Fantasy Notes: And We’re Off
With Chad Cordero’s early-season injury woes, chances are this won’t be a popular seller. Jon Rauch, anyone?
There is truly nothing like that first day of a new season for the die-hard fantasy player. All those months of hard work and now the wait is finally over. The channel surfing is in full force, the computer is logged onto the live game feeds, we’re scanning our umpteen leagues looking for that first home run, stolen base and blown save, while the better half is filling our cup with the nectar of the Gods. Oh well, three out of four is not really that bad; in fact, that should guarantee you a division title in virtually any league I’ve ever seen. Now let’s give Opening Day a quick scan.
- The Nationals/Senators/Expos gave the faithful what they came to see with that Ryan Zimmerman walk-off homer in the ninth. Hmm, could it be the start of a trend when Chad Cordero failed to make it out of the gate, as many other closers should have? His shoulder needs to be examined Wednesday…gulp. Could someone please tell Joe Morgan that Nick Johnson didn’t replace Delmon Young in the Nats’ lineup? Speaking of Johnson, nice to see him back at first and contributing after that horrific leg injury. I cringed on both of those belly-flop slides but he scrambled to his feet and looks ready to be a solid contributer in ’08.
- I did happen to notice that Franklin Gutierrez is now on pace for a 400+ RBI season after going 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBI in the Tribes’ opening day win over the White Sox. Nice start for Mark Buehrle and, yes, he did kill my ERA and WHIP in three leagues with that stellar effort. Jim Thome contributed two homers in a losing performance. In possibly the biggest news coming out of this game, Victor Martinez pulled up lame with a hammy problem and although he’s considered day-to-day, a possible DL stint can’t be ruled out at this time.
- Johan Santana demonstrated why he is the best starting pitcher in baseball with a very nifty seven-inning, three-hit, eight-strikeout performance. Other than the one mistake to Josh Willingham which resulted in a two-run shot, he totally shut down the Marlins offense. David Wright went 2-for-4 with three RBI, and looks poised to give that other resident New Yorker a run for the title of best in the business at the hot corner.
- The key player for the Twins in that off-season Santana deal, Carlos Gomez, got off to a rather nice start as well — 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a couple stolen bases is not a bad way to start off 2008. It would appear that troublesome hamstring issue has been resolved.
- For those that filled their last outfield slot with Xavier Nady from the Pirates, first place is probably in order this morning. A 4-for-7 performance with two taters and four runs batted in will do that. Honourable mention here to Nate McLouth, another late-round selection in most drafts this spring: 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI is a nice way to start ’08. Someone should tell the official scorer that the game tying “hit” that landed between the assembled masses might have actually been an error. Not that owning Matt Capps in a couple of my leagues has any real bearing here, but come on, that was a homer call if I’ve ever seen one.
- A new star is born in the Windy City, and his name is Kosuke Fukudome. A game tying, three-run shot in the bottom of the ninth will do that. Lost in all of this was the stellar efforts of both starting pitchers, Carlos Zambrano and Ben Sheets. Zambrano left with what is being called a hand/forearm cramp and is considered day-to-day. The Cubbies need Big Z if they’re going to win it this year, so don’t be suprised if manager Lou Piniella is rather cautious in his approach to this injury.
- For those owners of Jeff Francis a massive sigh of relief is in order. Nothing like a postponement due to inclement weather to leave you with some hope in both the ERA and WHIP categories.
- Out on the west coast, Jake Peavy was a one-man show. Pitching a very nifty three hitter over seven innings and going 1-for-1 at the dish with two RBI is a very nice way to shatter the ‘Stros’ dreams. With the Pads sporting an Opening Day outfield consisting of Brian Giles, Paul McAnulty, and Scott Hairston does GM Kevin Towers have the phone number for Chase Headley on his speed dial list?
- I’ve saved the best for the last. Opening Day 2008 was perhaps the ugliest across the board for bullpens I’ve ever seen. Let’s take a quick look at some of the more memorable moments from Monday:
Tom Gordon – 1/3 IP, five earned runs, loss
Kerry Wood – 1 IP, three earned runs
Kaz Fukumori – 1/3 IP, three earned runs, two wild pitches
Matt Capps – 2/3 IP, three earned runs
Eric Gagne – 1 IP, three earned runs, blown save (but lucked out with the win)
Octavio Dotel – 1 IP, three earned runs, loss
Joe Borowski – 1 IP, one earned run, save (typical Borowski effort, mind you)
And what, my friends, would be the overall consensus from another start to a baseball season? Remember always, “‘Tis a marathon and not a sprint,” and to all those suffering the agony of Opening Day, today brings eternal hope that the Fantasy Gods will smile a little brighter in our quests for those elusive year end rewards.