The 11th Inning Stretch
At the Top
Rick Ankiel and the Houston Astros made the most of their American League debut, beating the Rangers 8-2 as the 2013 season got underway. Ankiel’s blast was sealed the deal to give Bud Norris his first win o f the season. Norris pitched well over 5.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts he did walk three batters–always a concern for Norris–but the strikeout ability will keep us perennially interested.
We touched on Norris when putting together the Fantasy Wildcard team in recent weeks and he gave you much of what was expected in his first turn of the year. Moving forward, Bud will need to limit the free passes to keep that ERA on the friendly side of 4.00 and maintain value for mixed leaguers. Norris is currently available in over 93% of fantasy leagues and at the very least is worth a spot start at home–where he registered a 1.71 ERA in 11 starts last season–against Oakland later in the week.
Around the League
- Nelson Cruz collected a pair of hits in three at-bats, adding a walk and driving in one during an opening day loss to the Astros.
- Astros’ center fielder Justin Maxwell smacked two triples, scoring twice and driving in a pair of runs. Maxwell struggle this spring and has posted a brutal .217 batting average over 534 career at-bats. Still, he managed 18 home runs and nine steals in 315 at-bats and remains an enticing power/speed threat if he can indeed figure out how to keep that average afloat.