The beginning of this season has given us something to be watching for nearly every night. On Monday alone, there was the opening of Citi Field and a banner raising ceremony in Tampa, something I don't think even Tampa fans could have expected. Those were just the planned moments.
Yesterday also saw two players, Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye both hit their 300th home runs. Not only are they the first players to do that in the same game, they went even further and did it back-to-back. Great stuff.
Sadly, though, it wasn't all roses. The passing of two more of baseball's brethren was tragic. I was introduced to Harry Kalas through a friend of mine from Philadelphia. Pretty impressive really. I'm certain today he's looking down today, still making a Michael Jack Schmidt home run call.
On to the notes.
- The Red Sox placed Jed Lowrie on the disabled list yesterday with a sprained left wrist. This injury is very similar to the one that hampered him at the end of last season. Lowrie was sent back to Boston for tests. He's struggled to start the season, and odds are you weren't using him unless it was a very deep league or AL-only. In those AL-only leagues, Nick Green isn't a bad pickup, and he'll get the regular at-bats until Julio Lugo is ready.
- Welcome back, B.J. Upton! Upton stole two bases and went 1-for-3 in his return to the Tampa lineup. His story wasn't the major one of the night, as Carlos Pena put his mark on the game with a grand slam and six RBI. Not a bad way to raise the banner there.
- Orlando Hudson became the first Dodger to hit for the cycle in nearly 30 years. Hudson has been relatively strong with the Dodgers to start the season. In a thin middle-infield year, Hudson's work at second has been solid. His four hits upped his average to .333, and he's only 61 percent owned in ESPN leagues at this point. If you require an MI, look to Hudson as well if you're missing out on Lowrie.
- Dallas Braden was solid last night for Oakland, and his changeup is going to be incredibly effective. Still, I wouldn't put too much stock in it at this point. The Red Sox lineup struggles with left-handed pitchers, and tends to make pitchers they haven't seen look even better than they are. You could almost have written this up before the game started. If you're in a 14-team league, though, Braden makes sense.
- Mark Teixeira continued to miss time from the Yankees lineup, and that meant another start for Nick Swisher. Swisher made the most of it, as he hit another home run and then played mop-up relief role and struck out Gabe Kapler. Make your own jokes...now. Swisher should be played in most formats at this point. Ride the hot streak until Big Teix is ready to play again.
- Welcome to 2009, Chris Davis! Davis hit his first home run of the season last night, making it easier breathing on his owners. Look, don't give up on him. He's swinging the bat well, and has run into a fair amount of buzzard's luck at this point. Ride it out, he's going to hit and he's going to produce along the lines of his ADP.
- Gavin Floyd struggled with his command all day long against the Tigers. Floyd doesn't have much luck against Detroit, and this game was no different. He wasn't victimized by home runs the way he has been in the past, but he did give up six runs in just five innings while walking a half-dozen. Chalk it up as a bad outing, but be reminded of this the next time he goes against the Tigers.
- NL-only owners should be taking note of Zach Duke. Duke threw a complete-game shutout yesterday. This came on the heels of a very solid outing against the Cardinals to open his 2009 season. He will get a second start this week against Atlanta, and gets to throw that at home. Keep an eye out if you need the stats later this week in daily leagues.
- The Blue Jays got Travis Snider back in the lineup, after juggling in Jose Bautista for several games. Snider responded with two home runs. The Jays are going to have to keep getting this guy at-bats if they want him to develop. With more regular time, Snider will have a wider appeal than simply as an extra outfielder or fill-in option
- There was some initial concern on Carlos Quentin. His injury at the end of last season, and his one-season only performance in the power department had many fantasy owners and writers attempting to understand what he would bring in 2009. If his early performance is any indication, he's picking up right where he left off prior to the injury. Quentin's two shots yesterday were mammoth, and his swing itself looks good.
- Yes, I'm worried about David Ortiz and the fact he looks lost at the plate. Talk about an ugly, uncomfortable swing. Nothing good on this one. If I could get decent value for him, which is unlikely, I'm making a trade.
