Monday, March 31, 2008

The official Hurler Opening Day live blog!

12:09 a.m.: Holy crap, I made it! Twelve straight hours of live blogging. I wouldn't recommend it for the feint of heart. (Man, am I ready for some sleep.) For everyone who stopped by today to read this, and especially those who took the time to leave a comment or two, thanks so much for joining us on Opening Day. I know there's a bazillion different fantasy sites out there vying for your attention, and I appreciate that you think the Hurler is one of the ones worth your time. I'll leave with these last few thoughts: Firstly, how many closers got totally blown up today? Gagne, Gordon, Capps, Wood. Did I miss any? What a massacre. Oh, and as expected, Peavy is cruising in San Diego. He's only given up three hits and two walks (with no runs) through six. Michael Bourn, of course, has been on twice and has stolen a pair of bases. Sorry about that, Don Ford! Perhaps I'll do this again next year. But for now, I must rest and recover ...

11:51 p.m.: The Pirates blew a five-run lead in the ninth, then almost blew a three-run lead in the 12th, before winning the craziest Opening Day baseball game I have ever seen. Fantasy-wise, I think we all now know whose getting today's Line of the Day. Because of the ninth-inning shenanigans which led to bonus baseball, Xavier Nady got to further pad his already nice first-day stats. He finished at 4-for-7 with two home runs, four RBI and four runs.

11:09 p.m.: My ERA was going to be sterling headed into tomorrow thanks to Shields and Nathan, but then Jason Bay stood dead-still on a can-on-corn fly ball that dropped cleanly two feet to the left of him and Capps ended up being charged with three earned runs in two-thirds of an inning pitched because of it. My ERA is now 5.19. I hate fantasy baseball.

10:56 p.m.: In about 10 minutes, I better be able to say, "Well, at least I stole a win with Capps and the Pirates ended up victorious anyway." Otherwise, I'm going to bed with a stomach ulcer.

10:48 p.m.: Unless you actually are a Pirate fan, you have no idea how it feels to be one. NO IDEA.

10:40 p.m.: By the way, Kelly Johnson left early tonight with a knee injury.

10:28 p.m.: Hey, whaddaya know? Bourn DID get a hit off Peavy and then added a stolen base. It's a good thing Chris Young hit that home run or Don Ford would be likely be mother-fucking this site nonstop right now.

10:19 p.m.: Ryan Doumit now has three hits tonight. If Ronnie Paulino is starting for the Pirates on Wednesday I'm going to scream (and possibly throw something really, really hard).

10:17 p.m.: And the final game of Opening Day 2008, Astros/Padres, is underway. I'm probably not going to make it to the end of that one, fellas. But I will follow through on my promise to keep blogging 'til midnight! (This despite the fact that everything now looks blurry from staring at this damn laptop all day. This all-day live blogging is exhausting!)

10:02 p.m.: Nate McLouth, who got drafted in most fantasy leagues to help out with stolen bases, has been a beast for Pirates tonight. He's 2-for-3 with a run, four RBI and a home run. On the downside, I may have just lost my save opp. That's okay. I'll take a Pirate win instead.

9;55 p.m.: No surprises -- or worries -- with Johan's first NL outing: the win, 7 IP, 3 hits, 2 BB, 2 ER, 8 Ks.

9:51 p.m.: Nathan just notched me my first money-league save of the season. Meanwhile, the Pirates are now up 5-4. Could Capps soon get me my second? Two saves on Opening Day would be oh so sweet.

9:42 p.m.: I see Joe Borowski is up to his usual tricks. He got the save, but it went along with this -- 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 BB, 1 HR, 1 ER, 1 K.

9:05 p.m.: Yahoo users, don't forget that tomorrow's actual standings may look a bit different (or a lot different, even) than your current StatTracker standings thanks to those Cardinals/Rockies stats that will come off the board.

8:35 p.m.: Saito threw a perfect inning of relief in a non-save situation today, which I'm sure has his owners (especially the ones who don't also have Broxton) breathing a sigh of relief.

