2012 Fantasy Baseball: Pitchers Come Out of the Gate Smoking Hot on Opening Day

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Hope you had a starting pitcher going on Thursday. Just about any one will work. 
Most of the Opening Day aces lived up to their billing on the first full day of the baseball season. 

Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander proved they are still the best pitchers in fantasy baseball by tossing eight scoreless innings apiece. Halladay shut down the Pirates while Verlander kept Boston scoreless. Johan Santana showed he may be ready to once again join the list of elite starters with five scoreless innings against the Braves while Atlanta's Tommy Hanson gave up one run in five innings.

Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Dempster faced off in a pitchers duel with Dempster giving up one run in 7 2/3 innings while Strasburg gave up one in seven innings. 

Johnny Cueto showed last year was no fluke as he tossed seven scoreless innings against Miami. Jon Lester got the year off to a good start as he gave up one run in seven innings and Justin Masterson gave up one run in eight innings. Erik Bedard was solid in defeat for the Pirates, allowing one run in seven innings. 

Last year's NL Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw, also did not give up a run, but he left after only three innings due to sickness. 

It was not such a good day for closers as Carlos Marmol gave up one run in one inning and Jose Valverde allowed two runs in one inning but got a victory. The worst line for a closer came from Chris Perez, who gave up three earned runs in 2/3 of an inning for Cleveland. 

A couple of relievers who moved from the American League to the National League picked up a save as Jonathan Papelbon threw a perfect inning for Philadelphia and Frank Francisco was perfect in an inning for the Mets. 

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Brad Lidge emerged as Washington's closer while Drew Storen is hurt and he got a save. Any doubts about the Dodgers' closer went away when Kenley Jansen pitched the eighth inning and Javy Guerra came on to get a save in the ninth. 

While pitching dominated the day, a couple of offensive studs came through with nice openers. Jose Bautista was 3-for-4 with a home run and Matt Kemp was 2-for-5 with three RBIs and a homer. 

Shortstops Jhonny Peralta and Ian Desmond had three hits apiece.

Those expecting a breakout season from Cameron Maybin had to be encouraged by his opener when he had two hits, including a homer. David Wright started what could be a bounceback year with two hits and an RBI. 

The fantasy dud of the day was Toronto's top prospect, Brett Lawrie, who was 0-for-6.

The biggest injury of the day occurred when Andres Torres suffered a calf strain in the seventh inning and was placed on the disabled list by the Mets. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is expected to replace Torres and is a solid pick-up in NL-only leagues. He's one of the Mets top prospects and had double-digit steals and homers in 2010. Last year, he was limited to 53 games in Triple-A last year and hit .298 with six homers and five steals. 

Written by Steve Mims exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Follow Steve on Twitter @nwsportscards

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