The last two days have been bummers Nats baseball-wise, so I thought I would share this awesome story. If you play fantasy baseball, it is a must-read. Heck, even if you don’t know the first thing about fantasy baseball, it is worth reading for all the laughs.
I can’t begin to describe to you how badly I wanted Matt Kemp in fantasy baseball last year. Think how much a Spaniard desires a job, alas with the same results. No Kemp and a putrid year from Hanley Ramirez translated to the first season in a long, long time without a championship. Flash forward to last night, bottom of the tenth, and the curse of Kemp struck again, this time in real life, as his walk-off home run downed the Nationals 4-3.
Am I bitter? Well, to put it in perspective, Kemp only ruined a sterling start from Stephen Strasburg (7 innings, 5 hits and 1 ER allowed, with 9 k’s), sabotaged a storybook debut by Bryce Harper (1 for 3 with a RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth that put the Nats in position for the win), and destroyed my glorious dynasty in fantasy baseball. Yeah, I’m a bit bitter.
Of course, there was more to Washington’s loss last night than just Kemp, but I’m inclined to close strong on my anti-Kemp rant. I find it incredible that he has managed to post 11 home runs in the month of April so far, when for a good swath of it, Juan Rivera has been hitting clean-up behind him. Juan Rivera. He was last any good when your house actually had value. Kemp may be the best player in baseball right now, but I have a humble suggestion for all the genius managers in MLB: Pitch-around.
Game ball(s): Kemp. I wish he would start dating Rihanna again.
Goat(s): Henry Rodriguez. Like I alluded to above, the loss was attributable to more than just Kemp. H-Rod was staked to a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t close out the win.
Bryce Harper is here: Still working on a new name for this category, but that’s no excuse for not handing out the award. And it is only fitting that it goes to Harper, who more than held his own in his debut, stroking a double to the center field wall in the top of the seventh and then producing the then tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth.
Current Record: 14-7
Ross Detwiler is tied for the second lowest paid player on the Nationals, bringing in $485,000/year. I know. Oliver Twist sends Detwiler $10 a month. But on a team with a nearly $81 million payroll, the value Detwiler is delivering to start the season is unmatched. After tonight’s sparkling 2-0 winning effort against the Marlins, Detwiler now sits at 2-0 with a .56 ERA (yep, .56) and is averaging close to a k/inning. In a word, he has been dominant.
Now, if the dreaded fantasy baseball curse hadn’t reared its ugly head again last night, the Nationals would be riding a five-game winning streak. Alas, I went with sound fantasy baseball tactics and started Bud Norris and lo and behold, won in fantasy but lost in real life.
Game ball(s): Detwiler. Though I have to say I’m not keen on pulling him after just six innings and 79 pitches. If you’ve got a pitcher on that sort of roll, why prematurely pull the plug? The broadcasters say the Nats are still in the process of building up Detwiler’s stamina, but call me crazy, how does throwing three less pitches this outing than last build up his stamina?
Goat(s): Hanley Ramirez. 0-4, 3 whiffs and 3 runners left stranded. I see for one night the fantasy/real life scripts have been flipped.
Bryce Harper is not as far off: Rick Ankiel, who got three of Washington’s four hits, including the game-winning home run. That will work.
Current Record: 11-4