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10 Important Stories From 04/08/17 Box Scores: Are Tanaka’s Troubles Concerning, Is Greinke “Back” & More

Sunday, April 9, 2017 1:41
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(Before It's News)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The biggest news of the day centered around injuries, with Gary Sanchez being placed on the DL (right biceps strain) and Trea Turner pulling his hamstring (though it appears he will avoid a DL stint for now).  Of course there was also plenty of action on the field including a monster day at the plate for Aledmys Diaz, who went 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R.  Clayton Kershaw surprisingly struggled with home runs, giving up 3 to the Colorado Rockies en route to a loss.  What else happened that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Another subpar showing for Masahiro Tanaka…
Taking on the Orioles he struggled to get through 5.0 IP (his counterpart, Kevin Gausman, failed to do so allowing 4 ER on 8 H and 3 BB over 4.2 IP).  Tanaka did strikeout 5 batters, but he allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 4 BB.  While he didn’t give up a home run in this one, he has now walked 6 batters over 7.2 IP over his first two starts.  That’s never been an issue before so we don’t want to push the panic button, but it is something we’ll have to continue watching.  We’ll also have to continue watching the groundballs (5) vs. fly balls (5), after having allowed 5 HR in his first start.  We’re still talking about just two starts, but given his past elbow issues the potential concern is a little bit higher than for most (though hardly in full force yet).

2) Jordan Zimmermann’s first start goes fairly well…
Of course it came against a Boston offense that was hardly at full strength, as several of their stars were on the bench due to the flu.  Still you can’t take anything away from Zimmermann, who allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP.  Of course before we get too excited he actually yielded more fly balls (8) than groundballs (7) and also failed to generate many swings and misses (5).  Neither of those things induce much hope against a stronger lineup and we’d be hard-pressed to consider him “back”.  Don’t go rushing to own him off this start, as the signs aren’t all that positive.

3) The strikeouts continue to pile up for Byron Buxton…
Moved out of the #3 hole Buxton did get a hit, finishing 1-4.  He also struck out twice, giving him 13 K over his first 22 AB (2+ K in four of the five games played).  It’s been an ugly start for someone that many thought would breakout this season, though we can’t say that there weren’t warning signs.  Remember last season he posted a 15.0% SwStr% and strikeout rates of 27.8% (Triple-A) and 35.6% (Majors).  He’s not as bad as he’s showing right now, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s striking out a significant amount.  His early season struggles could easily continue.

4) Aaron Nola cruises to a victory…
It’s tough to read too much into a pitcher’s line after he’s handed a 12-0 lead after the first inning (13-0 after two, with Howie Kendrick leading the way going 3-5 with 4 RBI and 2 R).  At that point you are simply looking for a pitcher to throw strikes and get outs, which is what Nola did.  At the end of the day his line doesn’t look that great, allowing 3 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP, though he was getting groundball outs (6 vs. 2 fly outs) and enough swings and misses (13).  He got the job done and with his strikeouts, control and groundball potential, the stuff is there for a breakout campaign.

5) Adam Conley silences the Mets…
Of course, early on it feels like last year for New York with the key simply being keeping the ball in the ballpark.  Conley did allow a home run to Lucas Duda, but that was the only hit he gave up as he allowed 1 ER on 1 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP.  However he’s hardly a groundball pitcher, so home runs will likely be an issue throughout the season, and his control is alright but hardly stellar.  While Conley could have some streaming value, he’s not a pitcher we’d expect big things from moving forward.

6) Marcus Semien makes his presence felt at the top…
After seeing a lot of time at the bottom of the order early on, Semien was shifted to the leadoff role against Yu Darvish (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 K) and made a quick impact.  Sure he went just 1-3 with 1 RBI, but he added 2 SB and already has 3 SB in the first six games of the season.  An often underrated player, he entered the season with the potential to go 25/10.  Showing a willingness to run early, could he actually turn into a 25/20 option at a premium position?  As long as he can maintain a .260+ average it seems believable, and the opportunity to buy him low could be quickly disappearing.

7) Another strong start for Zack Greinke…
Taking on the Indians at home, Greinke was given ample support but that shouldn’t take away from his performance.  Going 6.2 innings he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, giving him 10 K vs. 2 BB over his first two starts.  He was generating groundouts (9 vs. 3 fly ball outs), which is something that he wasn’t doing in his first outing of the season.  Clearly this performance is a good sign, though are we really willing to buy into him quite this quickly?  There’s obviously potential and hope that he can return to being the pitcher he once was, but it’s going to take a little bit more time to believe it.

8) Manuel Margot continued his coming out party…
Remember in spring training when there was a thought that his injury could lead to him seeing time back at Triple-A to open the season?  Forget it!  After slugging a pair of home runs on Friday night Margot followed it up by going 2-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R, with both hits going for doubles.  He’s now started the season 7-16 with 4 RBI and 4 R, slugging 5 extra base hits and stealing 1 base.  His speed is his biggest asset, and as long as he’s getting on base (.360 OBP) he’s going to be a threat to really pile up the SB and R.  There still could be some bumps along the way, but for now it’s an impressive start.

9) Home runs plaguing Felix Hernandez early…
Hernandez allowed 1 HR to the Angels yesterday, giving him 3 HR allowed over his first 11.0 IP on the season.  Of course that wasn’t the only issue he had, as he gave up 3 ER on 10 H over 6.0 IP in a less than stellar no decision.  He did suffer a groin injury in his first start, though that doesn’t appear to have been an issue in this one.  Instead you have to wonder if his heavy workload since entering the Majors is finally starting to catch up to him.  He wasn’t fooling many, with 10 swinging strikes, and at this point it’s clear that he’s more of a name than anything.  If you can still sell high it may not be the worst idea.

10) It was a breakout day for Gregory Polanco…
After a slow start Polanco broke out in a big way, going 4-4 with 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.  Having entered the day 1-14 it was a much needed sight for fantasy owners, though was anyone truly worried about one of the better bats in the league?  Hitting in the middle of Pittsburgh’s lineup is going to lead to ample opportunities, and he has 20/20 upside or better.  Yesterday may have been his first big day, but it certainly won’t be his last in ’17.

Sources –, ESPN, Fangraphs


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