Fantasy Baseball Final: April 29, 2015
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We started the day off with four early games, including the Chicago White sox and Baltimore Orioles playing in front of an empty stadium, which was weird to see. The Orioles roughed up Jeff Samardzija, tallying eight runs (seven earned) against the right-hander as his early season struggles continue. Its worth mentioning that this match up lasted just a little over two hours, which is exceptional for a game that saw ten total runs (maybe we’ve found the way to speed up the pace of play after all). Chris Davis and Manny Machado both went deep in the empty stadium, giving Ubaldo Jimenez more than enough run support to help him pick up his second win of the season.
IF YOU ONLY READ ONE THING…
Included in today’s early games was the match up between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins, with Shane Greene and Phil Hughes both on the mound for their squads, respectively. Greene seemed to be an easy pick in DFS today against an anemic Twins’ offense, but that wasn’t exactly the case in this one. Greene got lit up to the tune of seven runs across four innings of work, though he did strike out eight. Today’s implosion marked the second start in a row that Greene wasn’t able to get out of the fifth inning, giving up 15 earned runs across both starts. Greene’s ERA on the season has jumped all the way to 4.60. As for Phil Hughes, he was pulled after giving up three runs in five innings of work with what the team is calling a hip flexor strain. The good news for fantasy owners is that Hughes expects to throw his next bullpen session on time this week, and is expecting to be able to make his next. Once Hughes was lifted, the rest of the game belonged to Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers. Miggy hit two home runs (the first one is still circling the globe), as the Tigers were able to rally back from a 7-3 deficit to ultimately winning the game 10-7. Victor Martinez was just one of two players for the Tigers that was unable to record a hit, seeing his season average dip down to .213 after going 0-5 today.
JUST AS WE EXPECTED…
Danny Salazar was able to help lift the Cleveland Indians to victory against the Kansas City Royals tonight, tossing six innings of four run ball while tallying seven strikeouts. This start was Salazar’s worst since being called up from Triple-A almost two weeks ago, though he was able to pick up his third win of the season in as many starts. Jason Kipnis provided plenty of offense in this one, hitting his first home run of the season in the win and driving in four runs. The offensive output by Kipnis (though the home run was his lone hit of the day), was a nice surprise for fantasy owners as they’ve seen him struggle thus far in the season. Yordano Ventura took the loss for the Royals, as he struggled throughout the outing to find his command, walking four batters while giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings of work with one strikeout. Eric Hosmer hit his second home run of the year, and Mike Moustakas continued his early season success as he went 2-4, bringing his average up to .353. Cody Allen took home his fourth save of the season, striking out one in the ninth and giving up one (unearned) run. Royals’ shortstop Alcides Escobar left the game in the fifth inning after getting nailed in a head by a pitch from Danny Salazar. As of right now, he’s listed as day-to-day until we find out further information.
Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates dominated the Chicago Cubs tonight, winning the game 8-1 at Wrigley Field. Cole continued his dominance this season tonight, going six innings, striking out eight and giving up the Cubs’ lone run in the game to improve to 4-0 on the season with a 1.76 ERA. Fantasy owners everywhere, including myself, are hoping that this season is the coming out party for Cole as a true ace… so far, so good. Andrew McCutchen went 2-5 in the win, which is a nice sight to see considering the slump he’s been in since the start of the season (.194 BA). Starling Marte picked up two RBI in the game, along with stealing his third base of the year. All was relatively quiet on the Cubbies side of things, with the one offensive standout being catcher Miguel Montero (3-4, 1 RBI). Anthony Rizzo got caught stealing for the first time this season, making him 6-7 on the year in steal attempts, giving fantasy owners much more already in that category than they were expecting.
BUT WE DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING…
The Miami Marlins were able to stop the New York Mets in their tracks, beating the division leaders 7-3 despite losing starter Mat Latos after just five innings of work. Latos left the game with what the team is calling a left hamstring strain, and its unknown at this time how much time he could possibly miss. Before exiting the game, Latos was accountable for three runs on five hits with three strikeouts. If you weren’t able to catch this game, I suggest going to watch Giancarlo Stanton’s monster home run off Bartolo Colon’s 83 MPH fastball… it’s pretty comical; Stanton finished the day 2-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Dee Gordon stayed hot as he collected two hits (2-3) in the win, bringing his average up to an absurd .409. Marcell Ozuna picked up a hit and a stolen base, and I mention this because Buster Olney tweeted something earlier in the day about him that peaked my interest, tweeting “Rival evaluator on Marcell Ozuna: ‘He’s gone backwards as player this year… He looks heavier, and he’s not covering as much ground.” It might be too early to tell with the young center fielder, but he has yet to hit his first home run of the year after hitting 23 last year.
Eventually, I’m going to stop putting the Astros in this category since they seem to keep winning, but for now its still somewhat of a shock to me. After taking home the victory yesterday, they came back out firing again to beat the San Diego Padres on the road 7-2 to improve their NL West leading record to 14-7. Dallas Keuchel was lights out for the Astros, going eight strong innings of one run ball, giving up three hits and striking out four. Jose Altuve drove went 2-4 in the win, driving in two runs and scoring a run. George Springer fantasy owners (including myself) probably got excited when they saw the seven runs scored, but Springer’s struggles continued as he went just 1-5 on the day. Even though he took the loss, Andrew Cashner was dominant in his start today for the Padres, striking out ten (including four in a row to start the game) over seven innings of three run ball. Craig Kimbrel came in for a non-save situation and was shelled, recording just one out and giving up three runs. Wil Myers, Matt Kemp, and Justin Upton went a combined 2-12 in the loss.
THE REST OF THE DETAILS
Joakim Soria (9)
Ernesto Frieri (2)
Cody Allen (4)
Koji Uehara (4)
Trevor Rosenthal (8)
Fernando Rodney (7)
Josh Harrison held out of the lineup
Derrick Norris got the day off
Joc Pederson was moved to the leadoff position, and it seemed to work (leadoff homerun)
Mat Latos – Day-to-Day – (hamstring)
Alcides Escobar – Day-to-Day – (left cheek contusion)
RUMORS & TRANSACTIONS
The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with free agent reliever Jose Valverde on a minor league deal earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported. Valverde was under contract with the Padres during Spring Training, but opted out of his contract after he did not make the big league club. Unless the Nationals bullpen implodes, it’s tough to see Valverde offering a whole lot of fantasy relevance, as the move could have been made simply for bullpen depth.