Do you smell Opening Day? Here is your first batch of notes—as always, notes on today’s games with some spot starters coupled with a few notes for tomorrow’s games and spot starters for those of you that lock a day ahead.
The Yankees have not had great success against Justin Verlander. Nick Swisher is at just .195 in 41 at-bats, while Mark Teixeira is only 1-for-17. Only Derek Jeter has an average better than .300 in more than 10 at-bats against the Detroit starter. Keep some of these guys down where you can, even on Opening Day.
CC Sabathia has had plenty to enjoy when facing the Tigers going back to his time with Cleveland. Only Miguel Cabrera is worth the play. Cabrera is 7-for-13 with two home runs lifetime against Sabathia. Jhonny Peralta is 1-for-12, and Brandon Inge has hit a sparkling .151 against him.
If you are up for getting cute early in the game, Alex Gordon is 4-for-11 against Jered Weaver with a home run. Melky Cabrera is just 1-for-12, and Billy Butler is only a .238 hitter as well. Weaver dominated Kansas City last season, allowing just one run in 15 innings over two starts against them.
Scott Rolen, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are all good to go against Yovani Gallardo. Rolen is 7-for-11 with a home run against the Milwaukee starter, while Phillips checks in at .412 in 17 at-bats. Votto is no slouch either with a .375 mark. Gallardo was 0-2 against the Reds last season, giving up 14 earned runs in 13.2 innings of work.
Limited numbers for the Brewers against Edinson Volquez. Only Prince Fielder sticks out as an issue, as he is 2-for-14 against the Reds starter. Volquez has recorded wins against the Reds, but he has not necessarily put up numbers that you would want to start if you had better options at your disposal.
Wrote yesterday how I love Matt Kemp this season to rebound. I just do not think it happens against the Giants. Kemp is only 2-for-20 against Tim Lincecum. Lincecum has dominated the Los Angeles lineup to the point that only Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier are worth starting against him.
Seeing Aubrey Huff at 2-for-12, Pablo Sandoval at 2-for-11 and Buster Posey at 1-for-9 has me keeping them on the bench against Clayton Kershaw. Surprisingly good numbers for Miguel Tejada (.417) and Pat Burrell (.308) against him. Kershaw gave up just five earned runs in 29 innings against the Giants last season.
While you probably are not playing Adam LaRoche until the second half of the season anyway (kidding, it’s a split joke...), he is only 1-for-15 against Derek Lowe. Avoid him here. Jerry Hairston’s numbers are ugly as well, but hopefully you are not in a position where you need him. Ian Desmond is 5-for-14 against him, so start Desmond here with confidence.
Dan Uggla is only 4-for-27 against Livan Hernandez, while Alex Gonzalez is 6-for-52 and Nate McLouth just 2-for-18. Martin Prado, Brian McCann and Chipper Jones are of no concern in this one. Hernandez was 2-1 against Atlanta last season with a 2.35 ERA in five starts.
Spot Starts: None—it’s Opening Day!
Shin-Soo Choo and Orlando Cabrera are both worth starting against Mark Buehrle, but that is about it for the Indians. While Choo checks in at .385 in 26 at-bats and Cabrera is hitting .333 in 45, no one else that you will see in the lineup cracks .233. Keep them all on the bench for this one.
Ryan Dempster posted a 1.88 ERA this spring, and the Pirates have had virtually no luck against him as individuals. That said, he was 0-3 against Pittsburgh with a 6.88 ERA in three starts against them in 2010. He gave up 13 runs on 19 hits in 17 innings of work.
Certainly there are some concerns as to if Josh Johnson is fully healthy, but the Mets are a good team for him to test that against. Johnson has stymied the New York bats, holding Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Jose Reyes all below .233 averages in better than 20 at-bats each. While Johnson held the Mets to a .219 average against him last season, he was 0-1 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts against them.
As good as King Felix is, there are still players that you should start against him in this one against Oakland. Daric Barton is at .304 in 23 at-bats, while David DeJesus is a .364 hitter in 22. Good marks are found with Kurt Suzuki as well. Nothing else good to report. Avoid Hideki Matsui, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Coco Crisp.
Sometimes numbers make you laugh. Johnny Damon is just 8-for-37 against Jeremy Guthrie, while Evan Longoria is only 4-for-20. Look to avoid Ben Zobrist as well. Best bets here come in the .300 average of B.J. Upton and the 5-for-14 of Manny Ramirez. Guthrie had a 2-2 record but 2.73 ERA and .245 BAA when facing Tampa in 2010.
Spot Starts: Guthrie and Fausto Carmona (if desperate)