It's a hard and fast rule that nobody on LL dot com gives two damn shits about your fantasy team, but I have decided that I'm going to break that rule so I can tell you that I drafted Taijuan Walker on my fantasy team this season, and he has been really terrible and it has made my team really terrible which doesn't do much to hide the fact that I'm really terrible at fantasy baseball. Like, terrible terrible.
I don't actually know the first thing about playing fantasy baseball, and to be honest, don't even really care. It's kind of like playing guitar hero if you have ever actually held a real guitar, even once, in your entire life. You are given this thing that looks really familiar in both shape and form, but then when you start trying to press the buttons they are like no wait, don't do that, wait for the green thing to match up with the lightning bolt a half-second after you hear the note which is the most ass-backwards and counter-intuitive thing I've ever heard.
I suppose that when you play fantasy baseball, a decent strategy would be to draft a bunch of starting pitchers who generate lots of strikeouts with a low WHIP, supplanted by as many closers as you can possibly muster. But the problem with that is that you're just pressing buttons a damned plastic guitar. Strikeouts are good and all, but WHIP is silly and I couldn't tell you the ERA of a single current Major League pitcher without looking it up. Part of that is laziness, but you get the point.
I bet you think you know where this is going. Ah, you might be saying. He's going to turn this little fantasy baseball anecdote into a metaphor for the construction of the Seattle Mariners 2015 roster, likening his misplaced faith in Taijuan Walker to a front office seemingly playing fantasy ball and looking at the wrong statistics. Perhaps you are getting ready for me to actually talk about the baseball game that was just played between the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles, which saw Roenis Elias displaying why he felt it was a mistake he started the season in Tacoma. Maybe you're just really annoyed that I'm not actually giving you anything tangible to hold onto, as I am wont to do a few days out of every week on this here web site.
None of those thoughts would be wrong. But to tell you the truth, the real reason I started out talking about drafting Taijuan Walker was simply because I'm still pissed off about it, and also because I know no other way to reconcile the fact that I'm going to have to live through the rest of the season with him fucking it all up because I'm too lazy to find somebody to drop him for. Now I'm talking about the real Mariners.
Tonight Roenis Elias threw 7.2 innings of six hit ball, earning only a single run which was scored after he left the game on an oddly-misplaced slider out of the hand of Carson Smith. It may have only been his first win of the season, but after starting the year in AAA and being called up to cover up an amputated limb with a band-aid, the Cuban lefty has notched a 3.98 xFIP with 25 strikeouts in 32.2 innings, debuted a newly effective changeup, and joined Felix and J.A. Happ as the only Mariners starters to not send you to the liquor cabinet in the third inning every night.
Thing is, it wasn't supposed to be this way. That's a dumb and quite obvious thing to say, but the problem is that everyone bitching about it on the internet is almost just as guilty as Jack Z, except for maybe you know who who always hates everything. There are probably one million people better than me at fantasy baseball that would have laughed at drafting Taijuan Walker for my fifth starter, but the reality is that the Mariners sent Roenis Elias to AAA because they thought Walker's carpet bombing of Arizona this March was indicative of something material along with me. They stashed Roenis Elias in the minors because he didn't have the best spring in the world, and felt very comfortable starting the year with a rotation comprised of God, a former top prospect, an All-Star, the sad guy from Canada, and the other guy sort of from Canada that was probably going to be fine. And you did too.
Sure, you may have been worried about depth. We all were. Hell, Brendan wrote the article today. But at the risk of opening a wound here and then foregoing the neosporin, the fact of the matter is that Roenis Elias just did to the Orioles what Taijuan Walker was supposed to be doing to the Orioles. Just imagine how fucked this would all be without him. I mean, Taijuan Walker almost pitched an entire baseball game with only fastballs yesterday, and tonight Roenis Elias whipped this out like Gordon Ramsay throwing shade at those crazy people from Arizona.
Roenis Elias' curve is nastyyyyy (NSFW) pic.twitter.com/mERYOleoLr— Jose Rivera (@Jose8BS) May 21, 2015
And despite the fact that this offense has recently been basically the steroid guy and a few paper clips strung together with a rubber band, the Mariners actually ended up making things interesting against Wei-Yen Chen, who has more than given this club his fair share of trouble over the past few years. Tonight, only Rickie Weeks went hitless against the Orioles' lefty, Ruggiano hit a dinger, and Chris Taylor hit his first career triple, thanks to the fact that Delmon Young is still being employed to be a professional outfielder in Major League baseball.
For the most part, the whole night went the Mariners' way. They first got on the board with a Mike Zunino double that felt kind of encouraging because he actually did a good thing on a bendy pitch after getting behind in the count. I can't decide if this says more about where Mike Zunino is headed or if Chen has just illustrated the fact that every single pitcher in the bigs has a complete textbook understanding of how to get Mike Zunino to strikeout like a fool:
Still, he didn't. Ruggiano's aforementioned dinger came in the fourth inning, which scored Nelson Cruz from second after a double of his own. The rest of the game was blanks until Taylor's triple in the seventh, which scored Morrison from first. The Orioles got one of their own after Roenis started to tire and put a few O's on base, but the jam was promptly escaped after Carson Smith hung one that landed out by Cruz in left, who promptly enacted his best Yoenis Cespedes impression:
ah look a ball hit to me, a person trusted to patrol a corner outfield position. I'll just
yeah, totally meant to do that.
Then Fernando Rodney was Rodney with a bad strike zone, and it went exactly as you would expect save for the fact that it didn't, and the Mariners actually won the whole thing. Tomorrow they try to take the series and I will never again speak of fantasy baseball on this website ever again. Well, until the next time. Goms.