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Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Updated: June 10, 9:32 AM ET
FLB Buzz: Wednesday, June 9

By Eric Karabell
Fantasy Games Senior Editor

Buzz: Wednesday's top 5 What are fantasy users discussing today? Send mail...
  • 1. Night of extremes
  • 2. Crosby on fire
  • 3. The Brothers Hairston
  • 4. Closer update
  • 5. Comings and goings...

    Ryan's Hope
    Call it bad timing. But nobody could have imagined Ryan Madson would have blown up like that. Even the outs were bad. Well, both of them. Madson entered his first major league start with 33.2 innings of beautiful relief work, four earned runs total allowed. Then he got strafed for six earned - three homers - and got only two outs. It was so bad. I was yelling at the TV. Screaming at Bowa to take him out before my ERA gets so bad that Pedro, Unit and Schill won't even save it. It could have been worse! Madson left with men on! Essentially, Mr. Madson, who was owned in 66 percent of ESPN leagues, was having a Brad Lidge season. Unhittable, lots of Ks, doesn't affect your start limit. Then he gets a spot start, and I imagine many of you - like me - activated him. I did utter this line on Monday to a co-worker: "I'll activate Madson for this week, since he has two starts, but I have a feeling it's not going to go well." Not go well? It went worse than that Parcells press conference. At least Madson threw strikes. OK, so what now? Already this morning, and this is amazing, 10.8 percent of Madson owners have dropped him. Not benched him, cut him. That's a ton in such a short time. I don't think I'd automatically punt. Madson was awesome before Tuesday. I bet he bounces back with 4 or 5 nice innings on Sunday at the Twins. He's young. It's one brutal outing. Let's try to move on. It won't be easy.

    Other articles:
    Yesterday's Buzz | Out of the Box
  • Hot/Not (Monday)
  • Forecast (Friday)
  • Closer Report (Thursday)
  • Waiver Wire Work (Thursday)
  • Quest. of Day (Thursday)

  • Buy: ESPN Insider | FFL '04
  • That Brewers-Angels game was amazing. As a fantasy owner, you cringe when you see a game that is 0-0 in the 17th inning, as if any of you on the East Coast were awake at 3 in the morning when it ended. It was, actually, a rather quick 17-inning affair. Anyway, unless you had Kelvin Escobar, Ben Sheets, Danny Kolb or Scott Podsednik, it was a bad boxscore. I have Jeff DaVanon and Raul Mondesi on one of my Madson teams, and they supplied a cool 0-for-14. Thanks, guys. Geoff Jenkins has been cut a little recently, and that will surely continue after his 0-for-7 with 6 Ks. ... Former Cy Young pitchers Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez allowed nothing last night. (Apparently, that flaw in Pedro's delivery has been fixed). Michael Tucker scored four runs. Michael Tucker? Scott Rolen hits two more homers, but no other Cardinals show up. The Yanks, Mets and Red Sox, the three teams in this Connecticut area I live in, were in games in which a total of seven runs were scored. In three games! And later we'll get to the closers. Just an odd night. ... I just traded Bobby Crosby to one lucky owner last week, which of course coincides with him deciding to cease striking out and go on a tear. Should we have expected this all along? Crosby, as has been pointed out often recently in Out of the Box, has only one strikeout in his last six games. In his last three games, he has eight hits and eight runs, and the ol' average is up 31 points. Add now, for this is a middle infielder with nine homers already, and climbing. I did get Mark Teixeira for Crosby in my trade, so I can't complain too much. But I think I will anyway. ...

    Scott Hairston

    Apparently the Hairston brothers, Scott (left) on Arizona and Jerry Jr. on Baltimore, had never faced each other in an organized game before. Father Jerry, an underwhelming extra outfielder for parts of 16 years in the 70-80s - almost all with the ChiSox - was even on hand to which his boys go 4-for-8 with a pair of runs scored. Both these Hairstons are interesting fantasy players right now. Scottie is looking very safe as the Diamondbacks leadoff hitter. He's got good power - projects at more than 20 at the big league level - but he's leading off here. He walks, he gets extra base hits - already four triples and three doubles to go with three homers in 19 games - and he scores runs. I think he keeps the job even when Roberto Alomar returns. (Only problem is he doesn't steal bases). His older brother Jerry is playing well also. Stole his seventh base last night, and is hitting .325. And really, he could bat at the top of the order as Brian Roberts is struggling. Both Hairstons appear available in many leagues. If you ask me about upside, I say Scott, for middle infield power is a nice thing to have. I remain worried about Jerry, but he's got the same amount of walks as Ks, a great sign. It's possible he's turned the corner. ... And now, like every day, the volumes of closer news. Frank Robinson changed his mind. Yesterday he half-ripped Chad Cordero by saying he wasn't ready to close, has no experience, has to learn another pitch, blah blah, and today it's announced that Cordero's the man. Makes sense. Luis Ayala, however, should be watched closely as well. He's now the setup man - I mean, what do you do with Rocky Biddle now? He's horrible. Can't be used in a close game - and would close if Cordero has a hiccup. Ayala won 10 games last season in middle relief. He could close. In Chicago, Billy Koch is officially out, but I believe in an Oakland sort of way. Ozzie Guillen WANTS Koch to close. Koch could and should pitch his way back into the role. For now, the dreaded committee. Cliff Politte got the first save, but oddly enough he's not in the committee. Just a weird game. Shingo Takatsu is the guy, but since lefties should hit him I'd bet Damaso Marte is involved here as well. In Cleveland, I can't imagine Jose Jimenez keeps getting save chances. He's not good. It's so disheartening to a team when a save is blown. And Jimenez has blown three of six. Time to re-consider Rafael Betancourt, I'd say.

