This morning’s rant is for all the owners who took it up the ace on Sunday. It’s one thing when your ace is pitching @TEX or @COL but home against Cleveland where David Price gave up 8 ER and 13 baserunners in 5 IP? Ouch. Home against an Ortiz-less Boston offense (RA Dickey – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 12 baserunners – the first 5 runs coming before an out was recorded)? Damn. Home against the Kansas City Royals (Cole Hamels - 5.2 IP, 8 ER 13 baserunners)? Oof! Home against a Holliday-less Cardinal team at one of the pitching-friendliest parks in baseball (Matt Cain - 3.2IP, 9 ER, 9 baserunners)? C’mon, that’s just cruel! For those of you in H2H leagues, consider yourselves lucky. At least these starts are expunged from the record. As for Roto players who own these guys, not much you could do now except turn down the perfunctory ‘buy low’ trade offers. Price, Hamels and Cain all have great track records so you have to assume these games were anomalies. Dickey….who the hell knows? Knuckleballs are like snowflakes – I don’t really understand either of them. Why wouldn’t snow fall in balls or, at the very least, in a uniform shape? (Rhetorical – please don’t explain this phenomenon). On to the other events of the weekend….
Will Middlebrooks - 4-for-5 with 3 HRs, 4 R, 4 RBI with the first 2 HRs off of Dickey and the 3rd off of Bush. The Jays figured it out by his final AB and kept French-Canadian Jean Balzac in the ‘pen.
Stephen Strasburg - Almost made the lead paragraph but his name is less punny and he managed to give up only 6 ERs (albeit 13 baserunners) in 5 1/3 IP @CIN. He was great in his first start….but that was against the
AAAstros M-AAArlins and he only had 3 Ks in 7 IP. Put him on a pitch count!
Jered Weaver - Yet another blech ace (5 IP, 5 ER, 11 baserunners, 2 Ks) but at least he had the excuse of pitching @TEX. He may have strained his elbow during the start and he can ill-afford to lose any velocity or control. Maybe 2013 will finally be the year I feel smart for not drafting Weaver.
Jose Fernandez – 5 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, and 8 Ks in his first major league start @NYM. “That’s some Miami Heat” said the retired Daily News backpage titler to nobody in particular at the Boca Raton Waffle House. (Here’s Grey’s ‘buy’ post on him from Friday – that’s on J-Fer not the Daily News retiree, btw).
Justin Upton – J-Up on Saturday with his 4th and 5th HRs on the year (the latter a walkoff against Marmol). J-Down on Sunday with 4 K’s in 4 ABs. I can think of 29 teams that could live with that tradeoff. I just wish I played in a fantasy league against Josh Towers and Kirk Gibson.
Greg Holland – The Phillies smoked the Dutch Masters with a Marmolesque blown save 3 ER (3 BB, 1 double) and then a couple of 2-out hits that brought the winning run to the plate on Sunday (and Kelvin Herrera into the game). It wasn’t a great sign of support that he got yanked on Sunday while they still had the lead but I think Holland will be given more rope (maybe 2 more blown saves) before Yost pulls the closer switch.
Kelvin Herrera – As mentioned above, Herrera got the save bailing out Holland. Too bad he wasn’t around when Eurozone bailed out Greece. He’s a solid MR to handcuff with if you own Holland as he flashed a solid K-rate (8 K/9) and control (~2 BB/9) last year. Will take a few more Holland blown saves before Kelvin turns the temperature to a boiling 373 degrees but his chances of getting saves this year are definitely greater than absolute zero.
Jose Bautista - Missed Friday through Sunday with a sprained ankle. C’mon, Canadian health care system, can’t you bandage up a sprained ankle?
Trevor Bauer - Got the start on Saturday and settled down okay after walking the first 4 batters on the Rays (2 hits, 3 BBs in 5 IP after that albeit with only 2 Ks). The Indians were surprised as his bullpen session was great – he was hitting the LF right in the chest during his warmup tosses from RF.
Ryan Braun - Missed Friday through Sunday with neck spasms. Can someone do the ‘Brady Bunch test’ to make sure he’s not faking? I wonder if it came from looking over his shoulder at the MLB main office.
Jon Lester – Lester’s luster has returned though I’m not sure how much of that is due to good fortune vs. the return of his pitching coach John Farrell. Starting the year @NYY and @TOR sure sounded a lot worse in February. After a solid start @NYY, he pitched a beaut against the Bautista-less Blue Jays (7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 6 Ks). I steered clear of him this year after he anchored (in the bad way) a few of my pitching staffs last year but he sure feels like a solid ‘bounceback” draft pick right now.
