Joe Nathan- TEX- FYI- Nathan got into last night's game because he hadn't pitched in a couple of days. He entered the 9th inning with a 4 run lead so it wasn't a save situation. However, a walk, error and hit later, it would have been a save opportunity for another pitcher had manager Ron Washington chosen to the bullpen. He didn't and Nathan finished the game, allowing an unearned run on a hit and walk in his inning of work. This lowered his ERA to 5.14 but increased his WHIP to 1.29. Most of Nathan's difficulties this season (besides the ERA he has an 0-2 record and a blown save in 4 opportunities) are a result of bad luck. His BABIP of .368 and LOB% of 52.6% are reflected in the difference between Nathan's ERA and his FIP of 2.63. His K/9 of 11.57 is outstanding. Washington seems to be sticking with Nathan as his closer and with a strong Texas team behind him, Nathan is a solid bet for significant fantasy value, even with a slow start.
Junichi Tazawa- BOS- Rise Value- Tazawa takes Mark Melancon's spot in the bullpen. He has not allowed a run in his 4 appearances covering 7 IP at AAA Pawtucket this season. Tazawa's 9 Ks and 2 walks indicate that his recover from Tommy John surgery in 2010 may be complete. Tazawa was a starter before his surgery and might eventually get put back in that role, but for now relief is his niche. He could have some value in leagues that count holds.
Hiroki Kuroda- NYA- Cold- Kuroda didn't walk anyone yesterday. That's about the best that can be said about the outing, his second poor start in his 3 appearances this year. He was tagged for 6 runs on 10 hits while striking out 4 in 4.1 IP against the Twins. Kuroda's BABIP of .339 indicates that his early season issues with consistency are luck related. This could be a buy low opportunity f his current owner in your league is getting nervous.
David Price- TB- Caution- Price needed 106 pitches to get through 5.2 IP against the Blue Jays. He only allowed 2 runs but gave up 8 hits and walked 2 while striking out 3. Last season Price hit the 110 pitch mark 21 times after only doing it 15 times combined in 2009-2010. Price has had bad luck (.340 BABIP) so far this season but his BB/9 rate is up at 5.40 and his K/9 rate is down to 6.60. Since this is the same manager that overused Scott Kazmir into ineffectiveness, I have worries about the long term effects of Price's 2011 workload.
Prince Fielder- DET- Hot- Fielder is enjoying a huge .389 BABIP right now and that it driving his .356 average. He only has 2 homers so far, but that's not unheard of. Fielder had 2 homers in the first month of 2010 and finished with 32. Through April 25 last season Fielder only had 3 homers and ended up with 38. Don't worry about the slow power start and enjoy the batting average while it lasts.
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