Oh what could have been.
My fantasy team (Team Umpbump) entered this week in seventh place in our 12-team league, one spot out of the playoffs. The team was riding high on the strenth of its starting pitching (Pedro, Halladay, Webb, Padilla and Radke) and on the hot bat of one Mr. Chase Utley.
In fact, last week was full of smiley-happy storylines for Team Umpbump. Pedro made his first really strong start after a couple weeks on the DL. Justin Morneau, a guy who got off to a slow start this season, but who I stuck with anyway, hit .400 with 12 RBIs and a homer last week, raising his season totals to .321, 29 HRs and 98 RBIs.
Mark Teixeira, who got off to an even slower start than Morneau, had his second monster week in a row, hitting .304 with 4 HRs and 6 RBIs.
All of this, you’re thinking, must have added up to fantasy success for Team Umpbump, right? Wrong.
You see, before the week started, I made what I thought at the time was a pretty savvy move, picking up Fausto Carmona, the man who inherited the Cleveland Indians’ closer job after Bob Whickman was traded to the Braves. Carmona had been lights out as a setup man. It looked like a no-brainer.
But, as you’ve probably heard, Carmona didn’t last long as the Indians’ closer. In three relief appearances over the course of seven days he racked up three blown saves. His ERA last week was 37.80. He was, simply put, not good.
Over the course of every fantasy season, there comes a roll-the-dice moment. Whether you’re deciding to trade Pedro before he starts his inevitable second-half decline, or deciding to take a chance that Carl Crawford can make it through a season without a major injury, you’ll have to make at least one of these season-changing decisions. My biggest roll the dice moment this season might have been the decision to pin my bullpen hopes on Carmona. It was a decision that made so much sense at the time. He’s a young guy with electric stuff. A fast ball pitcher strikeout pitcher born to close on a team that plays a lot of close games. Plus, his name is Fausto, which conjurs up images of the devil and is just such a cool name for a closer. It really did seem like a good idea at the time.
Now, like so many of my ill-conceived fantasy decisions of seasons past, it seems a little stupid.