April Fool\'s Day
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.
It's my birthday and I'll drink if I want to.
Yeah, it's my birthday, and that's no joke despite the fact that it's April Fool's Day. Obviously I'm feeling a bit frisky given today given the enormity of the day, so I'm just going to let it fly today and leave it up to you to determine when I'm stating a fact or exaggerating for effect.
John Axford had a WHIP of 1.92 this spring, and things didn't get much better on opening day as he allowed a sure win to slip through the Brewers' hands as he allowed a two out, three run homer to Ramon Hernandez in the 9th inning leading to the Reds 7-6 comeback victory. I wouldn't be at all shocked if Axford figured out what ails him as he brings the heat and induces a lot of grounders, but if he continues to struggle Takashi Saito would seem like a pretty fair bet to pick up some save chances. Saito might be 40 years old, but look at his career numbers – 2.83 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 11.00 K/9 and a 3.89 K/BB ratio. Those are pretty phenomenal ratios are they not?
Ryan Franklin is awful. He allowed the game to slip away in the 9th inning on a 417 foot bomb to dead center by Cameron Maybin. It's only one game, but this is exactly why rostering a power arm like that of Matt Thornton over Franklin makes all the sense in the world. As for Maybin he looked fantastic. In addition to the bomb to dead center field he also had a single and made a great diving play on defense. Emblematic of his time in the majors though, he was removed from the game after the second hit after coming up lame. Reports are that it was just a cramp, so hopefully he'll be able to go back to being the most dynamic force in the National League in the Padres next game.
Alex Gordon had a day to remember on opening day. He missed a 3-run homer by a few feet when his deep shot ended up on the wrong side of the foul pole and he struck out three times while going 0-for-5 while leaving five batters on base. I'm cheering for the guy, but the Royals are doing him no favors but putting him in the third hole in the order. Are they trying to put so much pressure on him that he fails yet again? I know he's been swinging a good bat, but why not bat him 7th, let him get some confidence going in regular season games, and then move him up the order is his production warrants it. Of course, that makes far too much sense for a team that, and I'm not kidding, has no idea how to put together a major league batting order. Melky Cabrera was hitting second, a great spot for a guy with a career .328 OBP and only moderate speed.
Jeff Mathis had a huge opening day for the Angels. Not only did he guide a staff to a victory, 4-2 over the Royals, he also did some serous bashing at the dish. Mathis had two hits, a homer and a double, in the best offensive game of his life going back to t-ball when he was five years old. That's only a slight exaggeration. I mean seriously, the guy had six games of two hits or more last year and he appeared in 68 contests. How bad a hitter is he? In a career of 954 at-bats prior to opening day he had hit .195 with a .265 OBP and a .311 SLG. For those of you without a calculator handing that means his OPS of .576 is only .295 points behind the leading OPS mark posted by a catcher last season (Joe Mauer .871). I mean my goodness. Mathis' career SLG is .311. His old mate behind the dish, Mike Napoli, has a career OBP of .346.
Albert Pujols is awful. He went 0-for-5 with three double-plays to become the first player in big league history to do that on opening day. Hopefully you didn't draft him first overall because this was an absolutely horrible performance and one that is likely to be indicative of his yearlong struggles.
Happy April Fool's Day.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 5-8 PM EDT and Sunday 7-10 PM EDT), Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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