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The Nightcap: Friday's Games

The following is mostly lies and slander.


- You've probably heard already, but here it is: David Ortiz hit a homer today, his first of the season.

- With his third-inning steal of second, Will Venable now has three homers and four steals through just 14 games. Power/speed threat much?

- Adrian Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with a homer and 4 RBIs. Excuse me while I die of not-surprise.

- Padre catcher Nick Hundley entered play today slashing .265/.390/.441. He went 2-for-4 today. I heartily endorse picking him up in medium to deeper leagues.

- Met rookie first baseman Ike Davis jacked the first donger of his career today off Kenshin Kawakami. According to the interweb, he's also a Basterd.

- Torontonian Brett Cecil made his first start of the season after having been recalled from Triple-A earlier in the week for the injured Brian Tallet. He was awesome, recording 8 Ks against only 2 BBs in 6.2 IP. The two homers he allowed are probably more the product of bad luck than anything: Cecil actually profiles as a neutral to groundball-type pitcher.

- Other Torontonian, second baseman Aaron Hill, both made his season debut and jacked a donger at Tampa.

- Fred Lewis is a survivor who's gonna keep on surviving. Just, FYI.

- It's very possible that Carl Pavano has become the pitcher that the Yankees paid him to be way back in 2005. He'd walked only a single batter in 16.1 innings before tonight. Now he's walked a single batter in 23.1 innings. You do the math, people!

- Jim Thome made a rare-ish start at DH tonight for Minnesota and jacked a donger while doing so. File under: really good.

- Free Manny Parra! Four more strikeouts in two innings of relief today.

- Kelly Johnson jacked two dongers today for Arizona. That gives him five on the season – or three fewer than he hit all last year.

- Oakland A – and sometime jeans model – Ryan Sweeney went 3-for-5 tonight to increase his season slash-line to .312/.387/.375. Note: he just turned 25. There's time for him to be real good.

- Brett Gardner went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and his eighth steal. He's becoming quickly relevant in fantasy circles. It'd be nice to have'em at the top of the lineup, though.

Caution, Warning

- Luis Atilano made his Major League debut today, starting for the Nationals against the Dodgers. He's never topped 6.00 K/9 in the minors, let alone the Majors. In other words, don't be seduced by his shiny performance this evening (6 IP, 1 ER).

- Bronson Arroyo recorded zero strikeouts despite facing 19 batters today against San Diego. That he conceded eight hits and eight runs shouldn't be shocking, then.

- Detroit rookie Austin Jackson entered play today slashing a super healthy .308/.375/.431. Only problem? His .488 BABIP. Jackson is much more likely a .250-type hitter given his contact issues. You've been warned!

- Ranger Rich Harden threw 99 pitches over just 4.1 innings tonight. I'm actually still on the bandwagon – those K rates are just too shiny – but he's done little to inspire confidence recently.

- I didn't seeAlberto Callaspo's error at second base today, but I can imagine it.

- Kris Benson struck out five today while walking zero for Arizona. I'm not buying it.

Save Chances

- Jonathan Papelbon, converted. This save was assuredly less cool than the other side of the pillow. Papelbon allowed a hit and walk, and intentionally walked a third guy. He also threw a wild pitch. Somehow that all turned into zero runs.

- Francisco Rodriguez, converted. It was a three-run save.

- Kevin Gregg, converted. Toronto led 5-0 at one point in today's game at Tampa. When Gregg entered, it was 6-5 Blue Jays. He allowed a ground-rule double with two outs, but struck out two, as well.

- Matt Lindstrom, converted. Despite a mere one-run lead, Lindstrom dispatched the Pirates without incided, conceding no baserunners and also striking out Ryan Doumit in the process.

- Neftali Feliz, blown/won. Feliz entered the top of the ninth with a two-run lead; he left it with a zero-run lead. That said, he recorded a velocity of a million-gabillion miles per hour on one of his pitches.

- Chad Qualls, converted. This one was only a third of an inning. Given Qualls' recent struggles, that might be a good place to start.

- Brian Fuentes, converted. Without incident – unlike Joba Chamberlain's appearance in the bottom of the previous inning.

- Brian Wilson, converted. He recorded three strikeouts in a single of inning of work. Still seems mentally unbalanced, though.

Other Closer Outings

- Rafael Soriano was called upon to keep Tampa's game versus Toronto close in the late innings. He did just that, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

- Jim Johnson entered a tie game with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth. Unfortunately, he walked the first batter he faced, Adrian Beltre, to allow the winning run.

- Carlos Marmol threw 1.1 innings with a seven-run lead, presumably to get some work in. There's also the fact that Lou Piniella's a crazy person to consider.

Non-Closer Outing

- Tyler Clippard might very well be the best relief pitcher on the Washington Nationals. He had four strikeouts in two innings today. He now has 18 Ks in 13.2 IP.

- Despite a one-run game going on in Chicago, neither White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen nor Mariner skipper Don Waka-waka deployed their closers, instead optin for Matt Thornton, Sean White, Brandon League, and Mark Lowe, respectively. To be fair, Thornton and League could each very easily be the best relievers on their respective teams.


- Garret Anderson started tonight and batted second for the injured Manny Ramirez. Here's the thing about Anderson: he hasn't been even a league-average hitter since 2007. He hasn't been solidly above-average since 2003.

- Miguel Tejada returned from his quad/groin injury Friday against the Red Sox and went 2-for-4 with a walk. If he qualifies at shortstop in your league – and one of the stats isn't walks – he's valuable.

- Brave shortstop Yunel Escobar wasn't in Atlanta's starting lineup today. It may be because he failed to run out a ground ball hard on Thursday. Omar Infante replaced him at short and batted eighth.

- Jeff Keppinger is playing third base these days. He's also batting .333 early on in the season after going 2-for-4 today with a double. When Lance Berkman returns will it be Keppinger, or Tommy Manzella, who goes to the bench?

- Two rookies made their debuts in Texas tonight: Brennan Boesch at DH for Detroit, Justin Smoak at first for the home team. The former will be lucky to become a league-average player; the latter could very well be above-average. Both of them have secure-ish playing time at the moment.

- Mariner shortstop Jack Wilson left Friday's game against the White Sox with some sort of thumb injury. Matt Tuiasosopo took over at shortstop and will likely start there if Wilson is forced to miss any time.

- Former D-Back Chad Tracy got the start at third for the Cubs today in lieu of the slumping Aramis Ramirez. No injury or anything, just slumping.

- Jim Edmonds made his 11th start of the season in the Brewers' 16th game. He might be a better bet than Corey Hart at this point.

- Ben Francisco started in left for Raul Ibanez today. The latter isn't injured anything. On the other hand, he is 100 years old.

- Bobby Wilson will be placed on the 15-day DL after a nasty collision at home plate tonight. Mike Scioscia is now forced to play his sworn enemy, Mike Napoli.

- Matt Downs started at second for the Gigantes today with Eugenio Velez assuming the injured Aaron Rowand's center field duties.