“Have I been wrong, hypnotized, paralyzed, by what my eyes have seen,” sang Natalie Merchant the last time I saw her at Lilith Fair. As I lay there, on that hemp blanket, eating a homemade granola bar, I thought, “I’m buying whatever that Merchant is selling.” Sadly, I can’t have my soul enriched during these dastardly times by some female honkeytonks, unless I happen across something between my binge watching of Siesta Key. Then, yesterday, Nate Pearson (5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 5 Ks) was as good as Natalie Merchant and Siesta Key combined. Yo, my man went from a 99 MPH fastball that had Nats’ hitters bulging their eyes to a backdoor 77 MPH dipsy with poise of a 15-year vet. The 99 MPH fastball is enough, but his secondary command, just dropping pitches in. Go to the top of a mountain and let out a chef’s kiss. This was against the defending champs, and he was like en bee dee. Massively impressed by him during Spring Training in March just off a few clips, but watching him for five innings has me convinced:  He can be this year’s Chris Paddack. He should be owned in 100% of leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Juan Soto – Will return from the IL early next week since the Nats won’t be playing this weekend, due to the Marlins’ outbreak. Still good to have Sexy Dr. Pepper back. Now, if I could just get another twelve guys off my IL for undisclosed reasons and could have Soto play this weekend vs. a three-day spa vacay.

Stephen Strasburg – Will miss his 2nd start, or 20% of his starts. Lowercase yay.

Howie Kendrick – Out with upper back stiffness. “If it’s a lack of stiffness, I know a guy.” That’s Rafael Palmeiro.

Max Scherzer – 7 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 2.84. Ten years apart, Max has struck out Vlad Sr. and Jr. Still only 1-for-4 with three fly ball outs vs. wife and mother, Vlema.

Masahiro Tanaka – Will make season debut Saturday vs. the worst team to ever play baseball, the 2020 Red Sox. By the by, did you hear the Yankees next week might play all week vs. the Phils? The baseball schedule is so drunk this year.

Aaron Hicks – 1-for-3, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer. Sure glad I got him out of my lineups because of Covid cancellations.

DJ LeMahieu – 4-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer. Weird choice to start the year as Gleyber Torres, then change your name to DJ LeMahieu.

Aaron Judge – 2-for-3, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer. Just glad Judge is in action and not inaction or in jury.

Asher Wojciechowski – 5 IP, 4 ER, 6 baserunners, 7 Ks. Wojciechowski got jumped on early by the Yanks helped by two catcher interference calls by Severino. The Orioles should’ve at least given him a Chance.

Oliver Drake – 2/3 IP, 1 ER, ERA at 3.38, as he entered the game in the 6th. So, I bid $170 on Kyle Crick during the 1st FAAB, but that’s all right, I was able to move on from him with my $150 bid on Oliver Drake. *tapes nails to baseball bat, slams baseball bat into foot* So, I guess Nick Anderson…? Maybe. I don’t know, if I’m being honest.

Charlie Morton – 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 8.00. Here’s a thing, for guys who rely on velocity, they need velocity. If a guy never threw more than ninety-one, then it’s whatever for them. Morton needs to pump 94; he’s hitting 92. If you can get out of owning him on the back of this start in a trade, I would.

Freddie Freeman – 4-for-5, 3 RBIs and his 1st homer, and a triple short of the cycle. Or, as they say, the never-used Peloton cycle.

Mark Melancon – 1 IP, 0 ER and the save. Woo hoo! One guy I drafted actually got a save. In…pausing for emphasis…credible.

Nick Markakis – Will return to the Braves, because we can’t ever have anything nice for Austin Riley. A plague on the world and we can’t even get Austin Riley at-bats. I’m going to take a nap. *shuts eyes, three seconds later claps hands* I’m back! What did I miss?

Travis d’Arnaud – 1-for-3, 1 run, 1 RBI as he returned to the lineup. He didn’t miss too much time with an unknown reason.

JaCoby Jones – 3-for-3, 2 runs and his 3rd homer, hitting .421. Hot schmotato alert!

Jonathan Schoop – 1-for-3, 3 RBIs and his 2nd homer, hitting .273. Glad I held him. Not romantically. But, well, if he keeps hitting homers something can be arranged.

German Marquez – 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 8 Ks, ERA at 1.54. Hold onto ya Bundesligas, it’s German season! Maybe. He’s also faced two teams in favorable parks. If Coors, in August, plays like…what the hell are they calling the Rangers and A’s stadiums nowadays? We’ll say Arlington and Arselickington…then, sure, German’s back, but more likely these were favorable road starts, where the Nazi in Exile has always been good.

