Cubs

FanDuel Friday: Bryce Harper too hot to keep out of lineup?

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FanDuel Friday: Bryce Harper too hot to keep out of lineup?

We spend a lot of time in daily fantasy sports focusing on which starting pitcher you should build your lineup around. And rightfully so. Pitchers usually end up getting the most points for you in your lineup while hitters struggle to even provide positive points. 

But there's one hitter that everyone has on their minds lately: Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. 

Cubs fans got a glimpse of his incredible talent this past week as he hit multiple home runs in the Cubs' series against the Nationals. The 22-year old (yes, he's only 22) has hit 13 home runs this month (a franchise record) and that's over a span of just 19 games. He's also already drawn 43 walks this season and his hitting .331, showing he's more than just a power hitter. He's now found himself in an elite group of sluggers that are worth a start no matter who the opposing pitcher is. 

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

With all his success, however, his price tag has shot up to a steep $6,000. Is he worth that much money for a hitter?

Check out CSN Fantasy's lineups for tonight's slate of games to get you ready to construct your FanDuel lineup. 

John "The Professor" Paschall

Yes, Harper is worth the price tag. He's posted 2.5 points or more in eight of the past 10 games and has hit a home run in consecutive games. Ride the hot hand. 

A few weeks ago I trusted Rodon in my FanDuel lineup and the return wasn't spectacular. But here's why I'm optimistic: the Astros have struck out the second most times this season as a team (only behind the Cubs) and have the second worst team batting average (.234), which is pretty odd for the team with the most wins in baseball. But Rodon's swing-and-miss stuff could be a nice matchup with the Astros' lineup tonight. 

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The key to my lineup is Ramirez. He's coming in at a ridiculously cheap price tag ($3,000). I know he's been battling some injuries but last night he showed off some power, recording a double and a home run. More importantly, he was pulling the ball again, hopefully a sign that his strength has returned. 

Tomas and Kang were big signings by their respective teams this offseason and both got off to slow starts. But each guy has now found his stroke and are must starts because of their cheap price tags. 

Belt has quietly had himself a nice season for the Giants and has 10 hits in his last eight games. Finally returning from injury, Zobrist seems to have gotten his feet underneath him, recording four hits in his first three games back.

Swihart is my biggest risk this week but he's on a five-game hitting streak and facing Yovanni Gallardo, who hasn't been exactly lights out.

Michael Smith

The matchup I’m targeting today is the Red Sox at Rangers game, featuring an over/under of 9, the largest number on the board tonight.  It’s going to be a humid night in Arlington, so I went with some flyball hitters who could go deep.  Yovani Gallardo is a righty who has reverse splits, meaning he struggles with right handed bats more than lefties, so I like every right hander in Boston’s lineup tonight.  The Rangers offense gets to face Steven Wright making his fifth career start tonight, so all the bats near the top of the Rangers order are in play.

James Shields is really enjoying his move to the National League, with 82 strikeouts in 62 innings. There are 3 ways for pitchers to help you in daily fantasy (K’s, IP, and Wins), and Shields can possibly check all 3 boxes today. The Pirates offense has been coming around lately, scoring the second most runs over the past week, but Petco Park is a place good offenses can disappear. Other matchups I like are Oakland A’s hitters against Chris Capuano who has allowed 7 runs to score over his 7+ innings on the season. Another matchup I like are the Minnesota Twins hitters against Mark Buehrle, although the weather in Minnesota could cause some rain delays. The surprising Twins have killed left handed pitching this year, hitting .282 vs. lefties but only .243 vs righties.

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

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USA TODAY

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

The Cubs were swept in four games at the hands of the Reds. The news on the All-Star ballot hasn’t been kind as well.

Starting positions for Cubs players at the 2018 MLB All-Star game is looking a little bleak. But catcher Willson Contreras is still in striking distance.

MLB updated its third round of All-Star ballots for the National League. Dating back a week ago, Contreras was behind Giants catcher Buster Posey by 90,000 votes. As of now, that number is quite similar with Posey up 92,000 votes.

For other Cubs players, the margins have continued to grow in the wrong direction as the week has gone along.

The race for first base is a clear cut path for Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman. With nearly 2,200,000 votes to Freeman’s name, he’s ahead of Anthony Rizzo by nearly 1.3 million votes. At this point last week, Rizzo was down 870,000 votes.

The race for second base is a bit closer. Javier Baez has complied 1,186,243 votes, but he still trails Braves’ Ozzie Albies by 222,000 votes.

But Baez shouldn’t be too comfortable. Reds second basemen Scooter Gennett is just 19,000 votes behind him. Gennett could leap frog Baez, with still 10 days left to vote.

If Baez can get his name ahead of Albies, he’d become the second Cub to start at second base in three years, when Ben Zobrist started in 2016.

Kris Bryant, who has struggled this year offensively, is still struggling in the Midsummer Classic standings. Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado leads Bryant by 646,400 votes, compared to 447,000 votes last week.

Rounding out the infield with Addison Russell at shortstop, he still sits in third place, trailing Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and Giants Brandon Crawford.

In the outfield, it is more of the same for Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Ben Zobrist. Heyward sits in seventh place with 750,688 votes. Schwarber in eighth has 706,374 votes, and Zobrist has 694,377 votes in ninth.

Even though the Cubs probably won’t see multiple starters on the field this time around, it doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to be selected as reserves.

Cub faithful still has time to get their players to the All-Star game. Voting ends July 5 at 11 p.m. CT.

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).