• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

The playoff picture is starting to form already in the UmpBump league, with seven teams vying for the six postseason births… And the only UmpBump writer currently out of the picture is Coley… But the huge deal he made with Alejandro this past week coupled with the return of Alfonso Soriano to his lineup could make the Crunkball All-Stars a juggernaut the rest of the way. So what happened this week? Read on!

Paul: As of last night, I was down 5-7 against the croutchy old man himself, aka croutchyoldman (Larry). This morning, I sat down at my computer and contemplated how I could frame my defeat in a positive light. “Think of the orphans”, I said to myself. “Don’t let them see you dejected. Don’t let them see you cry. It would frighten them. Because you know how incredibly scrunched up your face gets when you cry. You look like a shar-pei. It’s really quite ugly.” Determined to take defeat graciously, I checked the final numbers to write this post. Turns out that I won. Flipped the score 7-5 as I picked up 3 saves last night to take the category 6-5, and somehow also overtook him in K/BB ratio as well. I was pretty much dominated in the offensive categories, only taking OBP. But I also ended up sweeping the pitching categories. And now I can look those (imaginary) orphans in the face and tell them, “Look at me. This is how a man celebrates when he wins. He gloats uncontrollably, unnecessarily makes others feel badly, and comes out the other side a lesser being.” And that, my friends, is going to feel good. Hot: David Wright, Matt Holliday, C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Trevor Hoffman, Scott Kazmir, Shane Victorino. Not: Geovany Soto, Brian Roberts, Marcus Thames, Hiroki Kuroda, Justin Duchscherer.

Sarah: After getting off to a hot start earlier this week, my team cooled, so I have to content myself with a 5-5 tie against Scott’s team, Utley’s Firm Quads. And by “content myself” I mean “seethe inwardly.” And who do I blame? Why, the Yankees, of course. I was handily winning nearly all the pitching categories before Scott’s Joba Chamberlain shut out the Red Sox Friday night, but that, combined with a horrendous outing by my own Justin Verlander, tipped the pitching scale in his favor. Then the Yankees just had to beguile the poor Pittsburgh Pirates with their evil mind tricks, convincing them to give up both of their most coveted players in exchange for what amounted to New York’s spare parts. Of course, I owned both Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady. Since Marte won’t be closing for New York, he was now useless to me, and I and about 10,000 other Yahoo! fantasy owners dropped him. (I picked up Carlos Marmol in his place.) For his part, Nady was pulled after one inning of Thursday night’s game—of course, I’d already put him in my lineup—and is 0 for 7 with a caught stealing since joining the Yankees. The New York Yankees, ladies and gentlemen: screwing over both my real team AND my fantasy team in one weekend! Thank you, thank you very much. Hot: James Loney, Carlos Guillen, Ian Kinsler (who has now become a can’t-drop player!), Rickie Weeks (now that the Brewers have acquired Ray Durham), Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp. Not: Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Verlander.

Alejandro: It’s been a week of moves at the Center Field Stud. I decided to pull off my second blockbuster, sending Hanley Ramirez to Crunkball All Stars (Coley) for a myriad of talent: Yunel Escobar, Carl Crawford, Todd Jones, and John Danks. Will the dearth of offensiveness that was Ramirez hurt the Stud? I doubt it, he was producing RBIs like a machine, but I now have the league leader in RBIs. Plus, Carl Crawford’s on the upswing and Yunel’s production can only help (however little it may be). I did shore up my bullpen by acquiring another closer plus a solid starter that can post a very low ERA. Something that had become an issue with my other rotation guys. At any rate, Carlos Delgado continues to be my hot pickup, posting a whopping 20 TB, collecting a massive 10 RBI and mashing 4 home runs. FIRST BASE STUD! Hot: A.J. Pierzynski, Carlos Delgado, Alexei Ramirez, Jermaine Dye, Magglio Ordóñez (boy glad he’s back), Hanley Ramirez (Adios Hanley), Tim Lincecum (no wins, but 13 Ks and a 2.57 ERA is hot), Mike Pelfrey (hot pickup). Not: Jon Garland, Vicente Padilla, Gavin Floyd, Chipper Jones, Alex Gordon, Aaron Rowand, Dan Uggla (let’s say lukewarm).