Matt Chapman – 1-for-4 and his 1st homer. Okay, now sneeze on Olson, he needs some–Wait, sneezing on someone right now isn’t a good look. Okay, put on your mask and social distance some juju Olson’s way.

Frankie Montas – 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 3 Ks, ERA at 3.00. He was followed in this game by Jesus Luzardo (3 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 5 Ks). As good as it is for Montas (and the A’s) to have a sexpot like Luzardo following, it’s as bad for Luzardo’s fantasy value.

Brandon Woodruff – 6 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 1.59. No lie, I had a few leagues with 20+ IP from three different starters, and zero earned runs. Sometimes, you’re living right. Sometimes, you’re wondering why Kyle Hendricks isn’t the greatest pitcher anymore.

Keston Hiura – 2-for-4 and his 2nd homer, and 2nd homer in as many games. Not to be greedy, but I need more!

Lance Lynn – 6 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 2 walks, 8 Ks, ERA at 0.00. Why didn’t I draft Lynn in every single league? I loved him in the preseason, and drafted him in some leagues — while the rest of you were drafting Ohtani — and, damn, I wish I had him everywhere.

Joey Gallo – 1-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 2nd homer, hitting .211. He’s gonna hit 30 homers in 60 games, isn’t he? Oh, and .200.

Nick Solak – 1-for-5, 1 RBI and two steals (1, 2), hitting .308. Also, in this game Isiah Kiner-Falefa stole his 1st two bags. Ain’t no thang, Falefa gives me the runs too.

Jose Leclerc – Couldn’t warm up because of tightness in his shoulder. About time a closer went down. I kid. Hayzeus Cristo with pens this year. Nick Goody got the clean save yesterday, and I grabbed him in one league, but Jonathan Hernandez might also get looks, or Jesse Chavez. When in doubt, bet on the guy who just got the save, Sam Goody’s brother.

Roberto Perez – Hit the IL with a sore shoulder. Behind the plate for the Indians now is Sandy Leon and Beau Taylor, who previously was Jimmy Stewart’s dog.

Zach Plesac – 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks, 11 Ks. There are no bad Cleveland pitchers. That’s the blurb. I streamed him last night, because the White Sox have looked wonky (aside from Lou Bob, of course), and no matter what the Streamonator says I’m holding Plesac for his next. By the by, in one league, I have a 1.50 ERA and 0.80 WHIP through 80 IP, and you need to draft top starters. Mmkay.

Brad Hand – 1/3 IP, 3 ER, ERA at 15.43. Game saw Hand with a pair of aces, and he lost with the flop.

Lucas Giolito – 6 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 6.52. He didn’t look a hundred but he was headed towards the butter store, and it’s better than last time.

Daniel Poncedeleon – 3 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 5 baserunners, 8 Ks, as he moved into the rotation. I know how the explorer Ponce de Leon felt when he went looking for Fountain of Youth and found Florida Man. A bit underwhelmed.

Rich Hill – 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 2 Ks in his 1st start. Hopefully right after the start they wrapped him in bubble wrap and put him in a moving box until his next start.

Taylor Rogers – 1 IP, 0 ER and the save, as Sergio Romo pitched the 7th. Screaming at the top of my lungs to my much younger self, “Where was Mr. Rogers last time?!” Well, not much younger, but Yesterday Grey. Guess you can lose Romo again. Hey, early season saves are a work in progress.

Madison Bumgarner – 5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA at 4.09. Didn’t love Bum going into Spring Training, Part 1, but I did back off that during the shutdown, because he felt like a guy who could have a solid 50-60 IP. Unfortch, his velocity has not looked good at all, and I would not be excited about what I’ve seen.

Sandy Alcantara – Is among players who tested positive, but, honestly, they’re up to like two-thirds of the team, so chances are everyone you own on the Marlins is positive. Put a mask over your Olde English and pour some out for the guys you’ve lost. In shallower leagues, you have to move on.

Yoenis Cespedes – 2-for-5, and his 2nd homer. This was a solo shot for Yo, so I guess YOLO.

Andres Gimenez – 2-for-4, 1 RBI. It’s so poetic Jose Reyes retired on the same day that the Mets’ future SS tripled in his 1st start. Beautiful poetry being written by Amed Rosario on the bench, apparently.

