All is well in Yankee-town (a crazy place where Santa is a floating image of George Steinbrenner), as C.C. Sabathia finally won a game. Sabathia went 7.1 innings with seven K’s. Francisco Liriano was his usual terrible self, while Andruw Jones continued killing lefties. Josh Willingham hit his fifth HR (for those of you who own him in a HR-only league, pat yourselves on your back). Alex Rodriguez was the only Yankee without a hit.
Ricky Romero got an admirable win against the Rays, giving up a surprising homer against Matt Joyce. While Joyce has horrid splits against lefties, Romero actually has a reverse platoon split, so that all made sense. Jose Bautista seems to be back in the swing of it: he went 2/2 with a homer and two RBIs. Aside from Joyce and Carlos Pena, the Rays line-up was somewhat punchless, accounting for just two extra base hits. The two-hole must be real comfortable for Pena and he even put a bunt down against the shift. It’s unlikely he repeats 2007, during which he hit .282, but he could bat .250 and suddenly he’s a lot like Adam Dunn.
Jon Lester threw 80 pitches against the Texas Rangers and didn’t make it out of the third inning. He allowed seven runs, my word. Still, he’ll never be this bad again, I’d be willing to bet almost anything on it. Mark Melancon gave up another HR and until he comes near a clean frame is a distant cousin to the save chance. Unfortunately, David Murphy got the day off against a lefty, so he was the only Ranger left out of the key party.
The Baltimore Orioles are now 7-4, for reals! Nolan Reimold continued his hot hitting and looks like a legit 20-10 candidate. The average won’t be particularly palatable, but the power and speed combination sure look real. In addition, with Endy Chavez being, well, Endy Chavez, Reimold is inching closer and closer to full time at bats (something the Orioles have been hesitant to give him for no real logical reason). Wei-Yin Chen threw a ton of strikes, got a handful of K’s and scattered 8 runners over 5.1 IPs for the W. It’s nice what he’s doing now, but wait until there’s a book on him and he faces tougher line-ups. If you can sell, I would. Jim Johnson issued two walks in the ninth, but got out of the inning unscathed for his fifth save. Kudos to him. Addison Reed pitched another low leverage inning. He looks to be behind Jesse Crain at this point. I wish there was a show called “That’s so Robin.”
This just in: Greg Holland is not superman and Jonathan Broxton got a little more air between his collar and neck(fat). Octavio Dotel got the win, Joaquin Benoit the hold and Jose Valverde the save – just how they drew it up? At least Valverde pitched a relatively easy ninth (only one base runner allowed). Andy Dirks DH’d and batted ninth and was pinch hit for, which is so odd for so many reasons. In really deep leagues, Dirks could be someone to watch as he has been the best of the DH bunch so far.
One K, one GIDP, two hits and two RBIs for Yoenis Cespedes. While he’s off to a relatively hot start he’s hitting just .243. The power is real but he might not hit above .250 this season at any point, ever. Meanwhile Albert Pujols just can’t handle American League pitching, as a smattering of cast-off Oakland pitchers held him to just one hit. Come on, I’m kidding. He’ll be fine. Dan Haren threw well, although it didn’t show up in the K department, at least he got a lot of ground balls. Vernon Wells went deep because everyone went deep last night. In all reality, Wells has real power, he just can’t get on base. There are formats where that’ll play.
In the fourth inning, the Mariners scored six runs; in the fifth inning, the Indians scored 7 runs. Each team only hit one HR. Small ball…it rhymes! Kevin Millwood, who I still sort of like, was horrendous, but Justin Masterson was worse. He threw 39 of his 71 pitches for strikes and gave up 11 base runners in 3.2 innings. He’s clearly on the watch list and needs to remember not to walk left handed batters. That’s the only way he can limit their damage against him. Trading Carlos Santana for Casey Blake, so bad in hindsight, and, also, at the time.
Only nine hits in the Astros-Nationals contest as Wandy Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez battled it out. Both were terrific in their own ways: Wandy limited base runners and Gio racked up the K’s. Brad Lidge allowed a base hit and walk, threw just 10 of his 19 pitches for strikes, got two fly balls outs, but got the save. Henry Rodriguez can outdo that. It’s a real see-saw battle, but I’m putting 59% of my backing to Rodriguez.
Fresh off getting paid, Madison Bumgarner sort of earned the money: eight base runners in six innings, but only two K’s. Sergio Romo got the hold and Santiago Casilla got the save. If this is a committee, its name is Santiago Casilla. In other news, Joe Blanton pitched poorly and isn’t very good, streamable in a very non-sexy sort of way though. Angel Pagan got two hits and a run and Buster Posey stole a base, go figure. Brandon Belt was off in the sandbox figuring something out as Aubrey Huff went 1/4 and is batting .207 on the young year.
While Johan Santana threw a lot of strikes, they were all hittable. Certainly a handful of Met errors didn’t help. But Santana was finished after just 1.1 IPs. Juan Francisco who should get decent playing time at 3B (as long as the Braves can stomach some horrendous D) went yard for the first time. Randall Delgado pitched alright, but threw a ton of balls and escaped by walking just three. He’ll be decent here and there, but he’s not an every start guy. Meanwhile, Jason Heyward went 1/4 with a stolen base and is now hitting .361. It’s early but, as a baseball fan, this makes me happy.
Ryan Dempster keeps on rolling: he gave up two unearned runs and struck out eight batters. Popular closer sleeper Rafael Dolis threw 16 of his 29 pitches for balls and was unimpressive. He’s a year away folks. Heath Bell, mercifully, pitched a clean ninth. His job wasn’t really in jeopardy but man he looked awful. Heck, he even threw in a strike-out. Hanley Ramirez went deep and Omar Infante hit a double, or as the locals call it: Marlins baseball.
Javy Guerra finally blew a save. Of course, if you listened to me/us, we guaranteed Kenley Jansen would be the closer by now. Guerra still has a relatively long leash, but Jansen did throw a scoreless eighth: two K’s in 11 pitches (10 strikes). Yovani Gallardo looked a lot like that awesome pitcher named Yovani Gallardo and Carlos Gomez stole a base. Meanwhile Nyjer Morgan is now hitting .125. It’s all a mirage but Gomez’s .350 batting average and solid defense is starting to look good. In NL-only leagues, he’s not a bad speculative add.
The Cincinnati Reds lost an extra innings game in which neither Aroldis Chapman nor Sean Marshall pitched. Carlos Beltran went yard and, if healthy, remains a top fantasy option. He’s a perfect outfielder for shallower leagues with solid OFs on the waiver wire. Zack Cozart was the only Red to get a hit with a runner in scoring position. I liked him more than most coming into the year, but if you can get $0.90 on the dollar jump for joy.
Jamie Moyer got the win and Dexter Fowler hit a homer, just the way the Rockies drew it up. In all seriousness, it’s good to see Fowler starting to hit – there’s a lot of knee jerk reactioness in the Rockies organization and Fowler earned himself some more playing time. Rafael Betancourt allowed a run in a messy ninth, but collected his third save. He has a 1.80 ERA. Rex Brothers has been better, but that’s rarely germane to closer discussions.
J.J. Putz owners (that aren’t also Diamondbacks fans) breathed a sigh of relief last night as Bryan Shaw got tagged with the loss in the top of the ninth. In a non-save chance, he allowed three hits and the winning run. Andrew McCutchen had a filthy game: 4/5 with two runs. Chris Young hit a double and is still mashing. He was mashing last year before he suffered a hand injury. I love Chris Young.
There must have been something in the air last night as Jason McDonald and Jason Donald hit homers. By my count, 11 million baseball players hit dingers last night.