Coley: Did I give up too much to get Hanley Ramirez? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I gave up Carl Crawford’s 23 stolen bases, but I inherited Hanley’s 24. That’s a push. I gave up Crawford’s eight homers, but I inherited Ramirez’s 24. Advantage: Ramirez. I also gave up Yunel Escobar, who would have been relegated to bench duty with the addition of Ramirez. No big loss. I traded John Danks, who has decent numbers but doesn’t strike out many batters. Is Danks really that much better than Clayton Kershaw, who I picked up on waivers this morning? Is he better than Jered Weaver, who hit waivers yesterday? As for Todd Jones, he was one of five closers on my team, so I could afford to part with him. Unfortunately, despite all my wheeling and dealing, I still managed to lose 5-7 this week. It didn’t help that I was moving into a new house and forgot to set my lineup, thus missing out on a start from Josh Beckett. Maybe this just isn’t my year. Hot: Benjie Molina, Connor Jackson, Mark Teixeira, Rich Harden. Not: Jack Cust, Tim Wakefield, Garry Sheffield.

So the blockbuster trade did not translate to victory for Crunkball this week. But today begins another matchup! Stay tuned next week, same bat time, same bat channel, for more exciting adventures of the UmpBump fantasy baseball league! (Or not. It’s OK.)

Standings (games behind):

  1. Paul – ElDuquesInjuryReport ( – )
  2. Scott – Utley’s Firm Quads ( 12.5 )
  3. Alejandro – Center Field Stud ( 17 )
  4. Kirk – Montefusco’s Revenge ( 19 )
  5. Doug – Swamp Dragons ( 21.5 )
  6. Sarah – Somerville Green Sox ( 21.5 )
  7. Ania – Box89RowKKSeat14 ( 26 )
  8. Larry – croutchyoldman ( 37.5 )
  9. Bryan – Pirates in ‘08! ( 44.5 )
  10. Coley – Crunkball All-Stars ( 46.5 )
  11. Caitlin – caitlin grace ( 51 )
  12. Sooze – freebase my balls ( 57)

14 Responses to “UmpBump’s Week 17 Fantasy Results”

  1. Lyndsay says:

    “The problem has been that both Boston’s starters and the team’s relievers routinely issue too many walks.”

    aren’t these basically ALL due to Dice-K?

    despite Pap’s record, he’s seemed surprisingly mortal to me as well this year – he’s gotten himself into a few jams this year, and hasn’t appeared to me as lights-out as last year.

    I’m still surprised they let Tavarez go and kept someone like Lopez around. I thought Tavarez gave them some pretty decent innings.

    I am rooting pretty hard for Manny #2 to improve, because he’s a hometown boy and all, youre right though, his confidence gets shook too easily out there – and I’m blaming Frank Thomas for that.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Sarah, while I completely agree with you that walks have been a problem for the Sox, I’m not sure how the performance of the bullpen is relevant. Because actually most of the walks have been issued by the starting pitchers. The biggest culprits this year have been Matsuzaka, Lester, Wakefield, and Buchholz. In the bullpen, the only guy actually allowing a crazy amount of walks has been David Aardsma, whom you actually praised.

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah, Lyndsay, regarding letting go a better pitcher in order to keep Lopez, what else is new? Last year the Sox released JC Romero when they had a roster crunch, despite the fact that he only had a 3.15 ERA, rather than drop Lopez, who I think we can all agree is useless. Romero went on to have a 1.24 ERA for the Phillies the rest of the year, and has a 1.31 ERA for them this year.

  4. The crazy thing is Dice-K is the guy who walks the most batters (I’m not going to look this up, but it must be true), yet he seldom gets hurt by it. I mean, 8-0, right?

    I do worry about Okie-Dokie. He seems to have lost his mojo and he was such a huge part of the Sox’ success last season.

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    Coley I did look it up and you are right – Dice-K is the worst culprit with walks (5.3 BB/9). But he also strikes out a lot of guys and has been lucky with BABIP.

  6. Lyndsay says:

    Buck can be forgiven – he’s a kid and he’s going to spend some time in the minors to work on his stuff (unfortunately for Dennis Eckersley :-() Beckett has been unlucky in a couple of his starts in that a couple of them were games he SHOULD have won, but didn’t get any run support. so I think in Beckett’s case, his record isn’t really accurately reflective of his performance. on the flip side, Dice-K’s record is not reflective of his performance at all – there were games in there that he definitely SHOULD have lost.

    Lester is the one that throws me – I’m usually like, “oh, fuck him and his cancer! he can’t get past 5 innings without giving up 4 runs!”…and then he goes and throws a no-hitter. and then it’s back to 4 runs in 5 innings the next week (or something like that). his inconsistency is maddening.

  7. Sarah Green says:

    Nick, the Red Sox bullpen has been slightly weaker than the starting rotation across the board, which is why I focused on them. The Red Sox have plenty of starting depth, and guys like Beckett and Daisuke and even youngster Buchholz have all shown that they can pitch better than they have so far and it seems reasonable to expect some improvement as the season wears on. Lester is more of a work in progress, as Lyndsay noted. Wakefield, the knuckleballer, is the only one who has the right to issue so many walks. With the Buck in the minors right now to “work on his fastball command,” and Sir Daisuke Walksalot on the DL to rest, I think they’ll be able to turn around the starters with relative ease.

