News, Analysis & UpdatesApril 4, 2012

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The Deal: Opening Night, America Edition

By R.J. White

Finally, after about a week of waiting, we’re finally at the real Opening Day … almost. Two teams take the field tonight, as the Cardinals and Marlins square off in Miami’s new stadium, and that’s it. By tomorrow morning, the season will have started for four teams; we’re getting there!

Tonight, we’ll watch Josh Johnson try and pick up where he prematurely left off last season. He’s had the Ks working this spring, punching out 24 batters in 22.1 innings while walking 10 guys, and he was completely dominant in his last start, striking out nine in 5.2 innings while walking one. I have a good feeling about him this year, and I’ve invested in multiple leagues.

We’ll also get a look at the post-Pujols Cardinals for the first time in regular season action — at least, if we aren’t blinded by the Miami uniforms. The Cardinals are without Chris Carpenter for a while, which means Kyle Lohse is taking the mound. Seems like a good time to stream a couple Marlins, if you have some on your bench. For St. Louis, a middle of the order consisting of Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran was much scarier a few years ago, but don’t think these guys are done. All have seemed like solid values in the drafts I participated in this spring, and if any of them start off slowly, you could buy them off the discount rack from disgruntled owners.

Bailey is Creamed

Well, that didn’t take long. Andrew Bailey, who falls just behind Mariano Rivera in terms of reliability and ability to avoid injury [/sarcasm], is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break with a thumb injury that requires surgery. Excellent when healthy, Bailey hasn’t been able to pitch 50 innings in either of the last two seasons, and now we can make it three in a row. Mark Melancon is the obvious add, though Alfredo Aceves is garnering consideration for the closing gig. Why Aceves isn’t in the rotation and Daniel Bard isn’t in the ninth inning is beyond me.

Something in the Closer Water

Bailey, Joakim Soria, Ryan Madson … and Kyle Farnsworth? The Rays pitcher is the latest closer to be shelved, as he’s expected to start the season on the DL with elbow soreness. That’s never a good thing to hear with any pitcher, but his owners can cross their fingers that he’ll be back soon. Joel Peralta is the guy to add, though Jake McGee could get his belated shot at closing this year. Peralta, Melancon, etc. are why you shouldn’t pay much for saves on Draft Day.

Cruisin’ For a Bruisin’

Nelson Cruz had to leave last night’s game after getting hit on the elbow by a pitch, and judging from his reaction, owners were likely expecting the worst. However, X-rays didn’t reveal any serious injury, and fantasy owners should have him ready to roll this weekend. Check the news over the next few days, just to be sure.

Spring Lines of the Day

Dustin Pedroia: 2-for-3, 2 R, 3 RBI
Ian Desmond: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB
Wilson Ramos: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Adam Dunn: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 6 HRs this spring
Carlos Peguero: 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Cole Hamels: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Max Scherzer: 4 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 H
Chris Sale: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Mike Pelfrey: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Clayton Richard: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Tyler Chatwood: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, Win

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse and Razzball. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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