10 Important Stories From 04/05/17 Box Scores: Lindor’s Big Day, Peralta Shows Potential & More

by Ray Kuhn

For the most part, offense was in short supply around the majors on Wednesday. In some cases, it was expected (Chris Sale and Jacob deGrom), but in others (Brandon Finnegan, Willy Peralta), it was not. Weather claimed two of the three afternoon games, but we still had an action filled night.

Sam Dyson is the first closer to truly provide some drama, and it didn’t take long for their to drama surrounding Garrett Richards’ return. Heading nto the fifth inning, Richards was cruising along throwing in the mid-90’s and rewarding all who took a chance for him. But that is where his night ended, as he got into trouble with two runners on base while also shaking his right arm after some pitches. The official explanation for his removal from the game was biceps inflammation, but he will be evaluated on Thursday. This is going to be a situation to follow.

Let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out:

1) A Debut to Remember in Boston, Kind of…

It is hard to miss the expectations surrounding Chris Sale in his debut season with the Red Sox. His talent and pedigree is without question, but some point to David Price as a cautionary tale for pitchers in their first season with Boston and also for left-handers. But for one night, Sale eased those concerns with seven shutout innings. Sale limited the Pirates to just three hits and one walk while striking out seven. The southpaw was lifted after 104 pitches so all he had to show for his efforts in a pitchers duel with Jameson Taillon (seven shutout innings, five hits, three walks, six strikeouts) was a no-hitter. Sandy Leon, who emerged on the scene last season, ended things with a three run, walk-off, home run in the 12th inning.

2) Jay Bruce Has a Second Chance in New York…

It was hard to miss Bruce’s struggles with the Mets after being traded to New York at the trading deadline. After many rumors and a lot of speculation, Bruce ultimately was not moved in the off-season and returned to the Mets. After walking three times, once with the bases loaded, and going 0-1 on Monday, Bruce’s power was on display last night. He got the scoring opened up with a solo blast that had an impressive exit velocity that cut through the wind. Later, in the 12th inning, he tried to get a late rally going for the Mets with a double, but it ultimately was for nothing as Matt Kemp’s two run double (to cap his three hit night) was the margin of victory for Atlanta. Bruce has the talent and the track record to support this performance, and if he continues his success, he likely will move up from the sixth spot in the order.

3) A Marathon Game in Houson, and an Unlikely Hero…

In Houston’s 13th inning triumph, it’s hard not to focus on George Springer. The outfielder, who got Houston’s offense going with a lead-off home run on Opening Day, was once again the hitting start for the Astros. Springer tied the game with a two run double in the seventh inning, and then he ended the game in dramatic fashion with a three run blast in extra innings. But without Chris Devenski, Springer and the Astros would never have been in that position. Devenski provided four innings of invaluable relief. On the mound from the eighth inning through the eleventh inning, the right-hander doesn’t get anything for his efforts, he kept Seattle off the scoreboard for four innings while limited them to just one walk while striking out seven.

4) Francisco Lindor Makes up for His Error…

Defense doesn’t carry over into fantasy baseball, but you don’t want to see your players bring errors from the field to plate. After having already went deep once in the game, Lindor certainly atoned for his throwing error. The shortstop put Cleveland up for good, and helped to secure a season opening sweep in Texas, with a ninth inning grand slam off the (newly) much maligned Sam Dyson. After bursting onto the scene last season, Lindor, at least early in the season, doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

5) An Unlikely Pitching Performance in Cincinnati…

This game was supposed to be filled in offense. Philadelphia’s batters, especially the right-handed ones, were supposed to feast on Brandon Finnegan. But we should know by now that things don’t often go according to plan. Finnegan kept the Phillies off balance all night and never gave them a chance. In seven shutout innings, Finnegan allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out nine. At one point, Finnegan had retired 19 Phillies in a row. The Reds then, despite speculation to the contrary this spring, used their bullpen conventionally. Michael Lorenzen picked up a hold with a scoreless eighth inning, he did allow two hits while striking out two, before Rasiel Iglesias struck out two more batters in the ninth inning to pick up the save.

6) Eduardo Escobar Looks for Playing Time…

On paper, Escobar is more of a utility player, but he could make this case for more playing time if he keeps this up. Getting the start on Wednesday, Escobar was one of the hitting stars for Minnesota. The starting shortstop was 2 for 4 with four RBI against Kansas City, which included a three run blast off Matt Strahm. Escobar isn’t going to be a difference maker on your fantasy team, but his versatility could make a difference if he hits enough to earn more playing time.

7) Matt Wieters is Making His Presence Felt…

It is always hard when a player joins a new team. When that player happens to be a catcher, and it happens later in the off-season, that adjustment period is even more difficult. As catchers have to learn a new pitching staff, the offense often takes a step back, but Wieters looked perfectly fine on Wednesday. He went 3 for 3 in Washington’s victory with a double and two RBI. While he is currently slotted in the bottom of the Nationals’ order, it is a deep lineup and there will be RBI opportunities aplenty.

8) Colorado Was Shut Down…

Based on the fact that Willy Peralta was on the mound for Milwaukee, this wasn’t exactly an expected result. Peralta did need 90 pitches to get through five innings, but if you were interested in the right-hander as a spot starter (I would be treading carefully), it was hard to argue. Colorado managed just three hits and one walk against the right-hander while striking out five times. In fact, the Rockies were kept off the scoreboard until the ninth inning. They managed a little rally of Taylor Jungmann (one run on two hits and and a walk), but a Neftali Feliz strikeout ending things. It also gave fantasy owners a nice, easy save from one of the less secure closers; although who is going to take his place?

9) A Strong Opening Series for Chris Owings…

While he is not going to receive the same attention as A.J Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt, rightfully so, Owings does deserve some attention. The utility player has been in the lineup for all three games so far for Arizona, both at shortstop and in the outfield, and he hasn’t disappointed batting .417. While he bats towards the bottom of the order against right-handers, he deserves a little more attention when Arizona faces a southpaw. Batting second on Wednesday, Owings went 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored, an RBI, and two stolen bases. His versatility in the field only helps to make him more of a fantasy asset.

10) Will Yasiel Puig Have Fantasy Value…

After bursting onto the scene a few seasons ago, the going has been rough for Puig as of late. After spending time in the minor leagues last season, this is a make or break season for the outfielder as he looks to rebuild his value. Batting eighth on Wednesday, Puig did take a step in the right direction as he went 2 for 3 with a solo home run. So far this season, Puig is hitting .333. While he should have your attention as a fantasy owner, he has a long way to go before he truly should be invested in.

3 comments

  1. Carlito says:

    Finnegan or Kennedy next week for two stars?

    Also is Mazara and Sano this good or do you think they come back to earth?

    • Sam says:

      I don’t know their matchups but I personally favour Finnegan’s talent.

      Maz, yes. Sano, power yes but expect a big BA decline.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It’s 2 or 3 games, both are good but you can’t get excited over anything people do.

      As for the two starts, I like Kennedy’s matchups better but don’t trust him. I’d go Finnegan

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