Albert Pujols - The plantar fasciitis is still impacting his running but he showed positive signs with the 2 HRs on Saturday (he didn’t hit his first HR last year until May) and 7 walks in 6 games (3 of those intentional) after seeing his BB rate crater over the last two years. Maybe the arrival of Josh Hamilton has taught him to loosen up and have a good time.
Lance Berkman - Hit his first HR of the year on Sunday and is rocking a .400+ AVG and .500+ OBP after 6 games. Fat Elvis lives!
Jeff Samardzija – Anytime he K’s more batters than letters in his name, you know you’ve gotten a good start. The 13 Ks are sweet. Too bad they came without a win or a QS for that matter (5 2/3, 4 ER, 8 baserunners). The oddest part about the 13 strikeouts wasn’t the opponent (the Braves will probably end up top-3 in MLB in K’s) but that he managed to do it without striking out BJ Upton. That’s like dining at Taco Bell and managing to only eat the meat and avoiding all the filler.
Brett Anderson - Struck out 10 Astros on Sunday, managing to make contact with at least 13 of their batters’ bats (they might’ve had some foul balls). Maybe having the Astros in the division will inspire him to clear 100 IP this year.
Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp - Both A’s hitters homered Saturday and Sunday while Reddick and Cespedes went a combined 0-for-14. That’s exactly what we predicted would happen in the preseason (um, no need to look through our rankings and projections and posts….)
Josh Reddick - Sprained his wrist against the Astros. May miss a couple games. He also scraggled his beard but isn’t expected to miss time because of that.
Mark Reynolds - Rapped 2 HRs on Sunday to give him 4 for the year. He’s a must-own in OBP leagues (he has solid walk rates) and in leagues fueled by wind power.
Carlos Santana – 5 for 5 with a double, HR, 3 Runs, and 3 RBIs against the Rays on Sunday. Raye como va!
John Axford – Why did we draft this schmohawk on so many of our teams? He now has 4 HRs in 3 appearances – that’s a bad sign even for a starting pitcher. The Brewers don’t have a great plan B (the Muppeteer Jim Henderson) so Axford will be given a few more chances. At least he was throwing the ball in the mid-90′s yesterday after dipping to 92 MPH a couple days ago. I definitely wouldn’t release him but I’d stash him on the bench if your team isn’t desperate for saves.
Freddie Freeman - Hits the 15-day DL with a strained oblique. Freeman voiced over his wishes to keep playing but, at the end of the day, Atlanta owns his rights. Hopefully the Braves’ warden isn’t obtuse about his oblique and grants his pardon.
Yu Darvish - Got the win after a so-so start (5 IP, 3 ER, 10 baserunners, 6 Ks) cut short due to a blister issue. Luckily it was a night game as Darvish might’ve gone wild otherwise (or wilder…he had 4 walks).
Dexter Fowler - He hit his 4th HR of the year on Sunday (albeit netting 5 RBIs) and managed his first SB of the year. If you can convince someone he’s a 30/30 candidate, trade him before his performance gets fowler.
Justin Masterson - Held Tampa scoreless in 7 IP with 5 baserunners and 8 Ks for his 2nd win of the year. He’s never going to have pinpoint control but I like him a lot for streaming matchups (particularly at home). I’m just glad he didn’t go the sitcom acting route like his brothers.
Adrian Gonzalez - Went 3-for-4 on Sunday with 4 RBIs and is now hitting .400 on the year. Until he shows any sort of real power (he has 0 HRs so far), I consider him a glorified Lyle Overbay (when Overbay was in his prime).
CC Sabathia – Bounced back well from a bad opening day start to throw 7 scoreless innings @DET. If I had to nitpick, I’d mention the 4 Ks and that he still isn’t throwing at his normal speed. If I had to nitpick, I would choose a monkey vs. a person since nits are lice eggs and monkeys have a harder time opening mayonnaise jars than humans.
Josh Hamilton – The Texas homecoming didn’t go so sweet (3 for 13 with a double) but he did manage to break his 5-game K streak on Sunday. Take that, booing Texas fans.
Billy Butler – Billy had a buttload of RBIs (7) on Sunday off 2 hits – the big hit being a grand slam off Hamels. I think he just heard the Denny’s waitress wrong when she was mentioning the breakfast meat options.