BRYCE HARPER STANDS OUT ON OPENING DAY
The first finals are starting to come in, and Fantasy owners in daily play are starting to smile, or shake their heads.
First off, Chicago Cubs SP Jeff Samardzija had one of the best pitching performances, picking up where he left off against the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. He was 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA, allowing just five hits and two walks over 17 innings in two starts against the Bucs last season, and he allowed just two hits and a walk with nine strikeouts over eight innings in a win Monday in Pittsburgh. He remains a great value as opposed to the other aces in the game. Samardzija's next scheduled start is set for Sunday, April 7, in Atlanta opposite Tim Hudson. If you want to get a jump-start on scouting for the weekend, Samardzija was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against the Braves last season, allowing two earned runs, nine hits and three walks over 14 innings with 18 strikeouts. The Braves batted just .188 against Samardzija in 2012.
On the flip side, San Diego Padres SP Edinson Volquez was pounded in Citi Field by the New York Mets. And, you really shouldn't mess with the Mets, at least on Opening Day. They are now 34-18 all-time in regular season openers, best in major league history. Volquez racked up four strikeouts in the outing, but he lasted just three innings, allowing six earned runs, six hits and three walks. He was in trouble early and often. Volquez will look to bounce back in Denver Sunday, April 7, opposite Colorado Rockies SP Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin posted a no-decision Monday at Milwaukee, allowing just one earned run, three hits, three walks and six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.
As far as hitting, it was Washington Nationals OF Bryce Harper who stole the show. He swatted solo home runs in his first two at-bats against Miami Marlins SP Ricky Nolasco, who was unable to fool the youngster with the curveball.
EVENING/LATE-NIGHT NEWS AND NUGGETS
Seattle Mariners SP Felix Hernandez ($11,000) will be making his sixth career Opening Day start Monday at Oakland. He is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his first previous Opening Day assignments. ... Oakland Athletics 3B Eric Sogard ($3,000) will be slotted in the ninth spot of the batting order, starting at second base. Sogard tore up opposing pitching during Cactus League play in the spring, and could be a nice value for late-night players. ... C John Jaso ($3,200) will bat second in the lineup. He is just the third A's catcher to bat second on Opening Day, and first since Jason Kendall in 2005. ... The St. Louis Cardinals have won four straight meetings in Arizona, and seven of the past eight meetings overall against the Diamondbacks. That bodes well for SP Adam Wainwright ($9,700) and his Fantasy owners.
Cincinnati Reds OF Ryan Ludwick (shoulder) was injured on a head-first slide in Monday's game in the bottom of the third inning against the Angels. It appeared he might have jammed his right shoulder. In any event, you'll want to avoid Ludwick in daily Fantasy play, and all other formats, until he is able to return and prove his health. OF Chris Heisey replaced him and figures to be a good short-term value if he can draw into the starting lineup.
(DraftKings.com salaries in parantheses)
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