In 2003, Toronto's Roy Halladay went 0-2 with an ERA over 5.00 in his first five starts. He finished 22-7 that season and won the AL Cy Young Award.

Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes famously hit three home runs on Opening Day in 1994, three of the 13 homers he hit in his six-year major league career.

For the fantasy baseball fanatic, there's nothing quite like the first week of the season. It's a great time to scrutinize every box score, tweak your lineup and stay up late watching Padres-Pirates games on the MLB Extra Innings cable package.

But mid-April is not time to panic when you're team isn't near the top of the standings. It's a time to settle in for the long haul, trust your judgement, stick with your lineup and stop watching the late games – because the MLB cable package is not longer free.

It's going to be a long, wild trip. Enjoy the ride.

Who's hot

  • Pat Burrell, Phillies: Shades of 2002. Burrell is batting .405 with a major-league best 17 RBIs and could soon take cleanup role from Jim Thome.

  • Troy Glaus, Diamondbacks: Homers in four consecutive games put concerns about surgically repaired shoulder to rest for now.

  • Jose Guillen, Nationals: Led the majors with five home runs through Wednesday. His bat was never an issue.

  • Jorge Cantu, Devil Rays: With youngster's fast start (3 HRs, .357 BA through 8 games), Devil Rays haven't had reason to miss Roberto Alomar.

  • Edgardo Alfonzo, Giants: Who needs Barry Bonds when you have the hottest hitter in the big leagues? Batting .519 through seven games – brace yourself for the fall.

    Who's not

  • David Wells, Red Sox: After rough first week (0-2, 8.44 ERA), Boston's ace by default thus far glad to see Curt Schilling back on the mound.

  • J.D. Drew, Dodgers: Snapped a season-opening 0-for-22 streak with a couple of hits Sunday. That first RBI should come any day now.

  • Oliver Perez, Pirates: Can't be expected to win often with woeful Pirates, but Bucs' bats can't be blamed for his 11.00 ERA, 2.11 WHIP.

  • Barry Zito, Athletics: Last of Oakland's 'Big Three' has been a big disappointment with 11.57 ERA and just three strikeouts in losses to Baltimore and Tampa Bay.

  • Bernie Williams, Yankees: Off to a 3-for-21 start, but there's no reason to panic. Bernie has a lower career batting average in April (.269) than in any other month.

    Orioles clubhouse

    What in the name of Brady Anderson has gotten into Brian Roberts? The Orioles scrappy leadoff hitter has become one of the American League's most prolific home run hitters after a little more than a week of the season. Roberts, who's never hit more than five home runs in a season, has four after seven games (in case you were curious, he's on pace to hit 93 HRs this season). Better yet, he's getting on base – his .485 OBP ranks among the best in the bigs - scoring runs and stealing bases. To date, he's been everything the O's could want in a leadoff hitter, and more than any reasonable fantasy manager could have hoped for.

    On the flip side, Melvin Mora only recently started to pull himself out of a funk that saw him collect just one hit in his first 21 at-bats. Missing a good chunk of spring training with flu-like symptoms could have something to do with Mora's sluggish start. But O's manager Lee Mazzilli has shown faith in his All-Star third baseman by leaving him in the No. 2 spot and allowing him to hit his way out of the slump. Recent returns have been encouraging. Mora hit the ball with authority Sunday in New York and has picked up a pair of hits in back-to-back games to raise his average to a respectable .250. Now that Mora seems to have found his stroke, that number should continue to climb, with home runs and RBIs sure to follow.

    This weekend's matchups

    American League

    New York Yankees at Baltimore
    Tampa Bay at Boston
    Toronto at Texas
    Minnesota at Cleveland
    Detroit at Kansas City
    Seattle at Chicago White Sox
    Los Angeles Angels at Oakland National League

    Arizona at Washington
    Atlanta at Philadelphia
    Florida at New York Mets
    at Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh
    St. Louis at Milwaukee
    Houston at Cincinnati
    San Francisco at Colorado
    San Diego at Los Angeles Dodgers
    Fantasy mailbag

    Agonizing over a lineup decision? A trade offer? Considering a trade offer? Send your fantasy baseball questions (be sure to include your league format and the city /state where you live) to dalexander@baltimoresun.com. Then check the mailbag section, where each week I'll respond to questions submitted by baltimoresun.com readers.
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