    When you consider that Boston starters have pitched more innings than Boston relievers, I’m not surprised at all that the starters have issued more total walks. But the relievers and the starters have issued walks at almost exactly the same rate—0.427 per inning for the starters, .0424 for the relievers.

    So I focused on the bullpen because to me, fixing the bullpen is going to be more problematic. First, consider that when a starter walks a few too many guys, he’s gotten himself into a jam. A jam that a reliever will likely be called into fix. If the reliever also walks guys, what do you have? Runs. Runs are bad.

    Second, the bullpen just doesn’t have the depth that the starting rotation has. The Red Sox are relying a lot on young guys (Hansen and Delcarmen) who don’t have that flinty, steely, I-WANT-TO-EAT-YOUR-CHILDREN look in their eyes when they come into a game. We joke about intangibles, but I think for relievers who enter the game in high-leverage moments, it’s good to have a bit of that attitude. (See file: Papelbon.) Maybe they’ll gain some confidence with more experience—Delcarmen did strike out the side for the first time this year just last night, which cheered me greatly. When you throw high-90s heat, you don’t need to nibble.

    As for Aardsma, it’s all relative. I praised him because every time he goes out there, I expect him to let in a run. Yet he hasn’t been that bad.

  8. Lyndsay says:

    Remy was noting last night (and I concur) that Okajima comes in a lot to get out of bases-jammed situations. maybe they need to start him fresh in an inning to get his confidence back, because those situations seem to be what kills him.

    I still think something’s off with Papelbon this season (and no it’s not his general personality). to me, he’s not as sharp as last year.

    I don’t know what to think about Hansen right now. I am just glad he cut his mullet off and got a grownup hairdo.

  9. Sarah Green says:

    Lyndsay, I agree about Okajima! I am glad that Jerry Remy apparently reads UmpBump too.

    About Paps, I think your eyes may be deceiving you a little bit. Yes, his ERA is an uncharacteristically “high” 2.00, higher than it’s ever been as a reliever. But that could partly be UmpBump’s favorite stat, BABIP, striking again. Papelbon’s has been .313 this year–a little high, but not super-crazy high. Otherwise, only a few things stand out to me, statistically.

    His K/9 rate is still up where it usually lives—an excellent 11.33—but his K/BB rate is ALSO 11.33, which is fantastic, but crazy high! (His K/BB the past two years has been 5.77 and 5.60, so we can see that his walk rate so far this year is waaaay down.) He also usually gives up more fly balls than ground balls, but this year he’s given up more grounders. His BAA this year is .220, when it’s been way below .200 the past two years. Are hitters just being more aggressive against him? Most of the hits he’s given up have been early in the count. Maybe the hitters are going in there, like, “I’m just going to go up there and swing, and God willing, I’ll get a hit.”

    Or maybe these extra hits are coming off of that new “slider/cutter” he revealed last year on Letterman. Though I am not a PITCHf/x expert.

    Any other ideas?

  10. Sarah Green says:

    Also, I think we should name Papelbon’s “slider/cutter” a “slutter.” That would amuse me.

  11. Sarah,

    Papelbon beat you to it:

    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2007/08/22/new_pitch_same_story_for_papelbon/

    How proud my mother would be right now if she knew that I had taken part in an intelligent discussion on baseball…and that my “part” was to provide the origins of the word “slutter”. It’s like all the hopes and dreams she had for me when I was a child are finally coming true.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    Goddammit. And I was so proud of my wordsmithery.

  13. Sarah Green says:

    And yes, I’m sure my parents are also proud of what that expensive education accomplished.

    “After years of the finest New England private schooling, our daughter makes up marginally vulgar new words for baseball pitches! That have already been invented!”

  14. Kirk Miller says:

    Big wins in 5 out of the last six weeks has put me in fourth place. I have the Box89 team this week, and then finish the year having to run the gauntlet by facing ElDuque, Center Field, Crunkball, and Somerville. If I can survive I will be feeling pretty good about my chances in the playoffs, if not, well, let’s not think about that.

    As it is, I feel pretty good about my chances to finish strong because I have Papi back. Top to bottom I have a pretty darn good lineup. Doumit, Howard, Cano, Hardy, Headley, Ortiz, Votto, Granderson, Griffey, Berkman, and Zimmerman. Weak in stolen bases, but strong in every other area.

    My pitching features some strong starters who all have good K/BB ratios, although my boy Jonathan Sanchez may have to go once Chris Carpenter comes back. Jenks and Soria are my only current closers, so that may be a weakness; however Morrow, Grabow and Balfour may get some saves if the fantasy gods will allow.

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