#1 Tenniballs to the Wall vs. #8 Dark Helmets
There's a philosophy in fantasy football which is just find a way to get into the playoffs and give yourself a chance. While we've seen plenty of upsets in fantasy football, it does benefit fantasy baseball owners to climb up the ladder whenever possible because that improves your chances come playoff time, which makes the regular season meaningful. This was the case for Arch and Rickey as they couldn't really get better than an 8 seed throughout the year and it cost them in the playoffs. The Dark Helmets actually played really well and probably would've advanced against any other team but unfortunately for them they were up against the 1 seed and that 1 seed played just like a 1 seed in round 1. Jerome and Arch have a friendly beer bet going on throughout the season and this 11-0-1 final score is the latest dominating performance for the commish over Arch, who had bitter beer face each and every time these two played each other. I don't have the time or the inspiration to check the all time head to head records but I have to think that Jerome's 32-3-1 record against Arch this year is the best of all time in this league. Corey Dickerson is a big reason Jerome was able to advance as his .327/5/15 slash line was the latest surprising performance for this nice sleeper outfielder in 2014. This whole thing has to be a bummer for Arch as he played well enough to advance but we learned that the regular season does mean something as if they win a couple more games during the regular season, they probably get a better seed in the playoffs, and probably are still playing meaningful fantasy baseball today.
#4 Piss on the Ball vs, #5 Stroke My Shaft
Nothing encapsulated Zach's season better than this playoff series against Kevin Petty. Zach does have some nice talent on this roster and definitely is capable of playing great fantasy baseball but there was always something missing throughout the year for this team that held them back. Zach would tease an overall victory every 48 hours or so in this playoff matchup but he could never get over the hump. Stroke My Shaft would get close and then go 2 for 22 with the bats or one of his pitchers would get lit up and inevitably prevent Zach from advancing. I have to give Kevin credit for his win as well because if you look at his pitching rotation, you will not be impressed but Kevin definitely pressed all the right buttons the past two weeks with grabbing guys like Peavy, Vogelsong, Oberholtzer, and Fiers and watching them help the cause. Petty also picked up Chris Carter who can help or kill a fantasy team for long stretches but if he's seeing the ball well, he's going to smack the fuck out of it. Consider him a black, right handed Adam Dunn, which Kevin is all too familiar with. Zach let me know early and often that his team was losing to a bunch of mercenaries but while you could argue that Zach's roster is stronger than Kevin's, you have to give K.P. credit for making some very smart GM and coaching moves to make it to the final four.
#3 Ninja Blacksox vs. #6 Head First Dumb Fucks
We know by now that Castillo has a great pitching staff, which is still true, but if his hitters hit like they did the last two weeks, this team is going to be quite hard to defeat. The pithing stayed strong as they usually do but the fact that Castillo won five of six batting categories is why he was able to waltz into the semifinals. Nobody deserves a harder pat on the back than Justin Upton, who has boatloads of physical ability but has never turned out to be a top five slugger that a lot of experts predicted three years ago. Upton was flashing his natural abilities throughout this entire playoff series and his .346/4/19 triple slash is proof that his dude can still turn it on occasionally. Castillo's bullpen was oddly terrible this series but his rotation is strong enough to compensate and lift this team when needed. It's almost alarming when Felix Hernandez doesn't dominate every batter and while he looked almost human this series but was picked up by Lance Lynn, who pitched just like King Felix with two quality starts and a 0.67 ERA. Jeff Petty realized he would have to give max effort to win some pitching categories and even tough the fired off all bullets, it wasn't enough to make this matchup interesting down the stretch. Jeff didn't make a bunch of stupid pickups at all but he just couldn't do enough to overtake our best pitching team. I'm sure Jeff hates Bryce Harper even more now that he finally started hitting the ball hard and Yu Darvish landed on the DL at the exact wrong time and this is an example of a trade that looked great when it was made but didn't turn out as expected. Salt in the wound for Jeff was Gregory Polanco getting sent down the day after J. Petty was eliminated, which is a signal of tremendous talent still trying to figure it all out, which is what this team did all year. This is another example of the better team winning out and is an example of how good Castillo's team can be if the bats stay hot and the pitchers do what they usually do.
#2 Harry Doyle vs. #7 Fightin' Buck Showalters
I could see it in Meyer's eyes and he definitely acknowledged the fact that his final regular season 0-12-0 performance was a killer for his overall chances of winning a championship. Meyer's team was better than his 7 seed spot but his final week led to playing arguably our best fantasy team, which ended as you thought it might. The Showalters played pretty well but there's not much you can do when you're up against a bunch of pitchers with the caliber that Matt Suer is tossing out lately. I mean what can you do against a team that has a 2.14 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP for two weeks? Absolutely nothing. Lucas Duda was a big reason Meyer beat Matty a few weeks ago and Duda was back to smashing balls in Queens, NY but he can only do so much to beat a better fantasy team that is Harry Doyle. I don't know if this was the plan for Matty but I received plenty of trade proposals with Starling Marte involved and I declined them all but Starling Marte played out of his anus lately, which helped make Matt thankful that he held onto this Pittsburgh left fielder. Matt has had a little tough luck so far and he's got one hell of a fantasy team so it's appropriate that Matt finally had a relaxing weekend while his fantasy team sealed the deal in round one.
Alrighty, time for a quick semifinal preview.
#1 Tenniballs to the Wall vs. #4 Piss on the Ball
These dudes make a lot of roster moves and we should expect Kevin to mix things up a bit and Jerome to try to counter if need be. The commish has a better team on paper but there's no question that Kevin has his ear to the ground, listening for any potential advantage. As the deal usually is with Kevin, we'll have to wait and see what streaming pitchers he chooses because his rotation as is should be and will be adjusted before this matchup is over. If Kevin can make wise moves and if Chris Carter can continue to bash balls over the fence, Kevin will definitely have a chance but if Jerome's team plays like they did in round one, it won't matter much what Kevin does with his roster because DeFelice should advance.
Prediction: Tenniballs to the Wall wins 7-5-0
#2 Harry Doyle vs. #3 Ninja Blacksox
Like it or not, baseball is all about the pitching lately and this matchup will display some tremendous pitching that should be fun to watch. Castillo's team can definitely hang with Matty when it comes to the pitching stats but we'll have to see if the Blacksox can stay hot with the wood, which will make all the difference. Matt Suer doesn't need to make any panic moves as he's got a roster that is more than capable to advance but the first seven days of this matchup will be super interesting to watch because if Yo gets the upper hand, it might force Matty to make some pressure decisions. This should be a really good matchup from start to finish and while Matty probably has the better overall team, Castillo has the ammunition to make this battle go down to the last day.
Prediction: Harry Doyle prevails 6-5-1
Well, I know the audience has shrunk for these silly fantasy recaps but the good news is that the best four teams are still alive and it will be really fun to see who is still standing in two weeks of quality fantasy baseball.