Saturday, April 18, 2009

Start Me Up

We'll rotate through different themes depending on how the day's games shake out, but on this, the first day of the NBA playoffs, keeping the focus on a fairly humdrum baseball Saturday was a difficult task.  There were a few developments worth mentioning, almost all of them on the pitching front end.

Ian Snell - A lot of people have forgotten, Ian Snell was a very, very good pitcher as recently as 2007.  He battled through some injuries (physical and psychological) last season, and spent the offseason trying to get his game back together.  Then, Snell came out on April 7th and got his hind quarters walloped by the high-powered Cardinals offense.  That was enough for most casual fantasy observers to write him off.  But Snell bounced back, allowing just 2 runs over 6 innings in his follow-up start, before tossing a 7-inning gem tonight.  Snell, in my estimation, is one good start away from deserving a bench spot.  Remember, he struck out OVER 170 batters two years ago in just about 200 innings, so the ceiling is extremely high.

Wandy Rodriguez - Few pitchers have teased fantasy managers more often than this Astros southpaw.  I can't help but wonder how long until Barbara Walters does a special on his first name.  Perhaps the universe would collapse on itself.  I suppose we'll never know.  In any case, Wand-like Rodriguez dominated the lowly Reds tonight with 10 K's in just 7 innings.  His ERA is resting comfortably at 1.89, which unfortunately means a bad start is bound to come around, but he certainly has the stuff to fan a few batters, and keep an ERA in the mid 3's.

Edwin Jackson - As a Dodger fan, I cringe when I think back about his departure.  A (still) young, righthanded fireballer made a name for himself with the Rays, and has carried that confidence over to his first few starts for the Tigers.  I am extremely high on Jackson, just based on the electricity of his stuff, but it seems he's also learning how to pitch.  I'm so confident, in fact, that I will, right here, recommend not only picking him up, but getting him in there as a starter.

Kevin Millwood - Millwood is making his second appearance on this fantasy site, and despite losing to the Royals, Kevin had another fine start.  I will again note that his numbers will inevitably swell once the air heats up and thins out in Texas, but for now, his above-average fastball/curveball combo is keeping hitters off balance.

Doug Davis - I'm not sold...yet.  Fool the Giants, shame on you.  Fool your next opponent, shame on me for not picking you up.  Anyone can make San Francisco's lineup look like 9 of the kids coach forced to play "deep left" in tee-ball, but Davis has earned himself at least a "watch" status for his fine efforts.

Yankees - There's a Wang in New York that just ain't feelin' right.

Changing gears for a moment - we don't have an explanation yet, but B.J. Ryan pitched the 7th inning in Toronto's game with Oakland this afternoon.  Jason Frasor pitched the 9th and got the win, so definitely keep your ears and eyes open, as changes may be brewing in Toronto's bullpen.

I realize we're into baseball season now, but I simply can't restrain myself.  I watched all 4 NBA Playoff games today, and while most people are cooing about how amazing the games have been, I've been a tad disappointed in the execution of every one of these teams.  I don't feel like I really saw a COMPLETE performance by any of them.  The closest, I suppose, would have to be Cleveland, just because they clobbered their opponent, but even the Cavs looked apathetic on defense, knowing they could just overwhelm the Pistons whenever they pleased.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll see some cleaner games.  As an LA guy myself, I'm mentally stacking each of these teams up against the Lakers, and in day one, nobody came close.  I was especially disappointed in the Spurs, who played hard for one quarter.  As soon as the clock struck 8pm, they went to sleep and made a decent Mavs team look way better than they actually are.  The only explanation that makes sense for this phenomenon is that the early-bird special at Hometown Buffet just wasn't sitting right.  Memo to Spurs management: hire a man in a silly hat playing the xylophone.  Old folks love that.


Anonymous said...

Didn't Doug Davis have cancer last year?

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