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Sunday 28th May 2017

In A Day at the Races, the 1937 Marx Brothers classic comedy, Groucho is a veterinarian who poses as a doctor to save a struggling sanitarium. Ours is also a race, albeit a six-month long one.

While we do not have to resort to Groucho shenanigans to win it, we must keep a constant eye on the health of our teams and on the waiver wire for newly promoted players. In my case, I tend to pick my sixth and last pitcher at the end of an auction when money has run out with intention to replace him as soon as feasible once the season starts. As of the end of April, I have replaced Matt Shoemaker, my sixth drafted pitcher, and Chris Bassitt, my fifth hurler. Bassitt was lost for the season to Tommy John surgery.

Justin Nicolino and Michael Fulmer were picked up to replace Bassitt and Shoemaker on my roster. Sadly, Jose Berrios was already owned. Nicolino was a no-brainer as I prefer NL pitchers to those from the AL. Fulmer was a question mark in my mind because the Athletics promoted Sean Manaea around the same time. Manaea has better minor league numbers but Fulmer plays for a team that may provide him with more wins. If you need pitching, any one of these four players deserves to be owned.

My fourth drafted pitcher was Garrett Richards, also lost for the season. Richards was replaced on my roster by Hector Neris. The pick-up paid off immediately, as Neris gave me a win last week. Neris will help any team’s ERA and WHIP and might even contribute in the saves department down the road. If you are desperate for saves, check if Neris is available.

Felix Hernandez, my third drafted pitcher, was on the mound in Oakland last Wednesday. I went to the game because it was a good opportunity to see him and to observe Manaea, who was pitching for the A's. You need to know that the morning of the game, the local papers wrote that the A’s forgot how to hit. The A’s chased off King Felix in the fifth inning after scoring six runs. I should have stayed home. On a side note, Manaea's performance was barely acceptable.

I chose Wednesday’s game over Tuesday because Sonny Gray, my second drafted pitcher, was Oakland's Tuesday starter. I wanted to avoid watching him. There is a possibility that there could be something wrong with Gray right now. I have not seen any official news, but I would not accept a trade with him in the offer until we know more.

And my top pitcher, the highest priced one on my team? David Price, the Boston ace. I know that it is early, and that the season is long, but I need something that will perk me up, anything that will put me in a better mood. Maybe I should watch a comedy. I think that tonight I am going to stream A Day at the Races.

Follow Pasko on Twitter @varnica123. His writing about sports in ancient Roman times can be found at Sport in Antiquity.

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