pertinent information to help you win your fantasy league. [Pause] Alright, now that we got that out of the way, allow me to introduce the topic du jour.

Frustration has its part in fantasy baseball, one we must learn to deal with for the sake of the computer screens we might otherwise hurl objects toward. Below is a collection of some of the more hair-pulling situations every fantasy baseballer will eventually counter. For your enjoyment:

Friendly fire

Strange situations can arise in fantasy baseball, and perhaps one of the strangest is when a hitter on your team is facing a pitcher on … your team. No outcome from this encounter can be entirely good for you, only certain outcomes are more favorable than others. I liken it to playing golf with your boss—either way you lose.

Two weeks ago, on April 21, I found myself on one end of the spectrum when a pitcher I happily own, Phil Hughes, was set to face the A’s of Oakland. At the time I owned two hitters in the A’s lineup, namely Cliff Pennington and Daric Barton.

Hughes wound up throwing a gem. Over 7.1 innings he allowed one run, fanned 10 batters, and most importantly got the win.

For Hughes I was happy, but unfortunately he did not shelter Cliff and Daric from the domination he brought upon the A’s lineup. Perhaps it was my fault for having started both of them, since the duo combined to go 0-for-7 and I knew there had to be a better way.

But I would not find out what that better way was two Fridays ago when Ricky Nolasco took the mound against the stealthy Nationals lineup, rejuvenated by the return of its and my slugger, Ryan Zimmerman. Nevertheless, fresh off two dominating performances, I thought Nolasco would Slap Chop his way through their batting order.

And he might have were it not for friendly fire in the form of two Ryan Zimmerman home runs. As a result, Nolasco was done after just four innings with five earned runs charged to his name and again I was angry at my team for not getting along. If there is such thing as fantasy baseball chemistry, my team had none of it.

I did not have to wait long, though, to see my teammates harmonize as the next day Yovani Gallardo faced off against the Padres. Gallardo was filthy, allowing one run over seven innings of work with 11 strikeouts. In the midst of that filth, however, one Padre—my Padre—Chase Headley emerged 3-for-4 with all his hits singles.

Finally despite the civil war raging among my team, I felt as if both sides had won on that night.

Sonavabench!

Credit here will be attributed where credit is due, which is to the folks over at Razzball—or rather a commenter there—for inventing this term. It means what the name implies, that upset feeling you get when seeing a player on your bench have a tremendous day. I was sonavabenched! Sunday when I sat both of my Phillies hitters, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco, against Johna Santana in one league.

Santana would end up allowing 10 runs, including home runs to each of Victorino and Polanco. It’s a roto league, so stuff like this stings all year.

The double whammy

The double whammy is a specialty of Head-to-Head leagues, when a hitter on the team opposing you for the week gets a home run or big hit off of one of your pitchers. In my one H2H league this year, this has yet to happen, so this paragraph will remain anecdotal-less.

Of course, few things are sweeter than a double whammy occurring in your favor.

The twilight run

This occurs when one of your starting pitchers has pitched tremendously through eight innings, with zero or one run allowed. You are already calculating the positive impact this effort will have on your ratios until in the ninth, your pitchers gives up another run or two to turn his gem into simply a quality outing. Justin Verlander accomplished this feat over the past weekend when he held the Angels scoreless through eight innings, only to give up a run after getting only one out in the ninth.

While I am not complaining with his performance, the timing of the run did irk me.

Trading landmine

The trade landmine occurs when you trade for a player and as soon as he comes aboard your team, he forgets how to hit. In effect, the trade blows up in your face, especially if the player you traded away is now raking. I might have sent a landmine over to the Razzball fellows in the Yahoo F&F league when I gave them Polanco for Brett Gardner. Since the trade, Polanco’s batting average has dropped 45 points!

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Comments

  1. Howard said...

    Worse trading landmine & it’s almost scary how often it happens.  You trade for a player & said player gets injured the minute he lands on your team.  This happened to me personally with Aramis Ramirez last year.  A team in my league this year acquired Manny right before he got hurt.  It’s amazing how often it happens (I’m talking less than 3 days on your team, not like you have him for a month & he goes down).