  • First on Player Rater
    for past week
    Every day a new leader for the 7-day rater. Now it's Kelvim Escobar, who struck out 11 Brewers last night. Then it's Scott Rolen (Surprise!), Roger Clemens and the Delgado-like Scott Hatteberg. That's 13 RBI in four games for Hatteberg. Hard to believe.
  • And Last: Bartolo Colon is off the hook, a little. Down from first to seventh. Teammate Jarrod Washburn leads, with Aaron Cook and Ryan Madson next. Now how does Madson not lead? Cook was actually worse. Desi Relaford, Todd Walker and Daryle Ward are the worst hitters.
  • Tomorrow's Starters New day, New arms...
  • 25 percent-75 percent owned in ESPN FLB leagues (why discuss pitchers everyone already owns?): Kaz Ishii, Brett Myers and Jose Contreras are the only three options from 25-75 percent owned. All enticing, right? Well, I'd try Myers, despite the fact the White Sox tortured Madson so badly. His ratio is the same as Ishii, who has seven wins. Ishii makes it work, though. At Toronto, that's not so bad. Contreras only gets recommended because the Rockies don't hit a lick on the road. Maybe this will change that.

  • Under 25 percent owned: Is the bloom off the Aaron Sele rose? Against the Brewers, the other team that didn't score for 16 innings, why not add him. Kyle Lohse has been better, and the Mets don't hit either. And if you look up the stats for Tomo Ohka, you wouldn't believe how few people own him. Every start is a solid one. Oh, of course he doesn't win, but he's an Expo. I've added Ohka recently.

  • Sure, Michael Tucker isn't exactly a good fantasy player, but he's enjoyed his few weeks in the leadoff spot. Tucker has scored 18 runs in 68 at-bats as the leadoff guy and eight in the past four games. That's awfully impressive. Think Ray Durham could top that? Me neither.

    "You would think that if he's going to make a change, he would give it to someone who has had more experience than I do. But whatever he wants me to do, I'll just go out there and do my best. Everything is an opportunity."
  • Hey, Chad Cordero, do you want to close or not? You know, as a young fella you should realize that closers make all the dough, not setup men! And another quote from Rocky Biddle: "We don't have the same people we did last year and we've had a lot of injuries with the people we've picked up," Biddle said. "It's been a totally different year. I haven't been able to get in as much work as I did last year. But it's still a job to do and a role to fill. I haven't been filling it." Excuses, excuses.

    MAILIN' IT IN: Click here to send e-mail to Karabell...and they don't all have to be about potential trades. Just spout off, make a point, quickly and in few words, tell a joke, just no whining...
  • Question: What should be done with Morgan Ensberg? Will the power ever come back? How does a guy who hit 25 home runs last year hit ZERO for the first two and a half months of the season? Help. -- Tom in Cleveland
  • Eric: In a word, punt. There are many statistical anomalies right now, and Ensberg is one of the biggest ones. It can't be explained. He was supposed to go 30-100. He has zero homers. And he's not hitting many doubles either. He just lost all sense of a power stroke and 30 of his 40 hits are singles. Very, very odd. Yep, I'd cut him.

    TODAY'S USER RANT(S): from Mike in Union City, Calif.
    Joel Pineiro. Will his bad luck ever go away? He hasn't even pitched that badly. Before losing Tuesday night's gem to a sac fly, in the two previous starts he had given up a grand slam in each one. No grand slam and he would have given up 1 and 2 earned runs. Four of his last 6 starts have been quality starts in which he gave up, at most, two earned runs and his record is 0-4 in those starts. Will he get a second win this season? Thanks for reading my Pineiro rant. [Karabell: Excellent points here, and your research may have convinced me that Pineiro is a smart guy to add, for his bad luck has to end at some point.]

    Check out ESPN Fantasy Games Senior Editor Eric Karabell on ESPNEWS, in ESPN The Magazine, on the Fantasy Focus show on and of course on these fantasy pages of