While the traditionalist inside me loathes the idea of interleague play, I can’t deny that it brought on a world of excitement in its first night of the 2012 season. There were pitcher’s duels, big nights at the plate, and a world of drama. Just the Cubs/White Sox game alone was loaded with enough action that had you on the edge of your seat for some time. Between Paul Konerko taking a pitch to the face and Kerry Wood’s mid-game retirement (did you see his kid come running out of the dugout and into his arms? Holy tearjerker!) I was glued to the TV. I might not dig the whole money-grubbing aspect that interleague has brought on, because that (the almighty dollar) is why it’s done these days, but I won’t deny that I watched some pretty good ball on Friday. Here’s a look at the highlights.
|Justin Verlander, DET||9.0||1||0||0||2||12||0||0.00||0.33|
Well of course you have to lead out with Justin Verlander’s near-no-hitter. Sure, it was the Pirates, more or less the NL’s version of the Mariners or Twins, but again such an impressive feat. The look on Verlander’s face after Josh Harrison’s hit in the ninth was priceless. Obviously there was a sense of disappointment, I’m sure, but he certainly didn’t express it. There was no anger, no sadness – just a look he shot over to his teammates that said, “What can you do? That’s just the way it goes.” He then turned around and finished what he started and walked away with a complete-game, one-hitter. Oh yeah, and 12 strikeouts!
What more can you say about this guy that hasn’t already been said? The guy’s amazing. In one league of mine, fairly early on into the season, one owner traded Verlander (with Marlon Byrd) in exchange for Tim Lincecum and Torii Hunter. A moronical move, indeed. How do you trade off the best pitcher in the American League for a declining NL star? The outfielders, for all intents and purposes, were irrelevant. Hunter has a little more value than Byrd, but it’s the difference between Verlander and Lincecum that matters most. And in looking at the two of them right now, little Timmy doesn’t even come close.
|J.P. Arencibia, C TOR||3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI|
|Rajai Davis, OF TOR||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
|Josh Donaldson, 3B OAK||3-4, R, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI|
|Kevin Millwood, SEA||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 7 K|
|Andy Pettitte, SP NYY||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 9 K|
What’s the difference between Justin Verlander and Kevin Millwood? Normally? Everything. But for Friday night, the answer is five strikeouts. That’s it. Millwod turned in a performance for the ages as he went the full nine innings himself and dominated the Colorado Rockies. Verlander allowed one hit and walked two? Millwood gave up two hits and walked one. For fantasy purposes, they had identical totals (assuming the standard 5x5 categories), save for the strikeouts. I won’t dismiss the difference though as five K’s in a roto league could mean the difference between a first place money finish and stumbling to third place, wondering where your team went wrong.
How ‘bout them Blue Jays powering up? The two home runs from J.P Arencibia don’t really shock me at all. Fantasy owners drafted him for his power and he certainly hasn’t disappointed lately. Over his last three games, he’s 6-for-13 (.462) with four home runs, 10 RBI and six runs scored. If there were a 3-Day Fantasy Beast, he would certainly win it, hands down. His average may never be one to dream about, but so long as he keeps hitting the long ball, the rest will fall in line.
Now Rajai Davis, on the other hand, he’s a different story. This guy’s lucky to hit two home runs in a season, let alone two in one game. So to see him do what he did on Friday is…well, not so much impressive, but more dumbfounding than anything else. He’s a decent pick-up in deeper leagues for cheap stolen bases, but you’re certainly not thinking in terms of any type of power. Not that I hear any of his owners complaining, but I wouldn’t be expecting much more down the road.
Hey Josh Donaldson…how’s that sun feel on that part of your body? Atleast you have catcher eligibility in some leagues. Not that anyone is starting you at all….
The Yankees didn’t need to wear throwback uniforms for their match-up with the Reds. They just needed to put a vintage Andy Pettitte on the mound. Fantasy owners who took a chance and stashed him away on their benches (kudos to my wife for that savvy move, although she partially did it because he’s “so handsome”) will be reaping those benefits throughout most of the season. I can’t say that he won’t have his moments of just pure yuck, but overall, I see him doing very well in this comeback season.
Some honorable mentions for solid fantasy performances on Friday go out to: Ryan Braun, Denard Span, Joe Nathan, Cole Hamels, Adrian Beltre, Ted Lilly, and Edwin Jackson. All put forth outstanding efforts and gave their fantasy owners a reason to stare at their live scoring page for an extra few minutes.
|Garrett Jones, OF PIT||0-3, 3 K|
|Joey Votto, 1B CIN||0-4, 3 K|
|Alejandro De Aza, OF CHW||0-4, 3 K|
|J.D. Martinez, OF HOU||0-4, 3 K|
|Jarrod Parker, SP OAK||L, 27.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP, 0 K|
Joey Votto was the hottest hitter in baseball coming into the game, so a little stumble here and there is to be forgiven. After all, the day belonged to Andy Pettitte anyway.
Pretty sure that Alejandro De Aza was 0-for-everything against Jeff Samardzija walking into Friday’s game…
I can also accept the fact that Jarrod Parker is going to exhibit some growing pains from time to time…
But what’s up with J.D. Martinez here? This guy went from potential sleeper to “dear Lord, put me to sleep for drafting this guy!” He’s now batting .218 with just three home runs and is looking like someone in need of some bench time. The Astros picked up Fernando Martinez from the Mets off waivers and he’s doing well for their Triple-A team right now. Perhaps it’s time to bring him up, no?
Now let’s hit the triage unit before the games start on Saturday….
Chipper Jones, 3B ATL – calf (doubtful)
David Wright, 3B NYM – no injury, but scheduled day of rest
David Ortiz, DH BOS – illness (questionable)
Cody Ross, OF BOS – foot (questionable)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C BOS – head (questionable)
Brent Morel, 3B CHW – back (questionable)
Paul Konerko, 1B CHW – face/eye (questionable)
Jack Hannahan, 3B CLE – back (questionable)
Austin Jackson, OF DET – abdomen (questionable)
Jose Valverde, RP DET – back (questionable)
Chris Getz, 2B KC – ribs (questionable)
Mark Ellis, 2B LAD – ankle (questionable)
Emilio Bonifacio, OF MIA – hand (doubtful)
Ryan Doumit, C MIN – calf (questionable)
Mark Teixeira, 1B NYY – illness (questionable)
Placido Polanco, 3B PHI – knee (questionable)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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