Wrapping Up: Zito, Young and Braden shine

CPR’s wrap up of the day’s most useful fantasy news from the diamonds of the Majors.

Barry Zito | Yardbarker

Pitching Pulse: The Giants got their second stellar start of the season Tuesday as Barry Zito threw six innings of three-hit baseball to get the win over the Astros. The veteran struck out five Houston batters and only walked one on the night. I wouldn’t go goo-goo over the start, but Zito could prove very useful in deep leagues or in spot start opportunities in standard mixed leagues. Keep the lefty in mind this year… The Padres’ Chris Young had a no-hitter through the first 11 batters he faced and ended the night with six innings of one-hit baseball, picking up the victory over the Diamondbacks on the road. There’s a good chance that Young isn’t owned in your league. Probably not a bad idea to take advantage of that right about now… Oakland’s Dallas Braden had a sparkling start Tuesday after struggling with reoccurring foot trouble throughout the spring. The A’s starter went seven innings and struck out 10 Mariners while allowing just one run on four hits and only one walk. Unfortunately the A’s offense couldn’t muster enough runs for him to get a decision. Braden is a solid sleeper candidate in deep leagues, and could be even better than that if his K/BB ratio stays anywhere near the 10/1 he dealt tonight… Jon Lester got knocked around a bit against the Yanks, allowing five hits and four earned runs in five innings. The line wasn’t great, but there shouldn’t be any reason to worry. We’ll just chalk it up to first-outing jitters. Expect good things from Lester in 2010.

Hitting Heads Up: Ian Stewart (Fantasy CPR fan favorite) hit his second homerun in as many days Tuesday, this one against Milwaukee’s Randy Wolf. Topping 30 homeruns is a possibility for Stewart and he’s certainly off to a great start. Probably even more encouraging than the homerun was the three hits Stewart added tonight, including a triple and a double. If Stewart’s average can climb far northward from his dreadful .228 last year he could have a huge all-around fantasy year… Adam Jones went 3-for-5 in the Orioles opener at Tampa Bay. Jones hit a solo homerun and added a double in the first game of what could well be a breakout campaign for the 24-year old… Milwaukee’s Casey McGehee had a nice line against the Rox, homering and driving in three, giving him four hits through two games. McGehee could prove useful if you’re in need of a little extra pop at the hot corner… Jeff Mathis started his second game for the Angels behind the plate and went 1-for-3 on the night. Mike Napoli owners have reason to be a little worried. Keep an eye on this situation… Twins’ shortstop J.J. Hardy hit his first homerun of the season in a 5-3 win over the Angels. Don’t be surprised if Hardy smacks over 20 longballs this season after a down 2009.

Closer Checkup: From the blown saves file, the AL East has produced another shaky start from a closer this season. Baltimore’s Mike Gonzalez came on in the bottom of the ninth for the Orioles staked to a one-run lead at Tampa Bay. Five batters later Carl Crawford ended the game on a two-run single to give the Rays their first walk-off win of 2010. Gonzalez should have a fairly long leash to start the season. The former Brave saved 10 games in 17 opportunities for Atlanta last season, but is being looked at to hold down the job in Baltimore. If Gonzalez should struggle, Cla Meredith or Jim Johnson, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning tonight, could get a look…. Among the closers finishing off more successful nights, Brian Wilson picked up his second save in as many nights with a 1-2-3 ninth against the Astros… Trevor Hoffman allowed a run on two hits, but still picked up his first save of the season in an inning of work against Colorado… Mariano Rivera got his first save as well with a solid inning against the Red Sox… Minnesota’s closer-of-today Jon Rauch picked up his first save with a perfect ninth including two strikeouts for the Twins in Anaheim. As long as he performs like he did tonight there shouldn’t be any closer debate in the Twin Cities… Last year’s early-season save phenom Heath Bell notched his first save of the year to preserve the victory for Chris Young, allowing a leadoff hit and then inducing a double play from Stephen Drew to erase the threat and give the Padres their first win of the season… Andrew Bailey saw his first action of the year and pitched a one-hit ninth in a tie game, before giving way in the tenth as the Mariners and A’s went into extra innings. The A’s would win it in the tenth on a Mark Ellis single, 2-1 over the Mariners.

How did your fantasy team fare on day two of the big league season? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: Adam Jones Andrew Bailey Barry Zito Brian Wilson Carl Crawford Casey McGehee Chris Young Cla Meredith Dallas Braden Fantasy Baseball Fantasy CPR Heath Bell Ian Stewart J.J. Hardy Jeff Mathis Jim Johnson Jon Lester Jon Rauch Mariano Rivera Mark Ellis Mike Gonzalez Mike Napoli Stephen Drew Trevor Hoffman

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