April 5, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Juan Rivera (21) congratulates center fielder Matt Kemp (27) after a two-run homerun during the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres during opening day at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
I have my NL-Only UBA league draft tonight in NYC, and am heading up around lunch time today. The draft is in the early evening and I will be up early Saturday morning for for my AL-only league draft in New York, so I won't be posting on Saturday.
Last year in this column, I kept track of runs scored by all big league teams for the first few months of the 2011 season to highlight how much run scoring was down and how pitching was dominating. Well, I won't be doing that again, but if yesterday was any indication, run scoring will again be down this year, and pitching will dominate. Again.
Roy Halladay gave up two hits to the first two batters and didn't give up another hit and finished the game giving up just two hits in 8 innings, walking none, and striking out 5 to earn his first win of the year. Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels will have to bring their A game every start as the Phils managed just one run vs Pirates starter Erik Bedard.
Mets starter Johan Santana looked like his old self in his first start of the season, giving up just two hits, walking two and striking out 5 in 5 innings. I opined that he wouldn't make 20 starts this season, but he hasn't had any set backs thus far.
Braves right fielder Jason Heyward batted 7th yesterday and went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. I like this decision by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. Heyward is still working on his swing, so bat him 7th so there is no pressure on him. The Dodgers batted Matt Kemp 7th and 8th back when Joe Torre was managing the club, as Kemp was working on pitch recognition.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
Tigers starter Justin Verlander threw 105 pitches yesterday with just 66 going for strikes, but still dominated as he shut out the Red Sox for 8 innings, giving up just 2 hits, a walk and 7 strikeouts. He left with a 2-0 lead, but closer Jose Valverde decided yesterday was the day to stop his consecutive save streak. Valverde blew the save but got the win in the Tigers 3-2 win. He could win 20 again pitching with that lineup behind him.
Ryan Dempster dominated the Nationals yesterday, giving up just one run, on 2 hits, 3 walks and striking out 10 in 7.2 innings. He left with the lead, but reliever Kerry Wood walked the first three batters he faced to tie the game. He was helped by a strong wind at Wrigley as the wind held back two possible homers from Nat's third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg held the Cubs to just one run in 7 innings of work, giving up 5 hits, a walk and striking out 5. Strasburg pitched well, but if you followed my twitter feed, you would have thought he threw a no-hitter. He's a solid starter, an ace, but my gosh. There are better starters in baseball than Stephen Strasburg. For now.
I think the Red Sox could use Justin Masterson in their rotation. Masterson held a solid Blue Jays lineup to just one run on two hits, a walk and 10 strikeouts. He also induced 11 ground ball outs, but did not figure in the decision after closer Chris Perez blew the save in the 9th inning. The Vinnie Pestano watch has begun.
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp stated, again, before yesterday's game vs the Padres that he is setting his sights on a 50 HR - 50 SB season. Lofty goals for sure. But he went out and backed it up as he went 2-5 with a HR, 2 runs, 3 RBI and a caught stealing.