UPDATES & NEWS
Manager Clint Hurdle said there remains a 'chance' Andrew McCutchen (rib) avoids the disabled list.
Seriously? The Pirates are really going to try this? McCutchen is dealing with a fractured rib and the original recovery timetable give to him was one month. Now, the Pirates are thinking that he'll be back next week? They can try it until they need depth on the roster given the fact that the move to the DL can be done retroactively, but might be forced to make the move should another injry crop up or they simply need to add depth to the bullpen. If McCutchen doesn't hit the DL and they try to let him play through it, fantasy owners could be in serious trouble relying on production they just won't get.ANALYST: Howard Bender
Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed just two hits with no walks and eight strikeouts against the Rays on Saturday.
If there was ever a moment that screamed “sell high,” it’s here right now. Tanaka’s pitching line in this game was absolutely delicious and many will be drawn in to the possibility that Tanaka is perfectly fine and ready to tear it up like he did at the start of last season. But you need to be the wise one here and understand that the Rays were batting just .220 against right-handers and were ranked 20thj in the league for run production against them. Granted it’s early, but his walks are up, his K/BB is down and his ground ball rate has dwindled. His swinging-strike rate is also down as he is pitching to more contact than usual. This new approach on the mound might be fooling the Rays but it’s probably not going to cut it against the Tigers next week. Analysis: Howard Bender
Travis d’Arnaud went 1-for-4 with a solo home run against the Marlins on Saturday.
The Mets backstop has been fairly steady this season, but has definitely heated up a little more lately having hit safely in three of his last four games with a double, two home runs and three RBI. He should be a decent source for power behind the plate this year, though it might be difficult for him to maintain this .289 average. But then again, how many catchers out there can sustain that kind of a batting average anyway? Analysis: Howard Bender
Dee Gordon went 5-for-5 with a double and three RBI against the Mets on Saturday.
While you’d like to have seen a stolen base maybe, a five-hit night with three RBI is a fantastic boost for fantasy lineups all over. He’s now hit safely in six of the last seven games with four multi-hit performances in that span and seems to be doing a great job of easing anyone’s doubts that he wouldn’t be able to keep up the level of play he gave you last season. The 60-percent success rate on the basepaths is a little troubling, but we’re also talking about a small sample size. Once he gets rolling, he’ll push for the NL stolen base crown once again. Analysis: Howard Bender
Dallas Keuchel improved to 2-0 after throwing six scoreless innings against the Angels on Saturday. He allowed just two hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
While three walks per game is not a number you want to see this consistently, it’s difficult to criticize what Keuchel has done for his fantasy owners thus far. This was his third-straight quality start and he’s now allowed just two earned runs over the course of 20 innings. The 13.67 GB/FB is obviously unsustainable, but considering last season’s mark of 3.30, you can tell which side of his bread is buttered here. A strong infield behind him should help all year and if he can maybe increase that strikeout rate just a touch, he’ll be even more valuable moving forward. He’s probably still off the radar for a number of fantasy owners, so you may want to see if you can acquire him on the cheap right now. The A’s are up next so keep him active if you own him. Analysis: Howard Bender
Before being ejected from the game, Yordano Ventura was tagged for five runs on four hits and two walks with two strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings against the A’s on Saturday.
Ventura was cruising through the first three innings but things completely unraveled in the fourth. A leadoff walk, three hits and a wild pitch helped pave the way for a five run inning and immediately after a Josh Reddick home run, Ventura decided it was time to pay back Brett Lawrie for a late, hard slide into teammate Alcides Escobar from the night before. He drilled Lawrie in the ribs and started to jaw out of frustration which got him tossed. It’s been a tough start to the year for the 23-year old right-hander as he’s now failed to deliver a quality start in two of his three outings. He’s a better pitcher than what we’re seeing right now so be patient with him. He’ll take on a struggling White Sox team next week though he is matched up opposite Chris Sale so the win might be tough to come by. Analysis: Howard Bender