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Free baseball can be costly

Most days, fantasy owners embrace an extra-inning game, hoping for a bonus at-bat for their players and a chance to pick up some free stats. Wednesday night, fantasy owners may have been wishing the 19-inning game between the Phillies and the Reds stopped after nine.

While Ryan Howard and Jay Bruce were able to pick up solo home runs in the 10th frame, the 9 innings that followed proved to be a statistical nightmare, except for the 2% of owners that have Wilson Valdez (too bad his pitching stats don't count). Valdez picked up all three of his hits after the 10th inning, after previously going 0-for-3.

In fact, the teams combined for just six hits over the final nine innings, sending batting averages into free-fall.

Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each finished with dismal 1-for-8 performances. Scott Rolen, Ramon Hernandez and Brandon Phillips of the Reds combined to go just 2-for-21.

A closer look at the middle of the Phillies' order, especially in those last nine innings, shows just how poor of a fantasy night it was. The two through six spots in the lineup went 2-for-36 after Howard's home run in the 10th. I did the math, and that's a whopping .056 average.

Personally, I own Polanco, the one hitter on the Phillies I expected to thrive in the late innings. When I woke up to find out that he had finished the night with one hit in eight at-bats, I was more than disappointed. His average for the season went down nine points in that game to .323 on the season. In extra innings alone, Polanco's average dropped slightly over six points.

So while extra innings can make you feel like your players are getting extra chances, that is all they are. You need your player to take advantage of those chances, or what starts out as free baseball could wind up costing you.


Also, don't forget to sign up for tomorrow's Daily Fantasy Baseball Championship over on This is the third week of the competition and a chance at some serious cash. I'll be playing, so there's at least one person you can beat.

Matt Mullin is a sports producer at You can reach him by e-mail at Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin