It’s Patriots’ Day in Boston, hence the annual 11 a.m. contest, so be sure to set your lineups early. There was a time those attending the morning game could make the short walk to the Boston Marathon finish line in time for the winners to cross, but with longer baseball games and shorter marathon winning times, that tradition is a thing of the past. All the other contests will be under the lights.
The marquee matchup features Clayton Kershaw making his long-awaited debut against Luis Castillo who is putting up Kershaw-like numbers in the early going.
With a top-heavy, abbreviated slate, candidates to spot-start are scarce. Hitters are easier to find, especially if you like to use multiple batters from the same team for an additive effect. The rule of thumb for the Daily Notes is to highlight players from different teams, so in the effort not to repeat clubs, there are some deep-league targets. However, since everyone will have holes in their active lineups with 10 teams off, offering some way-under-the-radar options is a good thing.
Pitchers to Stream
Trevor Richards (R), rostered in 14 percent of ESPN leagues, Miami Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs: Trevor Power Rank: Richards > Cahill > Williams. Two of the three are in action on Monday, with Richards and his devastating change-up getting top billing. The Cubs have seemingly snapped their early-season malaise, sitting fifth overall in runs scored. However, they’re in the bottom third with respect to production on change-ups, Richards’ bread and butter. Plus, the game is in pitcher-friendly Marlins Park.
Trevor Cahill (R), 14 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers: Cahill incurs a huge park downgrade with the Angels visiting Arlington, however he draws a Rangers club that’s the third-easiest to fan thus far in 2019. Cahill’s 23 percent strikeout rate since 2017 should be plenty sufficient to take advantage.
Ervin Santana (R), 1 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals: Admittedly a leap of faith, Santana might not be up to speed after missing most of last season with a finger laceration and debuting this season just last week. That said, he faces a Royals lineup near the bottom of the league in terms of homers, which has been a crutch for Santana over the years.
Martin Perez (L), fewer than 1 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Toronto Blue Jays: This is an intriguing start for Perez, as his velocity went up a couple of ticks in the spring, and he has maintained the increase out of the bullpen thus far. With the faster four-seamer, Perez’s strikeout rate has spiked, but so has his walk rate. If Perez can sustain the added mph and hone his control, he could be in for a nice start as the Blue Jays are the fifth-lowest offense against fastballs.
With Hector Velazquez needed Saturday, he might not be able to make the start for Boston in the Patriots’ Day game. Regardless, it lines up as a bullpen game for Boston, likely of the old-fashioned variety with no one working more than an inning or two.
Projected Game Scores
Roberto Perez (R), under 1 percent, Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners (LHP Yusei Kikuchi): This might be Perez’s first time visiting this space because, quite frankly, he’s not very good. However, the choices behind the dish on this travel-day slate are sparse. This is more a lack of confidence in Kikuchi’s early going than Perez’s prowess. If you’re in a league with a game limit and your regular catcher is off, this is a day to consider taking a goose egg and not wasting a valuable start.
Mitch Moreland (L), 25 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dan Straily): Sorry, this feels like cheating, recommending a hitter whose power stroke is in sync with a fly ball pitcher prone to the long ball. That said, the forecast in Boston is threatening, so make sure to check the conditions.
Jeff McNeil (L), 32 percent, New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Aaron Nola): Usually, it’s best to avoid arms of Nola’s caliber, but between limited choices and his not being sharp to begin the season (22 base runners in 15 1/3 innings), McNeil is in play. Besides, McNeil is seeing the ball well, moving to the leadoff spot on the heels of a .917 OPS through Saturday’s action.
Josh Fuentes (R), under 1 percent, Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres (LHP Joey Lucchesi): Garrett Hampson has already been featured a couple of times for the Rockies, so let’s grab the shovel and dig deep. A third baseman by trade, Fuentes has been chipping in at first with a southpaw on the hill. He doesn’t have the prospect buzz of others because he was a relatively old (25) at hitter-friendly Triple-A Albuquerque, but a .327/.354/.517 slash line last season is nonetheless impressive.
Freddy Galvis (S), 17 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins (LHP Martin Perez): A fast start with his new team has elevated Galvis to the top of the Blue Jays order. He has the experience to make Perez work and the ability to take advantage of a mistake.
Justin Bour (L), 7 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers (RHP Shelby Miller): Bour needs to get going if he wants to stay in the lineup once Shohei Ohtani is ready to assume designated hitter duties. He couldn’t ask for a better spot, facing one of the poorest pitchers in the league in hitter-friendly Globe Life park.
Ben Zobrist (S), 33 percent, Chicago Cubs at Miami Marlins (RHP Trevor Richards): Although it’s not that great, Zobrist checks in as one of the Cubs better hitters against a hurler featuring the change-up.
Brian Anderson (R), 35 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Yu Darvish: Darvish is in a rut to open the season, walking 11 in his first dozen frames. Anderson is a patient hitter, making him an ideal pickup in points leagues with the ability to draw a walk or go deep.
Jorge Soler (R), 20 percent, Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox (RHP Ervin Santana): Soler is one of the few power sources in a Royals lineup built around speed. Eight of Soler’s dozen hits have gone for extra bases, and Santana has allowed 43 homers in his past 239 2/3 innings.
Leury Garcia (S), 4 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Heath Fillmyer): A switch-hitting leadoff batter against a weak pitcher is one of the best scenarios, since he’s assured of the platoon edge even when the opposing team turns to the bullpen. In this case, a weak one, as the Royals reliever’s ERA is the third-worse in the league.