Kansas City Royals outfielder Mark Teahen could see the dip in Francisco Lirano's velocity.
He didn't have any trouble picking up the lefty's slider, either.
"He's still throwing 91 [miles per hour] and can still be a really productive pitcher," Teahen told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "but definitely not the flash that was there in '06."
In other words: Teahen wasn't too impressed with Liriano's first start in 19 months Sunday, a 5-1 Royals victory.
And Teahen went 0-for-3!
Imagine what the rest of the Royals – the guys who accounted for the six hits and five walks and four runs in 4 2/3 innings – had to say.
The good news for fantasy owners is that Liriano got through it. Conditions weren't ideal, as the wind chill around game time was about 29 degrees. He still popped the fastball at 88-93 mph, but location was a problem.
Fifty-percent owned Brian Bannister had no such troubles. He's now 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA.
• Bobby Howry picked up the save for the Cubs Sunday, but only because Kerry Wood had pitched two scoreless innings in an eventual 6-5 victory in 10.
• Chad Cordero needed to be bailed out in his season debut Sunday. Protecting a one-run lead, he got two quick outs before allowing a walk, a double and an intentional walk. Jon Rauch threw one pitch to Brian McCann to earn his second save. It was a matchup call, as McCann came in 0-for-8 lifetime against Rauch. Wily Mo Pena struck out three times in his season debut.
• Not a bad fantasy line for Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth, who started in center in place of DL-bound Shane Victorino Sunday. Werth homered and stole two bases batting second behind Geoff Jenkins. Some of the lineup funny business will subside when Jimmy Rollins returns, but Werth deserves attention during his extended audition.
• As Brad Evans warned in last week's Noise, fly balls could become a problem for Johnny Cueto if the Reds wunderkind doesn't reduce his fly ball percentage. More specifically, fly balls that carry over the fence could get him in trouble. Such was the case Sunday in Pittsburgh – hardly a hitter's paradise – where Cueto was taken deep by Ryan Doumit and Xavier Nady. Cueto's ERA took a big hit, but he did manage six strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP in the 9-1 defeat. You can still sell high, just a little lower now. If that makes any sense.
• Start the free agency clock on Jeff Niemann, the 6-foot-9 Tampa Bay Devil Rays prospect who made his Major League debut Sunday. Niemann, the fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft, held Baltimore to one run on six hits in six innings, striking out five. The only true blemish on his record was a sixth-inning Niemann-Markakis home run. OK, that was bad. Kicking the tires on his intriguing righty will require a waiver claim, as he'll be introduced to the player pool shortly after his debut.
• Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun talked Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost into that lineup change they requested. Braun was moved to third and went 1-for-5. Fielder hit cleanup and extended his homerless streak to 45 at-bats. Former minor league manager Gabe Kapler homered (his fourth), doubled twice and drove in three runs.
• Two-percent owned Cliff Lee, a former 18-game winner, fanned eight A's hitters in eight two-hit innings Sunday. He's pitched into the seventh inning twice and allowed a total of six hits in starting the season 2-0.
• Giants outfielder John Bowker has two homers and seven RBIs in two major league games after homering for the straight day Sunday.