Patriots presumably scouted

CHICAGO — If the Chicago Cubs were looking for a glimmer of hope in an otherwise forgettable road trip [url=http://www.officialflyersproshop.com/authentic-adidas-claude-giroux-jersey]Adidas Claude Giroux Jersey[/url] , a seven-run seventh inning provided a spark.

A day before the Cubs open a nine-game homestand on Friday against the Minnesota Twins, Thursday’s seven-spot helped deliver an 11-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers that helped the Cubs earn a split of the four-game series.

The Cubs lost six of the eight games on that road trip, but that victory in Thursday’s series finale may have been just what the Cubs needed. Despite their recent struggles, the Cubs won’t get too wrapped up in their recent skid.

“We’re in June,” center fielder Albert Almora Jr., told reporters. “Obviously, we want to get on a roll and start playing good baseball and this is a good way to move into our home (stand) now.

“We’re not where we want to be obviously, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Thursday’s outcome was better than the news that came earlier in the day.

Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish experienced pain in his right triceps during a bullpen session Thursday, which will prevent him from returning to the starting rotation this weekend.

“It didn’t go that well and he wasn’t able to cut it loose,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters, according to the Cubs’ official website. “We’ll re-evaluate once we go back to Chicago and let you know the next step. For right now, he’s not going to be able to pitch on Saturday.”

Darvish’s injury has opened the door of opportunity for Mike Montgomery, who will open the series against the Twins. Montgomery (2-2, 3.39 ERA) transitioned into the rotation from the bullpen in late May and has been effective. But after allowing no more than one earned run in each of his first five starts, Montgomery struggled in his last outing when he allowed four runs over six innings against the Cincinnati Reds.

Montgomery is 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two career appearances, including one start, against the Twins. The lone start came in 2015, when he allowed one run and four hits over six innings, but did not get a decision.

The Twins enter this weekend’s series off a marathon 13-inning, 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Minnesota avoided a sweep while playing the third of six games they will play in Chicago this week.

After Fernando Rodney allowed the tying run to score in the ninth inning, the Twins pulled out the victory with a bases-loaded walk to Max Kepler. The Twins will face the Cubs having lost five of their past seven games.

Like the Cubs, the Twins hope a win can build momentum after Minnesota’s recent slide erased any positive energy that came earlier this month in series wins over the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox.

“Obviously, this series and the last series have been unfortunate coming off two huge series wins,” second baseman Brian Dozier told reporters Thursday. “But that’s kind of how we’ve played the first few months of the season [url=http://www.officialflyersproshop.com/authentic-adidas-shayne-gostisbehere-jersey]Adidas Shayne Gostisbehere Jersey[/url] , which is not good. But I keep saying this team has potential to catch fire and do good things. I know we keep waiting on that and waiting on that, and in a perfect world, it would start today. But I think the mindset is where it needs to be. We just have to start winning more games.”

Jose Berrios will start for the Twins. Berrios (8-5, 3.15) has not lost since May 27 and is coming off a strong seven-inning effort against the Texas Rangers in which he allowed no runs and two hits and struck out 12.

Berrios will face the Cubs for the first time in his career on Friday.

PLAYERS TO PICK UP

MIKE SOROKA (SP, Atlanta Braves, 38 percent owned in Yahoo) – Soroka returned from the disabled list Wednesday, and despite being on a pitch limit, he made the most of his return to the mound against the Mets. He allowed just one hit and one walk in 6.1 innings, while striking out four batters. He won’t ever be a huge strikeout pitcher, but he should be owned in the majority of leagues as a fourth starter.

WILLY ADAMES (SS, Tampa Bay Rays, 11 percent) – Adames will get every chance to earn the everyday shortstop role for the Rays. He has the upside to contribute across the board, and he should be owned in 12-team leagues with a middle infielder.

MIGUEL SANO (3B, Minnesota Twins, 81 percent) – Sano is owned widely but might be at his low as a fantasy asset. The Twins shocked the baseball world by sending him to Triple-A on Thursday, as he’s struggled to get it going after his 2017 All-Star season. If you have the patience and the room, now’s the time to buy low on Sano, who has out-of-this-world potential.

TOM MURPHY (C, Colorado Rockies, 1 percent) – If a catcher has a pulse, fantasy owners should be interested. Chris Iannetta or Tony Wolters aren’t a threat, as they aren’t even hitting their weight. Murphy, meanwhile, was hitting .289 in Triple-A [url=http://www.officialflyersproshop.com/authentic-adidas-jakub-voracek-jersey]Adidas Jakub Voracek Jersey[/url] , and he just got the call to Colorado. He’s a power-hitting catcher with a pedigree, and that gives him a real chance to be a top 5 catcher in fantasy going forward if he gets everyday at-bats.

TWO-START PITCHERS TO STREAM

DYLAN COVEY (SP, Chicago White Sox, 18 percent) – Covey has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners this season with his good strikeout rate, low walk rate and 2.29 ERA for the White Sox. There are better matchups out there than Cleveland and Oakland, but Covey should earn your trust in a two-start week.

MIKE MONTGOMERY (SP, Chicago Cubs, 17 percent) – Montgomery has filled in admirably for the injured Yu Darvish. He gives an added boost to those in points leagues, as he has relief pitcher eligibility. Montgomery is slated to start against the Dodgers and at the Reds next week.

JAIME BARRIA (SP, Los Angeles Angels, 27 percent) – With Shohei Ohtani out for the foreseeable future, Barria will get his shot to stick in the Angels rotation on a full-time basis.

HITTERS TO STREAM

BRIAN ANDERSON (3B, Miami Marlins, 46 percent) – If Anderson were in any other market, he’d be more highly owned. Anderson and the Marlins get six games against the Giants and the Rockies on the road next week. He’s worth streaming and owning for the long run.

JAY BRUCE (OF, New York Mets, 34 percent) – The newly-signed three-year deal hasn’t quite worked out for Bruce or the Mets yet, but Coors Field could be the scenery he needs to get going.

DUSTIN FOWLER (OF, Oakland Athletics 4 percent) – In Oakland’s six games next week, only one is scheduled to be against a lefty, which benefits Fowler. The Padres and White Sox are both in the top 10 for stolen bases allowed by a team this year. Expect Fowler to get plenty of run.



This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network,

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