Mark Buehrle- CHA- Idea- If any of you are A's fans, maybe you want to give Bob Geren a gift subscription to Fantistics. We noted after his last start that Buehrle has problems when hitters jump on his first pitches. The A's seem not to have picked that up. Even in the first inning, when they tagged Buehrle for the only 3 runs he would give up in his 7 innings of work, Oakland hitters watched 6 of the 7 first pitches made. Of those, 4 were called strikes. The only hitter that offered on the first pitch was Nick Swisher, but he laid down a sac bunt. This trend continued for the rest of the game. Buehrle faced 20 batters for the remaining 6 innings of his outing. Of those 17 watched the first pitch go by. Nine of those were strikes. I know the whole Moneyball theory of patience and on base percentage and, in general, I think it's valid. However, every rule has exceptions. A pitcher like Buehrle seems to be one of them. If you let him get ahead in the count, he will be successful. His first pitches are often the most hittable as he attempts to get that edge. That is when he is most vulnerable. Against a team that is not quite as rigid philosophically, Buehrle could find trouble as he did in the second half of last year.
Huston Street- OAK- Cold- Street gave up his first runs of the season yesterday, 3 of them to be exact, after entering a tie game in the top of the 9th. It pegged him with the loss, but at least he didn't blow a save. Street's ERA ballooned from 0.00 to 5.79, but that's a factor of how early the season is. Chalk it up to one of those things that happens every once in a while. It's nothing to get your undies in a bunch over.
Robinson Tejeda- TEX- Cold- It looks like the game-by-game success of Tejeda depends on his ability to establish his breaking ball. Last night, he didn't have it so the Devil Ray hitters pounced on first pitch fastballs that Tejeda was forced to turn to, and predictably so, in an attempt to get ahead in the count early. So, we may have a case where Tejeda will show Jekyll and Hyde tendencies, alternating outings like last night with those like his solid debut against the Red Sox. It's tough to suffer through the rough starts to get the good ones, especially when you can't predict which kind is coming up. His fantasy value takes a hit as a result.
Felix Hernandez- SEA- Hot- Hernandez came within one J. D. Drew single of a no-hitter yesterday, shutting out the Red Sox and stealing the spotlight from the Dice-K Mania that surrounded the game. Hernandez walked only 2, struck out 6 and faced just 2 batters more than the minimum. It was a superlative performance, coming on the heels of and impressive first start. Keep a watch on how Hernandez bounces back in his next start. He threw 111 pitches yesterday after tossing 110 in his 2007 debut. Last year, he had similar stretches and then would turn in a real stinker of an outing. Check and see if a similar trend develops this season.
Joakim Soria- KC- Rookie- Yes, Joakim Soria picked up his first major league save Tuesday and looked impressive doing so. However, before you run out and put in a claim for the Rule V draftee, take the following things into account. 1) He pitches for the Royals. They are 3-6 right now and save opportunities are not going to coming by the bucketful. 2) Octavio Dotel will have the closer role back when he returns from injury ina week or so. 3) Soria is not going to be available every day in the meantime. The Royals are not going to overburden his arm at this point. If there had been a save opportunity yesterday it would have been David Riske, and not Soria, who went out to the mound. Soria would not yield much at this point in terms of fantasy production.
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