Pete Alonso – 4-for-4, hitting .250. They said he couldn’t hit for average. They also said, they don’t want him to hit for average. What are you, Luis Arraez?! Hit an Albombso!

Jacob deGrom – 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 1.64. First earned runs he’s given up in 31 1/3 IP. “That sounds like one start.” That’s Dusty Baker.

Christian Vazquez – 2-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 2nd homer. I should’ve just drafted this schmohawk in every league. He was so dirt cheap, but I tried to vary my catchers like I was getting points for freakin’ variety. It’s 2020; hindsight is guaranteed.

Mike Yastrzemski – 3-for-5, and his 1st and 2nd homer, hitting .409. The Giants are not a very good team. Red Sox bad? No, don’t be foolish. But Yaz Jr. Jr. is well worth owning in all leagues.

Donovan Solano – 2-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 1st homer, hitting .400. Worth cyclops’ing, but he’s usually, at best, an average bet. Do love that the Giants fought their way back to win, and give Rogers the win as he’s on my bench, or dropped everywhere. Great stuff, Fantasy Master Lothario! (Feel free to abbreviate it this once.)

Johnny Cueto – 3 2/3 IP, 4 ER, ERA at 5.87. Sigh. Goodbye. Get off the Albright All-Stars

Chris Paddack – 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 1.64. If you would’ve told me in December, I’d have an ERA of 1.64 for Paddack heading into August, I would’ve kissed you. Then for seven months I would’ve wondered if I was asymptomatic.

Manny Machado – 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 2nd homer. Race for NL MVP is tightening between Machado and Wil Myers.

Trent Grisham – 2-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 2nd homer, hitting .286. C’mon, you’re loving this guy, right? No? Yes? Are you talking to your computer? I can’t hear you.

Andrew Heaney – 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 2.79.  Streamonator liked this start. By the by, now that most pitchers are throwing more innings in the 2nd week, Streamonator is no longer throttled down due to tamped innings, so guys shouldn’t all be negative.

Shohei Ohtani – 1-for-5, 3 RBIs and his homer, hitting .158. He hit that one homer so well he must’ve imagined himself pitching.

Kyle Lewis – 3-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI, hitting .458. Only question now is if they waive the five-year period prior to Cooperstown.

Mike Moustakas – 1-for-2, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 2nd homer, as he was activated from the IL. Easy to focus on the Marlins and the shizzshow that is going with them, but it is encouraging that there’s been no other positive tests on 29 other teams, and Moustakas was IL’d with sniffles, but tested negative and is fine. I was worried about germs with a guy who went by Moistasskiss.

Sonny Gray – 6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 0.71. Member when I ranked him as an ace in my starter rankings and everyone was like, “His name isn’t even spelled the same, what’s with the love?” I drafted him everywhere; hope you listened.

Nick Castellanos – 2-for-3, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and his 2nd homer, hitting .381. When Nicholas went to Nick this year, he dropped the pleasantries when he lost the holas.

Nick Senzel – 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer, hitting .182. Reds have no shortage of Nicks, lucky they don’t play basketball.

Cristian Javier – 5 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 8 Ks in his 1st major league start. What an amazing start! Kidding, I have no idea because MLB’s blackout restrictions are the absolute stupidest. There’s no fans in the stadiums, you idiots! Here’s what Prospect Itch said, “(Javier) can be a dominant strikeout force. I suspect anyone who gets him around his ADP of 719.95 in Draft Champions leagues will get at least one useful week out of him, but that’s not why I like him here. He’s got tremendous upside in a short burst with two plus breaking balls. Hitters will need time to adjust to Javier’s unique skill set, and they won’t get that this year. Also, Grey sucks.” What the eff, dude! So, Javier’s 1st game looked good, and Itch likes him. I’d buy that for 70 cents (out of $10. So out of $100, I guess $7).

George Springer – Out with a sore knee. *insert “You’re such a cry baby” face from Joe Kelly*

Joe Kelly – Suspended for eight games because he made a face at the Astros, who cheated to win the World Series, and didn’t receive any player suspensions. Kelly wasn’t suspended for throwing at Alex Bregman. If the suspension was for throwing at someone’s head, why wasn’t Joe Kelly ejected immediately? Give me one good faith argument, and umpires being bad at job isn’t good faith. So, Joe Kelly was suspended for what is the equivalent of 22 games of a regular season for making a face; think about that. Players are encouraged to be themselves, have fun — let the kids play, they say — and a guy makes a stupid face and is suspended for eight games. Rob Manfred is a disgrace.