<
>

TRUM: Cabrera, Escobar and Olsen

A quick note to address the portion of people who have been affected by some hiccups with ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues (for the majority of you, you can jump down to the baseball talk): I know that you've been frustrated, but I can assure you that the ESPN.com technical team is on it. The majority of the issues are resolved, and you'll be hearing directly from the team here at ESPN Fantasy games. You can count on us to do right by you.


Also, know that you can call our customer service team at 1-888-549-ESPN and you'll be taken care of.


OK. Now on to the baseball.


Among the other cool stuff we've introduced is our new, free, Daily Notes section. Every day, we break down every single game from a fantasy perspective and give you good spot starts and sits, especially based on players owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Check out David Young's report from yesterday.

He recommended Mark Ellis, who always hits well against Jarrod Washburn. Ellis went 1-for-3 with a run and two RBIs. For the same game, he said Yuniesky Betancourt should be started against Joe Blanton. Betancourt hit a homer. He said to sit Shawn Green against Kip Wells. Greenie went 0-4.

Anyway, the notes are phenomenally useful, especially if you play in leagues where you change your lineup daily.

Here's some other stuff I noticed from last night: Marcus Giles is leading off? Oh boy, that can't be good. For anyone. My guess is it does not last. He will steal more this year, however, playing for the Padres. Josh Bard, however, goes 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. We've liked him since last year. For. Real.

In case you were wondering if he was 100 percent healthy or not, Barry Bonds stole a base yesterday. Nothing yet from Bengie Molina, but that's OK. I still like him. I have a bet with Jay Levy, who runs "Baseball Tonight," that he hits more than 15 homers this year. Levy thinks I'm nuts and is taking the under.

I've never been a big Corey Patterson fan, and the fact that he is batting eighth doesn't help. Watch closely. Looking for cheap speed? How about Jason Tyner of the Twins? Two days, two stolen bases (okay, the one that made the highlight reels doesn't really count, but you'll take it anyway, right?), and he's always been speedy. Willy Taveras also gets his second steal. We've been saying it all along. Big, big year for Willy. And he's available in a decent amount of mixed leagues.

Boof Mania is starting to sweep the country, and it was a quality start for Boof Bonser. Six innings, three hits, two earned runs, six strikeouts and three walks. Of concern to me, however, is that it still took him 100 pitches. That isn't horrible, but it's not great, and he had eight fly balls compared to four ground balls. Giving up more fly balls, especially pitching in a place like Minnesota, could lead to some ugly lines and not the kind on Bea Arthur.

Those who had a Bea Arthur shot appearing in under two days, you win.

I am fairly certain Daniel Cabrera is going to be the end of me. I love his potential so. He had a great spring. He struck out nine last night in seven innings. He also allowed 10 baserunners, which is a bit concerning. I said I believed in the preseason, and, so far, so good, but I just have a gut feeling he's gonna break my heart. Again.

Eric Karabell and Steve Phillips gave me a lot of TV grief about liking Gary Matthews Jr. this year, as he was going in the 17th round in ESPN drafts. Long season, we will see, but 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI last night is a good start -- although not a great start like Ian Kinsler's having. I'm happy I have him in three leagues. Wish it was more. Home run number two and his first steal. Kinsler for Triple Crown!

I've always loved Kelvim Escobar. And I still do, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about 103 pitches last night to get through 5 1/3 innings. Only two earned runs but four strikeouts against five walks is bothersome to me. Same for Scott Olsen, who walked five while striking out only two in 5 1/3 innings. Only two hits, though. I still like him. But I'm watching very closely.

By the way, it looked like a terrible start for Joe Blanton: four earned runs in six innings. But he did strike out seven and walk none. He also gave up only five hits. And he did induce eight ground balls against only three fly balls. Good things are in store for Joe Blanton.

Blown save for Jose Valverde, but it was defense that really cost him here. Not concerned. And Brad Lidge owners, feel free to breathe easier now that Dan Wheeler also coughed one up. Seriously, if you're an Astros starting pitcher, are you coming out of the game? Ever?

Kory Casto gets the nod in the outfield for the Nats with Nook Logan on the shelf. I like this kid a lot. He hit 20 homers and drove in 80 runs in 140 Double-A games last year. He has a good batting eye, too.

Finally, how about some love for my Ian Snell, who both Eric Karabell and Nate Ravitz thought I was nuts on in the preseason (Nate more than Eric, for the record). Six innings, two earned runs, only four hits, a walk and a sweet 11 strikeouts. Salomon Torres, this year's poster boy for never pay for saves, nails down his second in two days.

Matthew Berry, the Talented Mr. Roto, is the senior director of fantasy games. Cyberstalk the TMR at TalentedMrRoto@aol.com