The only fantasy relevant item in this game is that Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez chose to use lefty reliever Jonny Venters in the eighth inning with three right-handed hitters due up while choosing to use righty reliever Craig Kimbrel in the ninth to face two left-handed hitters and one right-handed hitter. Given that Kimbrel and Venters are supposed to be co-closers today’s events seem a bit strange, so we’ll be paying close attention as to how these guys are used going forward.
Tigers second baseman Will Rhymes went 0-for-3 and right-fielder Magglio Ordonez went 0-for-4. Why is this relevant? Last season’s first-half darling, Brennan Boesch, who hit 12 homeruns with 49 RBI and a .342 average in 243 first-half at-bats in 2010 was kept on the major league roster with the promise that he’ll see plenty of at-bats. Brennan will be in Saturday’s starting lineup. If he can recapture the magic from the first-half of 2010 he will be a fantasy factor in 2011.
I don’t know if it was the Polish sausage, Italian sausage or the braut, but Brewers’ reliever John Axford gagged on something as he gave up four earned runs in two-thirds of an inning to blow the save and take the opening day loss. Axford’s collapse was aided by a bonehead play by Brewers’ third baseman Casey McGehee who failed to record an out on what was a routine ground ball. Nevertheless, Axford is safe for the moment, but keep Takashi Saito’s name in mind as he would be next in line.
After hitting .364 with two home runs, 12 RBI and six steals during spring training Angels’ center fielder Peter Bourjos opens the season going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Bourjos has the center field job all to himself and is a great source of steals and could provide a little pop.
Angels’ closer Fernando Rodney got the save but didn’t look good doing it as Alex Gordon just missed a three-run homer down the left field line. Familiarize yourself with the names Downs, Walden, Jepsen and Takahashi as who would step up should Rodney falter is anyone’s guess.
Dial back to opening day 2009, then Cardinals’ closer Jason Motte proceeds to give up four earned runs to not only blow the save but cost himself the closer job. Ryan Franklin won’t lose his job after giving up a game-tying home run to Cameron Maybin in the ninth inning, but it sure freakin’ got my blood boiling as memories of Motte’s meltdown danced in my head.
Lance Berkman went 2-for-4. If he can stay healthy, and that’s a big if, he can have a solid year in that Cardinals’ lineup.
Not everything Albert Pujols touches turns to gold. He became the first player in baseball history to hit into three double plays on opening day. Good thing he put his contract negotiations on hold so that he can concentrate on playing baseball.
Dodgers’ closer Jonathan Broxton got the save, but gave up a solo shot to Pat Burrell in the process. Broxton was brutal last season and struggled in spring training so keep the names Kuo, Jansen and even MacDougal in mind.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Jim Bukowski is a staff writer for BaseballSharks.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.