By Jesse Pantuosco, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - During the film "Heavyweights," Ben Stiller canceled lunch due to "lack of hustle."
In a similar development, 17 major league baseball games have already been canceled this season.
Shockingly, Stiller has had nothing to do with any of these cancellations (as far as we know).
The real culprit has been Mother Nature.
To be fair, it's not all that unusual for games to be affected by weather early on in the season. Last April, MLB pulled the plug on eight games because of poor playing conditions.
But 17? That's just bananas.
We've seen blizzards in Denver, downpours in Baltimore, 40 mph wind gusts in Chicago (guess that's why they call it the Windy City) and even some freezing rain in Minneapolis.
Fenway Park, the site of 794 consecutive sellouts between 2003 and 2013, was a ghost town the other night as temperatures dipped into the low 40s. The few who attended were probably just there to collect their two-for-one hot dogs.
The nightmarish conditions over the past few weeks have had a drastic impact on fantasy teams.
David Wright owners watched in horror as the Mets had three games postponed in a span of four days.
Those who drafted Joe Mauer have been just as unfortunate. The Twins were canceled four times over a nine-day window earlier this month.
And how about Carlos Gonzalez owners? Gonzo and the Rockies have had to play two double-headers in the last week to make up for all of their postponements.
You might be asking, "What's the use getting bent out of shape over a few rain-outs?" After all, they do make up all the games.
Baseball players, as you all know, are creatures of habit. If you disrupt their routine even the tiniest bit, the results can be disastrous. That's probably why the Mets lost three in a row following their snow-induced two-day layoff at the beginning of last week.
Double-headers, though a treat for fans, can be exhausting for the players who have to compete in them. Just ask Baltimore's trio of Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones.
All three played a crucial role in Saturday afternoon's 7-5 win over the Dodgers (4-for-9, three RBI). Then fatigue set in and each fell flat in a disappointing nightcap (2-for-11).
Most managers have learned to anticipate this fatigue factor in the second game of a double-header. That's why the Rockies rested star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for the night portion of April 16th's double-dip at Coors Field. In the opposite dugout, power-hitting Mets first baseman Ike Davis was also benched after competing in the matinee.
Had the games been spaced out normally, it's likely that neither player would have gotten the day off. So in essence, fantasy owners are losing four at bats almost every time a player participates in a double-header.
Catchers are especially susceptible to this phenomenon. In the five double- headers we've seen this season, no catcher has started both games, though Mauer and Jarrod Saltalamacchia did appear as designated hitters later in the evening.
The one good thing about double-headers, at least for opposing hitters, is that rarely will you have to face two dominant pitchers on the same day. After Ryan Dempster tossed seven innings in the opener Sunday at Fenway Park, Boston turned to the unproven Allen Webster in Game 2 of the double-header. Webster could have done a lot worse (6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER) but he still got knocked around pretty good by Kansas City's Alex Gordon (3-for-5 with two extra base hits and an RBI).
The Mets used a similar strategy in their double-header last week, employing long relief man Aaron Laffey after starting Dillon Gee in Game 1. Neither option panned out (4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER for Gee, 4 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 2 ER for Laffey) and Laffey has since been claimed off waivers by Toronto.
Though double-headers and rain-outs can be a nuisance, not all players and teams who come from cold weather cities are poison for fantasy.
Quite the contrary. The Rockies (.280), Tigers (.274), Yankees (.262), Mets (.251) and Red Sox (.250) are all ranked in the top half of the league in batting this season. Torii Hunter (.392) is leading the AL in hitting in spite of Detroit's chilly climate and Mauer (.366) isn't too far behind.
Alas, the cold weather epidemic will eventually end (even in Colorado) and soon we'll all be complaining about how hot it is. In fact, tomorrow's high temperature in Denver will be 61 degrees. See ... it's summer already!
04/24 18:55:29 ET