Daily Notes – Chasing Saves is like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

What is up with the closers this year? I was psyched to see Alfredo Aceves get the closing gig in Boston if only for the fact that he has both SP/RP eligibility, then he promptly goes ahead and gives up 4 hits and 3 earned across two appearances without recording an out. His ERA and WHIP (which coincidentally are tied to my head to head week 1 performances) were infinity. He’s been dumped, and I don’t care. I’ll use his roster spot to pick up two start pitchers each week. Melancon hasn’t done much better. In fact lets look at the relief pitchers that are most commonly rostered who have blown saves or taken a loss so far this year…

Sergio Santos, Chris Perez, Heath Bell, Jose Valverde, Carlos Marmol, Mark Melancon, Kery Wood,  Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera… there are probably others, but I just caught those names with a quick glance. How about the pitchers that have been reliable this year?

Frank Francisco (3 saves!), Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, Brett Myers, Jonathan Broxton. 

I know it’s early and I’m not drawing any conclusions from these lists. The names on either one could flip flop at a moments notice. Chasing saves is a volatile practice gamers. It takes nerves of steel, ice in your veins, bravery in the face of danger…

I hope you ate your Wheaties.


  • Austin Jackson is batting .571 through the first 3 games this year with 5 runs scored. With Boesch, Cabrera and Fielder behind him, he is going to keep piling on the runs. Especially if he keeps that new smaller leg kick in his swing. Miguel Cabrera belted his 3rd HR of the season and picked up 3 runs with 5 RBI’s. From the other dugout, we finally saw Adrian Gonzalez go yard picking up 2 RBI’s and 2 runs. Late spring and popular sleeper Mike Aviles finally got his first hits of the season going 3-for-5 with 2 runs and 3 RBI’s. I touched on the Boston bullpen already.
  • Carlos Santana picked up 2 HR’s on his birthday, driving in 3. Kelly Johnson’s renewed approach at the plate seems to be paying off so far with a .357 AVG. He didn’t strike out yesterday. Chris Perez got the save, but still didn’t do anything to renew our faith in his abilities, needing 28 pitches to get through the inning and loading up the bases. Vinnie Pestano should be on your speed dial.
  • Jon Niese took a no hitter into the 7th, then promptly fell apart like a Gremlin or a Pacer after its warranty expired, getting pulled with a line of 6 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 7 K. Daniel “Double Down” Murphy had 2 doubles yesterday giving him 3 on the season. Last year he had 28 doubles in only 109 games. For the season, Dan Uggla is batting .111, but we can’t fault him too much, he faced Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey in the first two games this year. For his career he is  1-for-44 against them combined. Brian McCann had his first HR of the year. 
  • Jay Bruce had HR’s 2 and 3 on the year, one of which was off Carlos Zambrano, who gave up 4 earned in 6 innings, striking out 6. Jose Reyes had the first of what will probably be many triples. He is a fast runner, you see…
  • Jason Hammel was “surprisingly” effective yesterday, going 8 innings, giving up 1 earned and fanning 5. Despite his ERA’s the last three years, his FIP and xFIP over that same span suggest he can play. Look to him for future streaming match ups. His next start is 4/14 at Toronto.
  • Andrew McCutchen walked off on the Phillies picking up 3 hits and another steal. Third base after-thought Pedro Alvarez had a HR. He was the apple of my eye going into 2011 drafts after the 2nd half he had in 2010, but I don’t really see a need for anyone to run out and pick him up unless you are in NL only leagues (even there it isn’t pressing to get him unless it’s a deep league). Third base is just loaded at this point with Miggy and Hanley soon picking up eligibility.
  • Jeremy Hellickson followed up his AL ROY with a 8.2 inning gem against the Yanks, giving up only 3 hits, striking out 4 and not allowing a run. He was a little wild with 4 walks, but are you going to complain about that with rest of that line?
  • Bud Norris did what we thought he would do, which is throw 6 or 7 innings (7 yesterday) and get a lot of strikeouts (8) but not get a win, despite only allowing 2 runs. Wins are a crummy stat, but Norris is worth owning regardless. Jaun Nicasio who pitched opposite Norris yesterday was just as effective, going 7, giving up 5 H and getting 4 K’s. The Rockies have high hopes for him this year, and I made a point of drafting him in a number of leagues this season.
  • Lance Lynn, whom people were eyeing after Carpenter went on the DL for the Cards, was stellar yesterday going 6.2 innings, striking out 8 and giving up 1 run on 2 hits and a walk. The only blemish was a Corey Hart HR.
  • As far as relievers turned starters go this year, Jeff Samardzija got next to no attention. After getting 8 K’s in 8.2 innings he probably isn’t under the radar anymore.
  • Albert Pujols got his first RBI on the year, accounting for one third of the total offense the Angels managed off Jonathan Sanchez. Alex Gordon is still 0-for-the-season and Eric Hosmer is on pace for 108 homers.
  • Chase Headley had 1 hit yesterday, but it was a grand slam. He has shown low double digit power in two of his first four seasons in the major leagues and going into his age 28 season, some people are hoping for a mini power “breakout”. I don’t know what that means… maybe they are hoping for 15 HRs?
  • Josh Hamilton had a tape measure shot last night. If you missed it, check it out here.
  • Even though he didn’t play last night, Yoenis Cespedes’ early power displays are making me regret passing on him in drafts. It’s not like he was going early and missing on that pick with him would be detrimental to my team. He obviously isn’t going to keep it up, but damn he’s been fun to watch so far. 
  • My Beat The Streak streak was over at 3 this past weekend. Starting with another double down, with Hamilton vs. Noesi and Wright vs. E Jax.
Pitching Matchups

MIA @ PHI – Sanchez vs. Hamels

LAA @ MIN – Wilson vs. Blackburn

SF @ COL – Zito vs. Chacin – Chacin is an interesting stream option, he has a career 2.72 ERA against the Giants in 39.2 IP. It’s the 2nd largest sample he has against any team. 

CWS @ CLE – Sale vs. Tomlin – The first of two starts for Sale this week.

MIL @ CHC – Marcum vs. Volstad

NYY @ BAL – Nova vs. Matsuz – Matthew Berry has a bold prediction that Brian Matusz will be a Top 30 pitcher this year. The Yanks are 0-3. Now seems like as good a time as any to start him.

BOS @ TOR – Doubront vs. Alvarez – I’m drinking Alvarez Kool-Aid this year. Boston will be pressing tonight looking for its first win of the season. They may think they can take advantage of a young pitcher, but I think they will be mistaken.

STL @ CIN – Westbrook @ Bailey – I’m starting Bailey tonight in an NL only league. If it was a mixed league, I would pass. I also need to reach 30 innings pitched per week, and Bailey has two starts this week.

WAS @ NYM – Jackson vs. Pelfrey – The Mets have been scoring runs and hitting the ball hard. I wouldn’t play E Jax tonight.

ATL @ HOU – Beachy vs. Happ

SEA @ TEX – Noesi vs. Darvish – Start Darvish, obviously… As for Noesi, he was the other guy the M’s got in the Pineda trade. In his last spring start he went 7 innings giving up 1 run on 7 hits against the Rockies. He’s a contact pitcher, and Rangers are really good at making contact. The M’s are high on him, but I’m not for this start. 

KC @ OAK – Mendoza vs. Milone – Milone has two starts this week, and I’m planning on using him for both of them.