Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CJ Wilson, The Oakland A's, And Ultimate Fantasy Baseball Fail

So Much Hate
This is a story about something you can not possibly care about, but I feel like I've got to share it.

Let's start this with the team I root for: the Oakland A's. They brought me back into baseball when I had given up the sport. I've been to the Coliseum more than any other yard. They made baseball fun for the first four months of the season, and misery for the last seven weeks. I'm still rooting for them to make the playoffs and go on a run, but I can't say I'm filled with confidence about their prospects.

Unlike the A's, I haven't believed in my fantasy baseball team all year. (Year-long league, rotisserie rather than head to head, 12 teams, 5x5.) This is what happens when the cornerstone of your offense is Joey Votto, and you protect Jim Johnson as your top closer. But it's been a crazy year in baseball, a year where everyone has seemingly forgotten how to hit, and my collection of relentless sluggery has managed, through the pure luck pick ups of waiver wire studs like Dee Gordon, Hector Rondon and Zach Britton, and the second half patience pays plays of Alex Gordon and Matt Kemp, to pay off with the few good moves I made at the auction. (Mostly, cheap pitching wins from guys like Scott Kazmir and Kyle Lohse, though Yan Gomes at Catcher 2 is also awesome.) But honestly, the single biggest secret of my success is that the entire league has stunk and/or been competitive. My points total, even at my high water mark this year, would not have finished first in the seven previous years of the league.

It's also a weekly moves league -- the only sane way to run baseball, in my opinion, otherwise you just have to stay up until 3am EST every day during the final couple of weeks to maximize starts -- which means that SPs that work on Monday or Tuesday give you an edge, assuming that they don't stink up the joint. You might have also noticed the presence of Kazmir on my list; he's joined by Sonny Gray and Jon Lester, making me all too cognizant of the A's collapse over the last six weeks.

So I looked at the waiver wire last week. And pulled the trigger on a shaky SP, but one with two outstanding matchups, and great recent results.

CJ Wilson, 5-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his last five starts against Oakland, getting the nod tonight for the Angels. Five days after dominating the Seahawks, who he gets on the last game of the year. Maybe not an absolute ace, but a guy who has gone on hot streaks in the past, and has been on plenty of teams over the year.

Smart move, right? And sure, I have the karma nightmare of rooting against my laundry in clutch time, but the A's have been absolute misery to watch and at the dish for the better part of two months now, and could barely scratch across runs against the execrable Phillies all weekend. And Quality Starts is the category here, along with ERA, WHIP, Saves and K/BB.

Oh, yeah, K/BB. I have David Price, who has been the Jedi of this category this year, to the point where I think it's hurt his overall numbers. I've led it from wire to wire, and at 3.67, I'm on path to set a new record for the history of the league... but there are other teams at 3.61, and this thing is going down to the wire.

So what does Wilson do tonight, in a game the A's need and the Angels don't? Faces eight hitters, walks four of them, gives up two hits and four earned runs, and is damned lucky that last number isn't six. In so doing, he obliterates my Carlos Carrasco stud start, puts two categories at risk of points loss, and takes away most of the margin for error that I entered the week with.

All while making me feel like I've gotten exactly what I deserved for rooting against my team.

The lesson, as always... fantasy sports are punishment for your sins.

And lo, how I have sinned...

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