After a couple years layoff, we are resurrecting our old friend — The 11th Inning Stretch — a daily breeze through the box score to uncover the hidden gems that will aid your quest to a fantasy championship. We’ll also throw in a couple of DFS selections for those of you testing out the waters on the daily game.
As daily fans across the land rushed to stack the Brew Crew against Rockies Opening Day start Kyle Kendrick, they found themselves on the wrong side of the diamond from the premiere offensive assault. The Rockies brought their big bats on their season opening rod trip, putting up a dime on Kyle Lohse and the Brewers. Third baseman Nolan Arenado led the way with a 3-for-4 efforts, slugging a home run, scoring three times and driving in four. Troy Tulowitzki joined him with three runs scored and Corey Dickerson matched his RBI total with a four steak game as well. A healthy Carlos Gonzalez also chipped in a pair of hits out of the two-hole, giving the Rockies more depth in the lineup than they’ve since the days of Larry Walker and Dante Bichette.
The numbers in that little table thingy above are quite frankly eye-popping and would seem to support the conventional wisdom that this team only hits when at home. Still, it’s important to realize that health has also played a major role on the Rox success over the last several years. Teams that are built around two foundation bats tend to slump when one or the other is not in the lineup and the Rockies have suffered through long stretches without the services of CarGo and Tulo. With a bit of depth added to the lineup in the form of Arenado and Dickerson, the Rockies will be able to keep their studs fresh in the hopes also keeping them healthy.
This is the best looking Rockies lineup we’ve seen in well over a decade and it will be a force both in the thin air of Coors field and when they take the show on the road.
- Alex Rios made a splash in his Royals debut, knocking three hits including a homer and swiping a bag as well. Over the past three season, Rios has put together a .288/.324/.452 slash while averaging 18 home runs and 30 steals per 162 games. There is plenty of gas left in the tank.
- It was more of the same from AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber as he tossed 7.1 strong inning with seven strikeouts. Kluber was out-duelded by fellow 2015 breakout Dallas Keuchel. We didn’t like the three free passes that Keuchel handed out, but he continues to rack up the ground balls while throwing with confidence.
- Boston’s bats played a bit of homer run derby against Cole Hamels and the Phillies on Opening Day, slugging five long balls — two each for Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez and one for Mooke Betts. On the flip side, Clay Buchholz dominated a punchless Phillies offense. An encouraging performance for Buchholz for sure, but we’re going to take away from this the ability to stream starters early and often against this miserable Phialdelphia squad.
- Todd Frazier came up with the big hit for the Reds to give them an Opening Day W, but watching Joey Votto collect a pair of hits out of the two-hole and Jay Bruce go deep in the fourth off of lefty Francisco Liriano are the details to note.
- Masahiro Tanaka‘s new arsenal did not have positive results, he failed to get through the fifth inning for just the second time in his career. After taking a flier in a couple of draft where the Yankees ace slipped outside the top-100 picks, I’m still hanging on, but Tanaka is probably a bench-worthy candidate until he turns in a useful start.
Call to the Pen
- Jason Grilli got he nod in post-Kimbrel Atlanta. He showed solid strikeout skills down the stretch last season and should do just fine.
- Chris Hatcher locked down the save for the Dodgers, and should continue to do so as long as he has success in Kenley Jansen‘s absence.
Injuries and Such
- Buddy Carlyle grabbed the save for the Mets with Jenrry Mejia unable to shake elbow soreness as he warned up in the ninth. Jeurys Familia is the priority add and would likely have garnered the opportunity had he not already pitched in the game.
- Matt Cain was diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon and is headed for the disabled list. Jake Peavy has also been scratched from his start later this week, leaving the San Francisco rotation up in the air. Ryan Vogelsong will fill in one of the spots, but fantasy owners need to keep an eye on Yusmiero Petite, who’s strikeout rate alone makes him mix-league worthy.
Daily Fantasy Deals
Each day we’ll toss out a batter and a pitcher who is making their way into our DFS lineups
Stephen Vogt: After blasting a three-run shot on Opening Day, Vogt should find himself in the lineup once again with a right-hander of the mound. Vogt offers underrated power and is catcher eligible in the Draft Kings game. For an affordable 7% of your budget, he’s a nice option over more expensive backstops Buster Posey and Jonathan Lucroy.
Zack Greinke: He’s likely to be among the priciest options at starting pitcher regardless of format, but Greinke has a nice matchup agains the Padres heavily right-handed lineup in San Diego.