Friday, May 9, 2008

Managing interleague play

Well, interleague play is almost upon us. I'm not much of a purist, and I like NL v. AL matchups. Sometimes, though, you can have too much of a good thing. Interleague play is a novelty, but it can be a novelty that severely unbalances schedules. One team may get numerous games against patsies, while another gets stuck playing AL East/Central powerhouses.

I have proposed, and continue to propose, a 10-game limit on interleague play. I'd like to see a four-game series involving each team's "natural" rival (each team gets two games at home). Then, one three-game series of "historic" importance. Recreate a memorable World Series or feature two teams that haven't played before . . . or in decades. For the final three game series, have each NL division face one AL division -- with the sixth NL Central team playing the leftover squad that doesn't have an AL West opponent to face. Rotate divisions every year.

Considering that the World Series home-team-advantage rule (also known as WSHTAR) makes the All-Star Game somewhat relevant, let me say that I think WSHTAR needs to be modified. If the two teams in the World Series met up during interleague play, whoever won that series should get home-field advantage.

In terms of managing interleague play from the fantasy perspective, thankfully the list of "true" DHs who are going to turn into pitch hitters is relatively small, although you're going to see at-bats shrinking across the board for guys like David Ortiz. Even players who are inserted at first base are going to get pulled for pinch runners and defensive replacements more frequently. And, if you do have a guy like Jim Thome, you're going to need to replace him.

There's not much to do at this point. On draft day, you should have known better than to load up on DHs. If you have Ortiz and Trafner (who you may not mind benching at this point), maybe consider more seriously a trade offer involving one of them. If you have a shallow bench, just be prepared to work a little bit harder. You'll need to check your lineup on a daily basis to see who's getting playing time.

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