8:11 p.m.: I'm not sure if I jinxed Snell or if he jinxed himself with the Glavine walk. Either way, it's 2-1 Braves now and they may be adding another here if they can get Escobar in.

8:07 p.m.: Actually, we've got three games going on now, not two. How'd I miss that Rangers/Mariners game? Snell's looking sharp ... although he just walked Glavine.

7:42 p.m.: Reason to be optimistic that the new Pirates coaching staff/front office actually does have a clue -- Doumit, not Paulino, started at catcher today. He's 1-for-1 with an early single. LaRoche's base hit puts my money-league team at 5-and-21 on the day. (And my team OBP has climbed to a tolerable .333.)

7:09 p.m.: Only two 7 p.m. games, including my beloved Buccos, so my posts from here on out will be more infrequent. But I'll still be stopping by to read comments and drop some occasional knowledge, clear up 'til midnight. Again, if you want to bitch and moan (or cheer and celebrate) how your players did this Opening Day, this thread is the place to do it.

6:49 p.m.: Cardinals/Rockies is postponed. All stats go down the crapper. Francis owners rejoice. Ankiel and Pujols owners weep. I lost an RBI from Atkins.

6:45 p.m.: How about Lastings Milledge's line today? He went 2-for-4 with three runs, two RBI and a home run. I'm thinking him over Thome for Line of the Day so far. What do you guys think? I'd love to see Milledge do well in Washingston. I still get angry when I think about how Willie Randolph and Milledge's own teammates threw him under the bus just because he showed a little emotion and passed out some high-fives to Mets fans after he hit his first Major League home run. MLB needs more players like Lastings Milledge.

6:30 p.m.: Carlos Zambrano injured a finger on his pitching hand today. He was cruising today before the injury but had to be pulled because of it.

6:17 p.m.: Ugh. Jose Reyes just got caught stealing. Colorado/St. Louis still rain-delayed. I bet Jeff Francis owners are praying for a cancellation.

5:59 p.m.: Tom Gordon just did some very bad things to my Bloggers League team.

5:44 p.m.: The Marlins' new fat-guy dance squad sure is getting a lot of TV time, courtesy of FOX Sports Florida.

5:41 p.m.: Shields gets his first win of the season. (Hopefully the first of many.) His final line -- 7 innings, 5 hits, 3 walks, 2 earned runs, 2 Ks. Pretty damn good for his first start of the year. I need those strikeouts to be higher, though.

5:30 p.m.: My money-league first-round draft pick, Jose Reyes, gets his first hit and RBI of the season. Where's today's steal, though?!

5:19 p.m.: And the tarps come out in St. Louis.

5:11 p.m.: In that Cubs/Brewers game, Zambrano and Sheets have given up three hits combined thus far.

5:04 p.m.: Pujols hits a solo shot. I'll assume his lower arm remains attached to his elbow. My all-important money-league hitters are now 2-for-16.

4:45 p.m.: St. Louis is unloading on Jeff Francis in the first inning. The only Cardinal of their first seven to make an out? Albert Pujols.

4:30 p.m.: Colorado had bases loaded with one out and Atkins then Hawpe, both of whom are in my money-league lineup, coming to bat. All I managed was a measly fielder's-choice RBI out of 'em.

4:22 p.m.: Shields has bounced back nicely from that two-run first inning. (Only two Ks through four, though.) My money-league hitters are a depressing 1-for-8 with no runs or RBI so far. That Tigers/Royals game may go on forever. (Perhaps it'll be the game I start with -- and close with -- with this live-blogging thing today.)

4:05 p.m.: Bad news for V-Mart owners. He was pulled in the second inning because of a left hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Jim Thome is an early candidate for the Line of the Day with two home runs and four RBI.

3:54 p.m.: My buddy in Texas wants somebody to physically tackle Mark Buehrle and pull him off the mound.

