Lindor Powers Mets to Victory in Home Opener
Francisco Lindor has been a polarizing player for Mets fans and fantasy managers since he was acquired by New York and given a 10-year, $341 million contract extension last spring. He had a disappointing year by his standards in 2021, hitting .230/.322/.412 with 20 homers and 10 steals across 524 plate appearances for the Mets. On Friday, he led to team to a 10-3 victory against the Diamondbacks in the Mets’ home opener with a pair of homers and a stolen base. The big day at the plate certainly hints at the possibility that the 28-year-old star is back to his first-round fantasy caliber days. With a runner on base in the fifth inning, Lindor broke the game open with a two-run homer off of Zach Davies to give the Mets a 5-0 lead. After drawing his second walk in the seventh inning, he stole a base and scored on a double by Eduardo Escobar. And in the eighth inning, he went deep once again with a blast to left field off of Caleb Smith. Lindor is 8-for-27 at the plate with three homers, two steals, and a 1.161 OPS to start the season.
It wasn’t just Lindor showing up on Friday. Chris Bassitt, who the Mets acquired from the A’s before the season, pitched brilliantly to hold the Diamondbacks to one run over six innings. The 33-year-old right-hander allowed a solo homer by Daulton Varsho in the sixth inning for the only run he’d give up in the contest. Bassitt tossed 64-of-98 pitches for strikes and generated 13 whiffs to strike out six batters. One of the team’s biggest off-season acquisitions, Starling Marte, also added a three-run homer in the game. The blowout victory on Friday gives the Mets an MLB-best 6-2 record going into Saturday’s games.
Hitters with an EDGE
Adam Frazier vs. Astros
4-for-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 4 RBI
Frazier had a breakthrough game on Friday against the Astros with four hits and four RBI in the blowout victory. The 30-year-old second baseman led the game off with a base hit and scored on a single by Jesse Winker. Frazier’s biggest hit came in the fourth inning with a two-run triple to extend Seattle’s lead. He later doubled in two more runs in the seventh inning to end an excellent night at the plate.
Shohei Ohtani vs. Rangers
2-for-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
Ohtani wasted no time to get things started against the Rangers, blasting a solo homer off of Matt Bush in the first inning. He went yard once again in the fifth for a two-run shot off of Kolby Allard. They were the first two homers of the season for the 27-year-old two-way star.
Nolan Arenado vs. Brewers
2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB
Arenado continued his scorching start to the season with a big day at the plate Friday against the Brewers. After a walk in the first inning, he drove in a run with a base hit off Freddy Peralta in the second. He drew another base-on-balls in the fifth, followed by a two-run homer in the ninth. The 31-year-old third baseman is up to four homers on the year with an incredible 1.587 OPS through just six games.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Joe Ryan vs. Red Sox
6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K
40% CSW, 19 swinging strikes
Ryan had one of the best starts of his young career Friday against the Red Sox in Boston. The 25-year-old right-hander was efficient on the day, needing just 82 pitches -- 60 for strikes -- to get through six innings. He induced 19 whiffs on 46 swings to strike out seven batters and finish with an elite 40 percent CSW rate (called strikes plus whiffs). The only run against Ryan came on a solo home run by Alex Verdugo in the second inning. He’ll get the Royals in Kansas City next week.
Carlos Rodon vs. Guardians
7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K
34% CSW, 9 swinging strikes
Rodon cooled off a red-hot Guardians lineup with another impressive performance to start the season. Touching 99 miles per hour and getting whiffs on the slider, he struck out nine batters over his seven innings. The only run he allowed came in that final frame. After walking José Ramirez, Franmil Reyes knocked a single to put runners on the corners. Ramirez eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Owen Miller. Rodon will look to keep the great start going when he faces off against the Mets in New York next week.
Marco Gonzales vs. Astros
7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K
32% CSW, 7 swinging strikes
Gonzales kept the Astros off-balance all evening, allowing just four hits while walking no batters to limit Houston to one run. That run would come across to score in the seventh inning on a base hit by Jose Siri after Yuli Gurriel knocked a double to get into scoring position. Gonzales tossed 63-of-93 pitches for strikes while generating seven whiffs to strike out six batters. He’ll get the Royals in Seattle his next time out.
Jesús Sánchez, OF, Miami Marlins - Available in 72 percent of Yahoo leagues
Sanchez is off to a fantastic start to his season. The 24-year-old outfielder didn’t become a regular in the Marlins lineup until late last season. He ended the year on a power binge, blasting eight homers in September. So far this season, Sanchez is 9-for-29 (.310) with five extra-base hits, including two triples, a double, and a pair of home runs. With a high hard-hit rate and just five strikeouts, Sanchez could be on his way to a legit breakout. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s hitting third in the Marlins order. This widely-available slugger should be added across all mixed leagues.