- Yesterday's results: Wins-Floyd, Doug Davis, Fausto Carmona, Jamie Moyer; Losses-Ubaldo Jimenez, Mike Pelfrey; Push (due to injury)-Jesse Litsch (Season 20-13-1)
Notes for Tuesday
- I'd find another option for Rickie Weeks today. Weeks is just 1-for-20 against Bronson Arroyo. The Brewers, overall, hit him well, and I wouldn't be reaching to start the Reds starter if you don't have to. He had one good start against the Brewers in four chances last season.
- Kyle Davies was strong in his opening outing of the season, and it built on the decent second half he put together in 2008. No one on the Indians has more than ten at-bats against him, so nothing to draw on. I'd grab him for the start in daily leagues where I was looking for a cheap win. He won't draw strikeouts, but the peripherals should be solid.
- Never start Carlos Silva anywhere...ever. His work against the Angels only serves to underscore that. All need to be in the lineup. Howie Kendrick and Bobby Abreu are the best plays, but there really are no bad plays based on the historic numbers and Silva's work on the road
- As tough as Daisuke Matsuzaka was at home last season, he was even tougher on the road. Matsuzaka held batters under .200 to go with a 2.37 ERA and 9-0 record outside of Fenway Park. In a pitcher's park in Oakland tomorrow, I'd be keeping as many A's as I could reserved. The Sox need the performance, and Matsuzaka seems to enjoy the pressure.
- The Tigers have had mixed results against John Danks. Magglio Ordonez has flat-out raked against him, and his .588 average in 17 at-bats makes the point. Don't look for Curtis Granderson or Marcus Thames today. In 23 combined at-bats, neither has a hit against Danks. Danks was 2-0 last season against the Tigers, and makes a decent play today.
- While Manny Parra was roughed up by the Giants, he didn't have much success on the road in all of 2008. His start at home today against the Reds is a much better matchup if you're looking in NL-only formats. Parra put up a 6-3 record with a 3.41 ERA at Miller Park. Decent gamble here.
- Ross Gload, as mentioned yesterday, has the only real track record against Javier Vazquez. He's 10-for-23, and will likely get the start for the Marlins. I'm not concerned on starting either pitcher in this one. Use Chris Volstad and Vazquez as you normally would.
- A.J. Burnett has held down some of the bigger bats in the Tampa lineup, and Carlos Pena is primary offender one. At 2-for-19, it's not one play you'll likely want to make, even coming off of last night's performance. Other than Pena and Dioner Navarro, use your normal Rays.
- Not much other action, so the spot starts go to: Davies, Parra, and Perkins in that order.
- Keep on the Bench: Carlos Silva, Max Scherzer
Notes for Wednesday
- Jason Giambi is a .163 hitter in 92 at-bats against Tim Wakefield. I'd say that's enough of a track record for us to recommend keeping him on the bench here. Orlando Cabrera is just a .200 hitter in 20 appearances, but the rest of your A's should be good to go. Wakefield hasn't had good luck against them since 2006, going 0-2 in five starts.
- The Rays have hit Pettite well of late, posting a .321 average against him since the start of the '06 season. Pettite does have four wins, but they haven't come pretty. Akinori Iwamura struggles, but your other Rays should be in the lineup if you have them.
- Scott Baker will be back on the mound for the Twins, making his 2009 debut. He was 5-1 at home in 2008, and I'd start him even in his first time out. Baker didn't need much time after his injury last season, and the confines will help him deliver.
- Ichiro will also be activated tomorrow. He should immediately be inserted into lineups, especially given he has decent numbers against Jered Weaver, who will start for the Angels on Wednesday.
- Derek Jeter has gone 6-for-13 against Andy Sonnastine, but the remaining Yankees have had some major problems with him. At home, Sonnastine is a decent play, and given the Yankees numbers it's not a bad reach. With Pettite's struggles at the dome, and the Rays numbers, this is a decent start.
- You might want to make sure you start Andre Ethier against Matt Cain. Ethier is 16-for-27 against Cain, good for a .593 average. Avoid Orlando Hudson, as he's 0-for-18 against the Giants starter. He's the only Dodgers hold back. Cain was 0-3 against the Dodgers in six shots last season, but didn't pitch badly against them.
- Early Spot Starts: Braden Looper, Kevin Correia, and Armando Galarraga