3:52 p.m.: Chris Young homered. I think you owe us a few ad clicks, Don Ford!

3:46 p.m.: Mark Buehrle has already imploded. He's given up six runs ... and counting ... in a disastrous sixth inning. Cubs/Brewers is delayed again. Greetings and salutations to the New Zealanders in the house.

3:32 p.m.: Tony Gwynn Jr. is wearing a toboggan over top of his ballcap. The Cubs announcers are wondering if that's allowed per MLB uniform rules and regs.

3:25 p.m.: Carl Crawford is KILLING James Shields owners with some truly awful defense.

3:15 p.m.: To answer my own question, I'm getting the Phillies game. I guess just Pittsburgh and Cleveland will be blacked out for me. (And, obviously, the Pirates will be on FOX Sports Net here.)

3:10 p.m.: Even though I live in Pittsburgh, the Cleveland game is blacked out from my Extra Innings package. Stupid MLB blackout rules. I wonder if Phillies games will be blacked out for me, too?

3:04 p.m.: Wow, Cubs/Brewers has started! And it's raining in Baltimore, but the announcers say that game (against Tampa Bay) will start on time in a few minutes. I'm flipping over to that one to watch James Shields pitch. (I have him in both my money league and the Bloggers league.) Finally, we're all not stuck with Tigers/Royals!

2:58 p.m.: Both Mike, in these comments, and one of my friends, over the phone, bitch about MLB's boneheaded decision to schedule too many of these Opening Day games in cold, Northeastern locations. But since when has MLB ever made decisions based on logic?

2:51 p.m.: Alex Gordon -- two-run blast. I targeted Gordon in all of my leagues and got him in none. (Yes, I like Gordon, Butler and Teahen this year. The Royals offense might actually be good for once.)

2:41 p.m.: Miguel Cabrera -- GONE! He's gonna win AL MVP. Glad I got him at eighth overall in my Bloggers League.

2:30 p.m.: Yankees/Jays is officially postponed. Makeup game set for tomorrow. Diamondbacks/Reds delayed, too. Opening Day 2008 is quickly turning into a soggy bummer.

2:15 p.m.: Cubs/Brewers officially delayed ... and it's still pouring in Chicago. This rain sucks.

2:11 p.m.: My boy Billy Butler breaks up Verlander's no-hit bid. David DeJesus reaggravates an ankle injury and is yanked.

1:50 p.m.: WGN broadcasters have umbrellas over the heads. Rain is threatening the start of the Cubs/Brewers game, too.

1:45 p.m.: Edgar Renteria -- RBI single. I wonder if he's extra-motivated to prove that he can succeed in the AL, since that one season he spent in Boston was kind of a down year for him?

1:31 p.m.: Miguel Cabrera is 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position on the season. I doubt Jim Leyland is all that worried. Verlander looking good, getting every one to pop up.

1:10 p.m.: Nope, I was wrong. ESPN is showing Tigers/Royals during the Yankees delay. Also, some (like Comcast cable subscribers) might be getting a free MLB Extra Innings preview today.

1:07 p.m.: And we're off! MLB Extra Innings folk (like me!) and Detroit/K.C. residents have Tigers/Royals about to start! People stuck with just ESPN get ... more Baseball Tonight, thanks to the Yankees delay. By the way, Don, my buddy Jason just proclaimed over the phone to me that "if Michael Bourn gets a hit against Peavy, it will be some kind of fucking miracle."

12:33 p.m.: Don Ford wants to know whether he should start Chris Young vs. Harang or Michael Bourn vs. Peavy. I say: It's Opening Day. Don't overthink things (at least, not yet). Start the better, more proven player. Which in this case is Chris Young. Plus, as good as Harang is, he's nowhere near as filthy as Peavy. BTW, Yankees/Jays officially delayed. They hope to get the game in, though.

12:24 p.m.: Karl Ravech informs us that a new 2:05 start time for the Yankees/Jays game is rumored.

