..to be perfect. A ground ball through the five-hole with two out in the eight ended Yu Darvish‘s bid for a perfect game, though his ascent to the elite tier of fantasy aces may have just begun. We’ve seen the top-shelf K-rate before as Darvish struck out over 27% of the batters he faced in 2012. His season debut Tuesday was no different as he sat down 14 Astros with the punch out during a run of 26 consecutive outs to start the game. Marwin Gonzalez ended all of that, and Yu could do little but smile and shrug it off.
First and foremost, you’ve gotta love this guy’s attitude on the mound. He did not appear to be pressing once during the fantastic effort. Darvish overwhelmed the Astros with an excellent arsenal of breaking balls, hitting his spots on both sides of the dish. Yu did not issue a walk in the outing, marking the first game in his major league career without a walk. The control is perhaps the biggest sign of encouragement as his poor 4.19 BB/9 in 2012 represented the biggest wart on his profile. Darvish posted eight game last season with double-digit strikeouts, and with one under his belt already in 2013, he will be the favorite to capture the AL strikeout crown. Fantasy owners will have to take a leap of faith to bank on elite production in the ratio categories but Yu has not given us much to doubt with his season opening performance.
Around the League
- After a couple of closers struggled Monday, the stoppers did what they are payed to do Tuesday evening. Chris Perez, Rafael Betancourt, Jim Johnson and Sergio Romo all converted tidy saves for their respective teams. Don’t fret saves chasers, Grant Balfour got knocked around in a non-save situation and Carlos Marmol will be back at it with the Cubbies tomorrow.
- Oriole’s outfielder Adam Jones picked up right where he left off in 2012, smacking a pair of doubles on his way to a 3-for-5 day with two runs scored and two RBI. Teammates Chris Davis and Matt Wieters both homered and Wieters also added a double to stuff the box score. We’ve been a relatively down on Wieters this spring mostly due to the amount of talent a the catcher position that was slipping to the later rounds of fantasy drafts, but the 26-year-old backstop certainly has all of the tools to succeed. If we cobble together a ceiling line for Wieters combining his career best-performances in each 5×5 category we are already looking at a player who has put up a .288-72-23-83-3 line across multiple seasons. If he could just put it all together…
- Mike Morse blasted a pair of home runs during Seattle’s 7-1 Mauling of the Athletics. We’ve been telling you all preseason to jump on the most underrated .290-30-90 bat in the game at his 17th round ADP and now can only hope you listened. Don’t believe me, well lets see how he stacks up against a couple of top-50 overall players according to Yahoo! ADP. Stats are from 2010-2012 averaged per 162 games.
- A night after Felix Hernandez dominated the A’s, Hishashi Iwakuma tossed a gem of his own, fanning seven batters with zero walks over seven innings. A solo shot allowed to Yoenis Cespedes was Iwakuma’s only mistake as he looks to continue the strong performance he put up down the stretch in 2013.
- Ben Zobrist went deep for the on his way to a 2-for-3 effort with one runs scored and two RBI.
- Justin Masterson out-pitched reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey as the Indians beat Toronto 4-1. Masterson notched his first win of the yar whil allowing just one run on three hits over 6.0 innings pitched with five strikeouts. The quality outing against a tough lineup was a nice surprise, but excuse me if I don’t buy into a guy who walked four batter over six innings–after walking 3.84 batters per nine innings last season. Do your WHIP a favor and leave Masterson on the wire where he belongs.
- CarGo and Tulo did it again. The Rockies’ studs each homered for the second consecutive game as Colorado evened up their season record. The lineup may not be deep, but with a dynamic duo batting in the heart of the order, the Rockies are certainly not a lineup to overlook.
- Brewers starter Marco Estrada is unlikely to overlook the Rox in the near future after yielding four earned runs on nine hits in just 5.0 innings. He did, however, strike out eight without a single walk and lets be honest, the strikeouts are what you paid for. Stay patient with Estrada as he attempts to bounce back against the Cubs early next week.
- Rangers second sacker Ian Kinsler did a bit of everything Tuesday while backing a lights-out Yu Darvish. Kinsler knocked in a pair and crossed the plate twice, going 2-for-4 with a walk. Teammates Elvis Andrus and Lance Berkman each collected three hits on the day and the top three in the Rangers’ order (Kinsler, Andrus, Berkman) combined to drive in five of the Rangers seven runs.
- He is certainly going to be overshadowed by the guy across the diamond, but Astros’ starter Lucas Harrell threw well in his AL-debut. Harrell gave the Stros six strong, allowing one run on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts. He doesn’t make our “Pickup of the Day” list quite yet, but Harrell remains an interesting spot-starter in standard mixers.