Cubs

FanDuel Friday: Billy Burns on an absolute tear in Oakland

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FanDuel Friday: Billy Burns on an absolute tear in Oakland

Sometimes the game of baseball can humble you. Other times, it can make you quite cocky, like if you've been playing Oakland A's outfielder Billy Burns lately.

All the 25-year-old has done in his last 11 games is slash .375/.412/.995, hit two home runs, knock in six runs, score 11 more and steal four bases. He's gone for positive FanDuel points in 10 of those games, including the last nine following an 0-for-4 performance on May 25. Riding a nine-game hitting streak as the A's begin a series with the AL East-worst Boston Red Sox, this is a no-brainer to get one of the young and most exciting outfielders going right now into your lineup. He's still going to cost you just $3,400, $200 less than Carlos Gomez AND Carlos Gonzalez. If you've followed us long enough you know fantasy and FanDuel is all about value, so getting Burns while he's still on the cheap side is a must to begin your lineup. Then go from there.

To give you some more advice heading into the weekend, here's what our experts think of tonight's slate of games.

John "The Professor" Paschall

The Mariners have struck out the third most times in the majors this year, they have the third worst batting average in all of baseball and they are losers of six straight games. Enter Odorizzi, who has been a stud this year for the Rays. He has yet to give up more than four earned runs in an outing so far in 2015 and has gone at least six innings in every start. While his strikeout numbers aren't elite, he may get a boost with a free swinging Mariners team tonight.

One trick I've started to notice lately is sometimes FanDuel will have some quality veterans at a cheap price tag. Last week it was Hanley Ramirez and this week it's Holliday. Also, Cespedes is a must-start tonight (if he's over his illness). He has owned Quintana over his career, recording six hits in 10 plate appearances including four home runs.

Bogaerts and Eaton have both really found their stroke lately and are cheap tonight. The Red Sox shortstop is hitting .333 against lefties this year, though Kazmir won't be an easy matchup.

Going cheaper with those options mentioned above allows me to spend big on some Chicago stars tonight in Abreu and Bryant.

Finally, the Rockies are projected to have the most runs tonight so putting the lineup's catalyst in LeMahieu makes a ton of sense and fits in the budget.

Mark Strotman

All aboard the Billy Butler train. As mentioned in the intro, he's riding a nine-game hitting streak and squares off against a Red Sox team that has lost eight of its last 11 games.

Still, while Butler is a must-insert in your lineup I still like what Wade Miley can bring to the place for the Red Sox tonight. Before he blew up in Texas last week (4 IP, 5 ER) he had allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts, spanning 21.2 innings. He faced Oakland back on May 13 and threw 6.2 innings of five-hit, shutout baseball. Boston has to get back on track at some point; perhaps Miley's streak of good play can do it.

Derrick Norris is going to be my catcher until further notice, while Jose Abreu seems to be in a groove following his three-game absence earlier in the week. Carlos Gomez is quietly starting to heat up, while A.J. Pollock is already there - the $4,700 price tag may seem steep, but he's playing worth every penny at this stage.

Wong, Tomas, and Reyes are fillers: Reyes is batting .320 in his lsat 11 games, Tomas has six hits in his last three games and Wong is coming off a big game in LA last night (plus, it's always fun to have a guy playing on the West Coast).

Scott Krinch

During the Detroit Tigers seven-game losing streak they have averaged a minuscule 2.7 runs per game so it's only logical that my starting pitcher for Friday evening is Jose Quintana. The White Sox 26-year-old left hander has ramped-up his strikeout total with an 8.20 K/9 rate in 2015. Expect him to keep the Tigers at bay, turning in a quality start at a low-cost option.

I stacked my lineup with a couple Rockies in D.J. LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado, who have both been on a ridiculous tear, and have a nice matchup in the high altitude against Marlins starter Tom Koehler, who is susceptible to giving up the longball (seven allowed this season). Derek Norris and his five multihit games in his last nine starts is a no-brainer at catcher given he's going up against a guy making his MLB debut. My sleeper is Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario. He's cheap at $2600 and is facing one of the worst starters in baseball in Kyle Lohse. 

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

The Cubs and their fans may want to invent and use one of those Men In Black neuralyzers because the four-game series in Cincinnati was one to forget.

The Reds finished off a four-game sweep of the Cubs on Sunday with an 8-6 win. The way the Reds won the finale will be especially painful for the Cubs considering they led 6-1 after six innings. Mike Montgomery appeared to tire in the seventh inning and Pedro Strop got rocked out of the bullpen to lead to a seven-run seventh for the hosts.

The Reds have now won seven in a row and 10 of 12, but still sit 13 games under .500. Bizarrely, the Reds also swept the Dodgers, the Cubs’ next opponent, in a four-game series in May. Duane Underwood will start for the Cubs Monday against the Dodgers and make his major league debut.

Here are some other wild facts and figures from the series:

  • The last time the Reds swept the Cubs in a four-game series was back in 1983. That was the first week of the season and three weeks before the infamous Lee Elia rant.
  • One positive for the Cubs from the game was Montgomery’s start. Through six innings he allowed one run on three hits and two walks. However, he gave up a single, a double and a single in the seventh before Strop relieved him. Montgomery had gone six innings and allowed one run in each of his last four outings.
  • Strop was definitely a negative. On his first pitch, Strop gave up a home run to pinch-hitter Jesse Winker, the second home run for a Reds pinch-hitter in the game. Then Strop allowed a single, a walk, a single and a double before getting an out. Strop’s final line: 2/3 inning pitched, four runs, one strikeout, three walks, four hits.
  • The Cubs led in three of the four games this series, including two leads after five innings.
  • The Cubs were 5-for-23 (.217) with runners in scoring position in the series. On the season the Cubs are hitting .233 with RISP, which is 22nd in the majors and fourth-worst in the National League (but ahead of the division-rival Brewers and Cardinals).
  • The Reds outscored the Cubs 31-13 and scored at least six runs in every game. The Reds are now 6-3 against the Cubs this year after going a combined 17-40 against the Cubs from 2015-2017.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 32nd homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 32nd homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa victimized the Tigers pitching staff again on the next night, taking Brian Moehler deep in the 7th inning for a 400-foot solo blast.

The homer tied the game at 3, but the Cubs blew the lead in the bottom of the 7th when the Terrys (Adams and Mulholland) gave up 3 runs. The Cubs wound up losing 6-4.

The Cubs were putting together a really nice season in 1998 that ended with a trip to October. They entered the series with the Tigers with a 42-34 record, yet lost both games to a Detroit team that entered the series with a 28-45 record. The Tigers finished the season 65-94; the Cubs finished 90-73.

Fun fact: Luis Gonzalez was the Tigers left fielder and No. 5 hitter for both games of the series. He spent part of the 1995 season and all of '96 on Chicago's North Side. 1998 was his only year in Detroit before he moved on to Arizona, where he hit 57 homers in 2001 and helped the Diamondbacks to a World Series championship with that famous broken-bat single in Game 7.

Fun fact  No. 2: Remember Pedro Valdes? He only had a cup of coffee with the Cubs (9 games in 1996 and 14 in '98), but started in left field on June 25, 1998. He walked and went 0-for-1 before being removed from the game for a pinch-hitter (Jose Hernandez).