We are currently four days into the 2011 baseball season and things are just as exciting as every other year. If you somehow missed opening weekend don’t worry about it, there were several pitching performances worth forgetting. I’ll highlight a few:
Max Scherzer was torched by the New York Yankees on Sunday, April 3 giving up 6 earned runs in 5 innings. He gave up 9 hits and allowed 2 walks, but he also struck out six in a short span. His one game ERA sits at a hideous 10.80 and his WHIP is 2.20, not numbers we expect to keep seeing from Scherzer. Remember he had a 2.47 ERA after the break in 2010, he’ll pick things up.
Jon Lester kept up with his early season difficulties when he allowed 5 runs in 5.1 innings against Texas on Friday, April 1. He didn’t record any strikeouts and struggled with keeping the ball in the park as he allowed three home runs. Don’t worry too much about Lester, he has struggled early in the last two seasons and has always finished as one of baseball’s best starters.
After a big 2010, Francisco Liriano started 2011 with a wild loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday, April 2. He lasted just 4.1 innings giving up 4 earned runs on 4 hits and 5 walks. Strikeouts are one of Liriano’s specialties, but he managed to record only 3 in this contest. I’m not worried about Liriano because he was a bit shaky last year, but still remained one of baseball’s finest when the year came to a clsoe.
As you are looking forward at the rest of the week there are key pitching matchups to focus on. Here are a few of them:
Wednesday, April 6
Justin Velrander and the Tigers take on Baltimore. In the last three years Verlander has dominated the Orioles. The Orioles are off to their best start in 13 years but they are sure to cool down and a big reason will be because of Verlander.
Jeremy Hellickson makes his 2011 debut against the Los Angeles Angels. Hellickson was impressive in 36.1 innings in 2010 and he is ESPN.com’s top prospect for 2011. The Angels’ lineup lacks thump with Kendrys Morales on the DL. Look for Hellickson to take advantage of the slow starting Angels.
On Thursday, April 5
Francisco Liriano starts against the Yankees. This may be one start you consider sitting him down for. After his first game didn’t go so well he may have some confidence issues and a facing team that is nicknamed the Bronx Bombers may just worsen things. The Yankees pounded the ball right out of the gate and Liriano fell flat, you may consider sitting him down in 5x5 rotisserie and category leagues but in points leagues he may still have some value.
Friday, April 8
Carlos Carrasco pitches against the Mariners in Seattle. He was roughed up in his first start against the White Sox, but they are expected to be one of the MLB’s best hitting clubs, the Mariners may end up being the opposite. In Seattle there is good chance Carrasco could impress and build his sleeper candidacy. If you don’t own Carrasco, you may want to grab him now.
Jordan Zimmerman looked great in his first start back from Tommy John Surgery throwing six strong innings against Atlanta, allowing only 2 runs. He pitches for the Nationals so he likely isn't going to earn many wins, but he will strikeout out enough to be relevant as well as keep runs off the board. If quality starts scores in your league he might be a good waiver claim this weekend.
Saturday, April 9
Javier Vazquez looked pitiful in his Marlins debut but I’m willing to give him another try. He faces the Astros so anything is possible. He has a big strikeout potential and is most likely available in your league. If you’re looking for someone to grab this weekend, give Vazquez a look.