Forty-nine years ago today the Houston Astrodome held its first official game. The Astros played host to the Philadelphia Phillies though the visitors spoiled the home opening by beating the Astros 2-0. The dome was technically opened on April 19, 1965, however that was merely an exhibition game.
Matt Joyce’s strong start
The Tampa Bay Rays are merely middle-of-the-pack (11th as of writing) when it comes to the number of plate appearances against right-handed pitchers but Joyce has still put up quite the impressive stat line. After blasting his second home run of the season last night en route to his 2-for-4 game, Joyce is hitting a blistering .423/.529/.731 and has more walks (6) than strikeouts (5). Sure his .450 BABIP is doomed to regress, but Joyce has always been a weapon against opposite handed pitching and should be useful even once he cools off. For now he is able to be grabbed in over 70% of CBS leagues, 80% of ESPN formats and 90% of Yahoo! leagues.
The second base situation in Toronto
After beginning the season with a platoon consisting of Maicer Izturis and Ryan Goins at the keystone, the majority of the playing time there has gone to Izturis. The two have started out this season in vastly different ways: Goins, after being held hitless last night is now batting .045/.087/.091 versus Izturis’ .333/.375/.367 line. As one would expect, BABIP has been a factor for both players. Neither Goins’ .077 or Izturis’ .385 is indicative of their true talent level, but playing time in the middle infield will dry up once Jose Reyes returns from the disabled list.
Toronto manager John Gibbons expressed Goins isn’t playing himself out of a job yet and emphasized Goins’ defensive prowess and Gibbons hopes Goins will hit enough. Gibbons did say he’s going to go with Izturis’ hot bat (have those words ever been said before?) but did not name him the starting second baseman. Expect things to normalize sooner or later and for the punchless platoon situation up north to be relegated to deep AL-only leagues. If Gibbons were to name a starter then perhaps that player would be relevant in deeper mixed leagues, but for now stick to other middle infield options.
Drew Smyly to make Wednesday’s start
Yesterday Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus announced Smyly will return to the rotation on Wednesday. As a Smyly (and a StarCraft) fan, I’ll try to be objective when I say this. I included Smyly in my preseason bold predictions to be more valuable than Doug Fister, however I hope I don’t back into getting that one right due to Fister’s injury. Regardless, Smyly has a solid repertoire and incorporated a changeup recently, something he hadn’t thrown out of the bullpen. If he can continue to use his changeup to help generate strikes — or even whiffs — and keep opposite handed hitters off balance, Smyly can be a massive fantasy player. He rarely gives up a walk, gets strikeouts and generates plenty of ground balls. Smyly is owned in 90% of ESPN formats, yet just 61% of CBS leagues and not even 35% of Yahoo! leagues.
The Daily Five
Starting Pitcher: Adam Wainwright — $11,000
Okay, we’re reversing direction from yesterday’s picks. Waino is great and the Cubs have whiffed more often than all but six teams in baseball.
Starting Pitcher: Matt Cain — $9,300
The Giants have scored the third most runs in baseball going into yesterday’s games. Cain should be good for a win and some strikeouts, just what we’re used to seeing from him.
Infielder: Nick Swisher — $3,200
Swisher’s rate stats aren’t as impressive when facing a right-handed pitcher, but the game is at U.S. Cellular, a friendly for lefty power.
Outfielder: Angel Pagan — $4,500
Pagan isn’t shy about working a walk and can steal a bag or two. At home facing a pitcher in Brett Anderson that has allowed more walks than strikeouts and I like Pagan to get on base and score some runs.
Other Hitter: Buster Posey — $4,700
Both Posey and Pagan had the day off yesterday to get some rest. Both should do big things today.
Remaining Budget: $17,300
I’m counting on a big day from my pitchers as I dropped over 40% of my budget on my two starters. Fingers crossed it pays off.
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