12:04 p.m.: Tarp out in Yankee Stadium. They're not sure whether they're going to get the game in or not. The weather may screw up Opening Day at quite a few ballparks today.

11:56 a.m.: It's going to take me awhile to get used to the new ESPNews bottom line. The switch from horizontal sliding to vertical scrolling for the MLB/NFL/NHL/etc. tags almost makes me nauseous.

11:50 a.m.: This is it! I'll be live-blogging all day from right here. Feel free to use this post's comments section to talk about how your players are performing on this grand and glorious Opening Day. Or offer up some predictions about the upcoming season. Whatever the hell you guys want to talk about. Got any questions for me? I'll answer 'em! (And I think Mike might be hanging around the comments section too, if you want to pick his brain.)

Festivities begin in 10 minutes with Baseball Tonight on ESPN. Games start at 1:05 with Yankees vs. Blue Jays and Tigers vs. Royals. I'll be watching the latter because (1) the Tigers lineup is ridiculous and (2) I have Billy Butler in two of my three leagues and am really counting on him to break out this season.


Don Ford said...

I've got an important lineup question for you.

In my OF should I start Chris Young vs Aaron Harang or Michael Bourn vs Jake Peavy?

Chris Young is much better vs leftys and Bourn is better vs rightys.

Also, Josh Bard cant throw anybody out so if Bourne can reach base I think he will steal. How is Peavy's move to first?

Peavy is nasty so he could easily give Bourne the collar today. So I cant decide who to start.

Your thoughts?


Benjamin said...

Just looked at the Brewers' lineup card. Hart batting sixth. My first reaction is ugh, since he's so much better than Bill Hall. But the eternal optimist in me wants to spin it this way: sixth will still get him some RBIs, and since there's nothing but crap after him, he'll have the green light on the bases.

Humor me.

Mike Bock said...

Don't start the less established player (Bourn) against the better pitcher (Peavy).

However, it's even more important to make sure you field a full lineup every day! Considering how many games might be cancelled or rain shortened, you probably have a few players you can afford to move to your bench in favor of Bourn. It's a calculated gamble, but one that is likely to repeat itself twenty or thirty times a year (in leagues with daily transactions). Those 120 at-bats could mean two or three points at the end of the year.

Don Ford said...

Thanks fellas. Chris Young, it is.

Mike Bock said...

If Bourn goes on to have a career day, Don and I will be sorely disappointed.

Don Ford said...

I do think Bourn will steal on Bard if he reaches base via Walk, HBP, or hit.....

but as the old saying goes- "you can't steal first"

Steve said...

Anyone know if Saito is good to go today?

Bob Taylor said...

Good question, Steve. I actually haven't heard one way or another. Mike's out in California; maybe he's heard something.

Mike Bock said...

Saito's status is up in the air. I'm thinking he's probable.

Anyone figure out why MLB allows domed stadiums to go unused (such as Tampa Bay) so they can schedule outdoor games in cold weather cities on opening day? Or, why Cincy wouldn't go to sunny Arizona, versus the other way around?

You'd think after last year they might have learned.

Bob Taylor said...

You couldn't be any more right, Mike. All opening series should be in domed/warm-weather locations. It looks like there's NO way the Cubs game is happening.

Mike Bock said...

Even worse, I can't friggin alter my lineups on Yahoo, even though the games haven't been played yet.

I don't want to have to check random weather sites to get accurate information as to whether or not games will be played.

The KC offense does look good. To bad Butler and Gordon weren't sleepers by mid to late March.

Bob Taylor said...

So, uh, guess I was wrong about the Cubs game not happening. They're playing now!

Mike Bock said...

Sorry Verlander. No soup for you!

I like that Orlando managed to steal a base before Thome blasted him home. If Thome stays healthy all year, that's going to look like one tremendous tenth round draft pick for a lot of owners.

Mike Bock said...

The fact that the Tigers had to use three relievers (the estimable J. Grilli, B. Seay, and A. Lopez) to get through one inning may be a sign of things to come. That bullpen looks ... less than good.

