Slogging Through Interleague Play: Cubs vs. Athletics Preview, Wednesday 6/16, 7:05 CT

I don't have a whole lot to say about this evening's game; the best thing about it might be that it's not going to rain tonight.

What's really saddest about this season is that, as I have said many times, the National League has no dominant teams. No, not even the Phillies (who have lost 17 of their last 25) or Cardinals (losers of six of their last nine). No one. There are three really bad teams in the NL -- the Astros (bad as they are, they are underperforming their Pythagorean projection by four games), the Diamondbacks (who just made Aaron Heilman their closer) and the Pirates (who have lost nine in a row and are on pace to score 526 runs, which would be the fewest scored in the NL in a non-strike year since the Dodgers scored 519 in 1967, in a pitcher's park in a pitcher's era).

The other 13 teams in the NL, including the Cubs, are still -- with almost 40% of the season gone -- within nine games of each other. If the Cubs would ever wake up and play the way I believe they are capable of playing, a six or seven game winning streak would have them back in contention.

If not, it's 2011 time. On to tonight's game.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Gio Gonzalez
Gio Gonzalez
Athletics
4-5 W-L 6-4
3.74 ERA 3.79
82 SO 65
32 BB 36
13 HR 6
vs. Oak -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Ryan Dempster 4-5 14 13 0 0 0 0 89.0 71 38 37 13 32 82 3.74 1.16


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Gio Gonzalez 6-4 13 13 0 0 0 0 78.1 66 33 33 6 36 65 3.79 1.30

Gio Gonzalez was a supplemental first-round pick of the White Sox in 2004. They traded him to the Phillies in the Jim Thome deal, then reacquired him for Freddy Garcia, then traded him to the A's for Nick Swisher and got back... no one who's still with the team. Meanwhile, Gonzalez, who won't be 25 until September, is having a pretty good year for the A's. He has never faced the Cubs; the only Cub he has faced is Marlon Byrd (1-for-3).

Ryan Dempster has never faced the A's. The member of their team he's faced the most is Kevin Kouzmanoff (4-for-8 in his time with the Padres). Dempster has faced 28 of the 30 major league teams; the A's and Angels are the only ones he has yet to face -- he'll miss the weekend series vs. the Angels.

Today's game is on WGN and CSN California. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Athletics site Athletics Nation.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8, 9 and 9:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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