March 28, 2012
...but don't worry, it's not too late to sign-up for a league, even if opening day is already in the books.
Seattle topped Oakland in an 11-inning affair at the Tokyo Dome, while most of you were sleeping. The fantasy season is now officially, irrevocably underway. We have stats. Someone is actually winning your league right now, with a chance to go wire-to-wire.
Dustin Ackley was the big star for the M's on opening night/morning, going 2-for-5 with a homer in the fourth and an RBI single in the 11th. He stole a base, too — because he cares about you, fantasy owner. Ichiro went 4-for-5 (on pace for 648 hits!), Brandon McCarthy coaxed a million ground-balls over seven crisp innings, and Felix Hernandez finished with his usual excellent line (8.0 IP, 5 H, ER, 0 BB, 6 K). We should note that Ichiro was looking to steal on more than one occasion, but you won't find evidence of the attempts in the box score. Just know that it happened.
Yoenis Cespedes collected his first major league hit in his second at-bat, a double drilled to the wall in right-center. He also whiffed twice, chasing low breaking pitches each time. That could become a problem. Jesus Montero had a big two-out RBI opportunity in the sixth inning, with the scored tied 1-1, but he hit into a fielder's choice. Both teams used their closers on Wednesday, successfully. Grant Balfour entered in the ninth and retired Seattle's 3-4-5 hitters in order; Brandon League earned the save, striking out two of the four batters he faced (and barely avoiding a liner off the bat of Seth Smith. That woulda been ugly).
Some of you are probably looking for a fantasy takeaway here (this being a fantasy blog), so I'll point out that both of the clean-up hitters in Wednesday's game, Oakland's Smith and Seattle's Justin Smoak, are available in over 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Neither player is a must-add fantasy asset — they combined to go 1-for-9 in the opener — but at least they're well-positioned for counting stats...if they ever hit.
All things considered, it was a fine opening day, except for the part where most of you couldn't watch. But that's why we're here. On Thursday morning (again, ridiculously early), Bartolo Colon and Jason Vargas are scheduled to duel. You won't want to miss that. If you plan to stream, take care of business soon. First pitch is at 4:10 am CT.
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