Camilo Doval vs. Guardians
1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (2nd save)
Doval took the mound in the ninth inning with a three-run lead against the Guardians in Cleveland on Friday. He gave up a one-out double to José Ramirez before striking out Franmil Reyes. Amed Rosario hit a hard liner to left field, but Austin Slater made an impressive diving catch for the final out. Doval has two of the team’s three saves this season. He appears set as the Giants’ primary closer after manager Gabe Kapler suggested it could be Jake McGee to start the season.
Jordan Romano vs. Athletics
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (5th save)
Romano made quick work of the A’s in the ninth inning Friday for his league-leading fifth save of the season already. He needed just 12 pitches to strike out the first two batters before getting Seth Brown to ground out to end the game. The 28-year-old right-hander has now converted his last 28 save chances, with his last blown save on April 8, 2021. Romano is right up there among the top tier of closer.
Michael Fulmer vs. Royals
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (1st save)
Fulmer was summoned in the ninth inning to close out the game as Gregory Soto was unavailable after pitching back-to-back days. He pitched a perfect inning with one strikeout against the Royals to protect the one-run lead and earn his first save of the season. The 29-year-old right-hander has been sharp to start the season, allowing just one baserunner on a hit with no walks and five strikeouts over four innings of work.
Craig Kimbrel vs. Reds
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (2nd save)
Kimbrel took the mound in the ninth with a two-run lead against the Reds. He induced a pop-out, followed by a pair of groundouts to secure the win for the Dodges and pick up his second save of the season.
Kenley Jansen vs. Padres
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (1st save)
Jansen got his first save opportunity Friday night against the Padres. He needed only 13 pitches to strike out two batters. The 34-year-old reached back to touch 94 miles per hour on the fastball.
Liam Hendriks vs. Rays
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (3rd save)
Hendriks was summoned in the ninth inning to close things out against the Rays with a one-run lead. And for the first time in four outings, a run didn’t come across the plate to score on Hendriks. He pitched a perfect inning with one strikeout for his third save of the season.
Raisel Iglesias vs. Rangers
1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (2nd save)
Iglesias was called on in the ninth inning with a three-run lead against the Rangers. He allowed a leadoff single to Corey Seager but struck out the next two batters before Nathaniel Lowe hit a fly-out to left field to end the game.
Daniel Bard vs. Cubs
1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K (3rd save)
Bard was called on to close the game against the Cubs with a two-run lead in the ninth inning. He gave up a pair of two-out doubles to cut the lead to one before getting Michael Hermosillo to pop out to end the game. The 36-year-old right-hander is up to three saves on the season as he appears to have taken a hold of the primary closer role in Colorado.
Matchup of the Day
In one of the more intriguing matchups Saturday, the electric Hunter Greene will be making his second start of the season against Julio Urias and the Dodgers. Greene gave up three runs over five innings with seven strikeouts in his major league debut against the Braves. On the other side, Urias will be looking to bounce back after surrendering six runs in two innings with no strikeouts against the Rockies in Colorado in his first start of the season. While a blowup start in Coors Field is forgivable -- almost expected -- his velocity was down significantly from last season. Between the up-and-coming flamethrower and the pitcher drafted as a fantasy ace, fantasy managers should have their eyes on this one Saturday night.
American League Quick Hits: Chris Sale played catch at Fenway Park on Friday... Robbie Grossman remained out of the Tigers lineup for the third consecutive game on Friday... The Orioles placed John Means on the 10-day injured list with a left elbow strain and purchased the contract of Travis Lakins... Alex Kirilloff was given a cortisone shot after tests revealed no new damage in his right wrist... The Guardians activated Josh Naylor from the 10-day injured list... The Twins designated Dereck Rodriguez for assignment and purchased the contract of OF Kyle Garlick from Triple-A... Cleveland placed Yu Chang on the injured list...
National League Quick Hits: Jacob deGrom will undergo an MRI on April 25 to check the healing process of his right shoulder... Reds manager David Bell told reporters that initial reports on Jonathan India‘s hamstring are encouraging... The Mets had a staff member test positive for COVID-19... Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha were placed on the COVID-19 injured list... Taijuan Walker (shoulder) played catch on Friday... The Reds signed Sandy Leon to a minor league contract... The Giants activated Tyler Rogers from the paternity list...