We’ve all played in a lot of fantasy or gambling leagues for many sports for many years and I honestly cannot think of one league where the same guy has won it three years in a row. And yet, there Matt Suer was, in perfect position to seal a three-peat in our league. Matty started out well enough with nice starts from Maeda, Hendricks, and Ervin Santana to give himself the early pitching lead. Nobody besides Vin Scully was happier to see Clayton Kershaw on the mound and Kershaw was his usual uber-dominant self with a final Shocker Series line of 18 IP, 1 BB, 18 K’s, 2 QS, 0.00 ERA, and 0.44 WHIP. Sweet mother of God is he incredible at baseball. Big Papi was hitting farewell homers into opposing stadiumt bleachers, Freddie Freeman was killing everything, and Trea Turner was watching his 2017 fantasy draft stock soar through the roof with more tremendous baseball. Matty had himself a lead going into the second half of the series but he knew full well that he was up against the roto champion who built a stacked roster that would not go gently into that good night.
Arch was trying to maintain his composure but slow starts from Odor, Piscotty, and injuries to Bregman and Donaldson had Arch wondering if it was destiny for Matty to become the Shockers version of Tom Emanski with back-to-back-to-back AAU National Championships. Instead, Donaldson returned to the lineup, Gary Sanchez decided to start hitting a home run every game again, and Hanley Ramirez ignited his firestick. Verlander continued his impressive return to dominance with 18 K’s in this series and Zach Britton built on his career year by giving up zero runs, as usual, to go along with five saves for Arch. The tide had turned going into the final weekend and with Arch clinging to a 7-5-0 advantage on Sunday morning. Matty took a look at his boxscore, gave a hard stare at his well constructed roster, and knew it was time for Matty to take off his manager’s hat and put on his Tom Landry fedora and football coach his fantasy baseball team in order to earn a victory.
Matty dropped every pitcher not slated to start on Sunday and picked up as many probable pitchers as he could in order to gain the QS advantage. Matty was likely going to win the pitching K stat and was behind in the ERA and WHIP categories, so the logic to this strategy was sound. Arch had Julio Tehran slated to pitch for his team and he was a smart pitcher to bank on for Arch as all he needed was a QS and he would definitely win the QS category and very likely win the ERA and WHIP categories in the process. Instead, horrible tragedy struck with the truly depressing loss of Jose Fernandez, which cancelled the Braves-Marlins game and forced Arch to find a decent sub to get that clinching QS win that would likely get him a league title. Arch went with Matt Boyd, who has been pretty good all season long and even if Boyd didn’t get a QS, merely keeping the runs and hits in check would probably be enough to get the job done. Instead, Matt Boyd literally got zero batters out and exited his start with five earned runs given up, a very likely loss, and infinity ERA and WHIP, which probably sent Arch into cold sweats and spewing infinity curse words at his phone. The absolute worst case scenario had unfolded and Matt had a chance to pull off the impossible. All he needed were some quality starts from a bunch of hail mary pitching options but when pitchers like A.J. Cole, Finnegan, Eduardo Rodriguez, Colby Lewis, and Jharel Cotton were only able to secure one quality start, it meant Matty’s dream of another championship and Arch’s cold sweats began to evaporate. Arch gained the pitching advantage 4-2-0, which allowed him to win the Shocker Series 7-5-0. Wham, Bam, thank you Han-Ram. It kind of, sort of would have been lame to see our champion decided on a crazy Sunday of non-stop roster moves but you can’t say that it wasn’t an exciting Sunday to end the season. Both of these organizations should be applauded for their efforts in what was one of the best Shocker Series we’ve seen. Arch never could figure out how to simply add an image to the message board but he's definitely figured out how to build a winner and will have this fond image copied and pasted into his memory when he wrings out his champagne soaked championship t-shirt.