The 2014 Major League Baseball season is under way as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks squared off down under in Australia. Here's a look at some early fantasy performances.
Clayton Kershaw answered the call after a terrible spring. Kershaw went 0-3 with a 9.20 ERA, but the two-time Cy Young winner put on yet another dominating performance in Sydney. Kershaw yielded one run and five hits in 6.2 innings for the win.
He struck out seven while walking one to finish with a 1.35 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. Entering the season, April had been Kershaw's worst month, as he was 7-8 with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. A fast start would put him in the driver's seat for a third Cy Young.
The Dodgers' bullpen was impressive in the opener as former closers Chris Perez and Brian Wilson bridged the way to Kenley Jansen's first save of the year. The trio with 366 career saves combined for 2.1 scoreless innings.
The bullpen didn't fare as well in the back end of the two-game series, yielding five runs on six hits and seven walks in four innings.
Scott Van Slyke took advantage of his spot start in left field by going 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. His success came against left-hander Wade Miley. Mike Baxter got the start against the right-handed Trevor Cahill.
Carl Crawford, who missed the game awaiting the birth of his child, will handle left field duties when the Dodgers face the San Diego Padres on March 30th. With Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Crawford, don't look for much from Van Slyke.
Wade Miley took the first loss, giving up three runs in five innings. He did manage to strike out eight Dodgers. Van Slyke did him in with a fourth-inning home run.
Hyun-Jin Ryu was impressive in his start for the Dodgers, holding the Diamondbacks to two hits in five scoreless innings for the win.
New closer Addison Reed struck out three batters in one scoreless inning of work. He should enjoy the transition to the National League.
Yasiel Puig went hitless in five at-bats in the first game but went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI in the second game. Puig struck out four times in the miniseries, but the main concern is his ailing back.
His personality could also be wearing thin for manager Don Mattingly. He adds plenty of energy and excitement, but sometimes it's more negative than positive. He may also have an MRI on his back following the long flight home from Australia.
Puig remains a premier outfielder to own, but he does have some question marks.
Dee Gordon went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI hitting out of the leadoff slot. He could be a nice value middle infield option. Gordon should start against right-handers and add value in the runs and stolen base categories hitting in front of Puig, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez. Gordon has 66 stolen bases in 182 career games.
Paul Goldschmidt got off to a nice start, going 4-for-9. He didn't drive in any runs, but he had 125 last year so there is no reason for concern. Goldschmidt did not strike out despite facing a pair of quality starters, including the game's best. After striking out 145 times last year and 130 times this year, that's a nice start.
Mark Trumbo went 2-for-9 in the series but smashed a home run off Jansen and finished with four RBI. He's a lifetime .250 hitter but had 95 home runs and 282 RBI from 2011-2013. He should provide solid power numbers for Arizona.
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