    I’ve seen guys get hurt during the trade review period which stings, but usually a successful veto campaign is launched.

  2. buck turgidson said...

    It’s the Oakland A’s.  Not “of” anything.

    I think a better term for landmine is sleeper cell.  And don’t worry, Brett Gardner will soon remember that he doesn’t know how to hit.

  3. Marc said...

    Ultimate sonavabench: guy in my league had Braden on the bench for his perfect game. Couple of years ago same thing happened to me with Bucchholz.

  4. Derek Ambrosino said...

    Here’s one that I hate.

    The stalemate: You own both starters in a game, and neither manage to secure a win.

    Oh, and don’t forget the Ozzie Guillen Special.Ozzie leaves in his struggling starter to get mercilessly smacked around for no apparent reason beyond spite.

    And, one more. The get out of jail free card: In a H2H league, your opponents has a pitcher going who has a meltdown leading to an inning that should ruin his start. However, there’s an error in the inning that causes most of the damage to occur after the would-be third out. Therefore, the runs wind up being unearned. Brad Penny did this last night.

    As an aside, I wonder why the team unearned run rule does not apply without a pitching change. Most don’t know about the TUR rule, but it goes like this, a relief pitcher is not offered the benefits of errors that occured prior to his entering the game. So, if a pitcher enters the game after errorless play would have resulted in a third out, any runner that he allows to reach and subsequently score is earned to him, but unearned to the team. Why not apply this independent of pitching changes? Say a pitcher has two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd. The next batter hits a grounder bobbled by the SS for an error. Okay – all three of those runners should be unearned if they ultimately score, I’m fine with that. But, why does that give this pitcher a free pass to throw BP all subsequent hitters? Say the next guy hits a grand slam. All four of those runs are unearned, to the pitcher and to the team. But, if the pitcher would have been taken out after the error and a new pitcher comes in and gives up a grand slam, then the batter’s run would be earned to him, while the other three would be unearned to the team. What sense does that make!?

    …And don’t get me started on when the error that prolongs the inning is made by the pitcher himself.

    I have a friend who has a very faint hope that one day, he will be contacted with a request to rewrite the entire official scoring section of MLB rule book; he’s accepted my request to be a co-editor.

  5. dbuff said...

    I’ve been playing Fantasy baseball for 11 years and this is far and away my most frustrating season (I drafted Frank Francisco, Trevor Hoffman and Chad Qualls as my closers, enuff said). 
    But today really exemplified how irrational, and frustrating Fantasy can be.  I have Suzuki on my DL and I’ve suffered through 1 for 18 from Olivo over the last 5 days.  Suzuki has a great game on rehab and all reports are that he will be activated for Wednesday night.  Olivo will be facing Halliday, who he’s 1 for 11 against lifetime.  SO, I bench Olivo to play Suzuki.  After the start of the Colorado game word comes out that Suzuki experienced some soreness and won’t be activated today.  Olivo goes 5 for 5 and hits a walkoff home run.  You just have to shrug it off.  The only alternative is to quit and that is not an option.

  6. RotoPilot said...

    How about the “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains” scenario

    When your player hits a home run in the first few innings (like Grady Sizemore a week ago) only to have the game called and your HR erased as if it never happened.  Or when your pitcher is cruising along for 4 innings with a 5 run lead, only to have a lengthy rain delay so he doesn’t come out to pitch after the delay (bye bye Win)

  7. Derek Ambrosino said...

    It’s amazing how a coastal thunderstorm can swing the balance in weekly H2H league. Guys lose starts, pitchers get to face a half-second string line-ups, ABs get skewed. It’s yet another reason why I call weekly H2H leagues the small sample size Olympics.

  8. SabathiaWouldBeGoodAtTheEigthToo said...

    Landmine Alert!!

    Traded Victorino for Granderson the day before Granderson got hurt.  This one still has time to work out, but ouch!

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