Mike Bock said...

Corey Patterson has a three and one count, and grounds out to first. The more things change ...

It's starting to look like an echo chamber in here.

Steve said...

S'OK boys - you're not alone. It's gloomy and raining in New Zealand too...

Mike Bock said...

Franklin Gutierrez with a three run jack (I wish I'd taken my own advice and owned him in a few more leagues). He's batting eighth? And Carlos Guillen is batting sixth for Detroit? Those are some stacked lineups, folks. Anyone still think Johan's move to the NL East wasn't that big of a deal?

Mike Bock said...

Chad Cordero apparently just had a cortisone injection. He's gone for a few days, at least.

Jon Rauch is 100% owned by now, right?

Mike Bock said...

Don Ford, congratulations on Chris Young's home run. You made a wise decision. Glad Bob and I could help.

Mike Bock said...

Top of the tenth, tie score, man on second with no outs, and your 3/4/5 hitters coming up.

The vaunted Danny Bautista proceeded to strike out Alex Gordon, Jose Guillen, and Billy Butler. Nice job K.C.

Don Ford said...

Thank you kind sir! That worked out well!

Mike Bock said...

My big money league team now has as many saves today (1 -- thanks Soria!) as it does hits (1/22, and counting).

Steve said...

Doing slightly better, but my best offensive player so far today is on the bench - Milledge.

Starting to feel like last season already...

Benjamin said...

I'm looking like a complete genius in my league today (14-team 5x5). Had to boast because the Hurler was a major resource for my prep this year. Highlights:

1) Harden.
2) The trifecta of old men who fell way too far in my draft and have already gone yard: Chipper, Kent, Thome
3) My young bucks in the OF: Markakis (SB!) and Milledge.
4) Soria.

Counting the Japan games and yesterday as "opening day", I've hit the board in every category on the first day, which totally inflates me in the standings (up by like 30 points or something). Super-competitive league, so I have to enjoy it while I can.

Bob Taylor said...

Glad we could help, Benjamin!

Mike Bock said...

Tom Gordon just went off like a WHIP/ERA hand grenade.

Carlos Zambrano is already hurt? Can't say it was unexpected. He needed an iron arm to survive the overuse that took down Prior and Wood.

Mike Bock said...

Is it too early to grab Turnbow or David Riske (my bets on Turnbow)? Gagne just got his ass handed to him.

Mike Bock said...

I didn't even realize Kerry Wood was similarly lit up. After Marmol struck out three of the four batters he faced.

Mike Bock said...

Riske came in for the save instead of Turnbow. Interesting. I've added Riske in at least one league already.

I realize Santana is the shit, but was there really a need to leave him in for 100 pitches against the Florida Marlins when he had a 4 run lead?

I think my squad went 3/32 today. Wow.

Steve said...

Even the Saito owners who do have Broxton are breathing a sigh of relief ;-)

Mike Bock said...

This Carlos Gomez kid starting at CF and hitting leadoff for Minnesota is looking pretty good. Two for two, two scores, a stolen base ... he had 12 thefts last year in limited time.

Add him to the "cheap steals" list, at least.

Steve said...

I hate it when you make what you think are considered decisions about who to bench and who to start and it blows up in your face.

Milledge and Neshek on my bench today.

Guess I can expect huge days from Bourn and Wigginton as well...

Don Ford said...

Do you believe in miracles?

Bourne smacked a single up the middle vs Peavy and promptly stole 2nd.

Thats OK, he's an everyday player in my deeper Head to Head league so I got his SB on one of my 2 teams.

I'm planning on playing Bourne vs RHP in my roto league against SDG, ATL, WAS, and MIL. Am I forgetting any other teams that you should play your speedsters against?

Steve said...

Right on cue - Bourn 1-1 with a stolen base. Oh well, I guess I wouldn't have started him over Hawpe, Rios or Crawford in my lineup.