Cubs vs. Athletics Preview, Tuesday 7/2, 9:05 CT: Not Since 1929

USA TODAY Sports

After 16 years of interleague play, the Cubs finally make their first-ever regular-season visit to Oakland.

OAKLAND -- Obviously, the big stories today are the Scott Feldman and Carlos Marmol trades, which you can continue to discuss here and here. The Cubs did make one other move prior to tonight's game, replacing the injured Ryan Sweeney (to the 60-day DL, opening a 40-man roster spot) with Dave Sappelt, recalled from Iowa. Now, on to an actual game preview.

If only the Cubs didn't have to play their pesky N.L. Central rivals, they would be having a pretty good season. The Cubs are 11-25 against the Reds, Pirates, Cardinals and Brewers and 24-20 against everyone else.

That includes a 10-4 record in interleague play, during which they have outscored their American League opponents (White Sox, Rangers, Astros, Angels, Mariners) 88-49. That is just... bizarre. Granted that the Astros and White Sox are having miserable seasons and the Angels and Mariners aren't much better, but still, this is unexpected; the Cubs need just one more interleague win in the six remaining games to have their first winning year against A.L. teams since 2007 (8-4 that year).

You have all noted, I'm sure (especially with my position on the DH), how well Cubs pitchers have hit this year. But in the six interleague games in A.L. parks, Cubs DH's (Alfonso Soriano, Scott Hairston, Dioner Navarro and Julio Borbon) are 9-for-23 with two doubles, two home runs and six RBI (.391/.423/.739). Yes, very small sample size and all, but still...

Anyway, the Cubs will get three more interleague chances -- and three more with the DH -- starting tonight. The A's, like the Rangers, are a very good team. But the Cubs took two of three from Texas, and are on a bit of a roll right now (six of nine).

Herewith some notes of interest regarding the A's first regular-season hosting of a Cubs team in Oakland:

(Note -- tweet was sent yesterday, "tomorrrow" means Tuesday.)

Does a massive Bay Area transit strike count as an "emergency"?

Cubs lineup:

Valbuena 3B, Castro SS, Schierholtz RF, Soriano LF, Rizzo 1B, Navarro DH, Bogusevic CF, Barney 2B, Castillo C

Athletics lineup:

Crisp DH, Lowrie 2B, Cespedes LF, Donaldson 3B, Freiman 1B, Young CF, Reddick RF, Norris C, Rosales SS

Today's Starting Pitchers

Chris Rusin

Chris Rusin


Cubs

vs. A.J. Griffin

A.J. Griffin


Athletics

vs. Oak

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - A.J. Griffin 6-6 16 16 1 1 0 0 103.2 88 44 41 15 25 81 3.56 1.09

Chris Rusin will be making his first 2013 major-league start. He has never faced the A's nor anyone on their current roster. So... maybe the following won't be doom.

A.J. Griffin has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on the current roster. He threw a two-hit shutout against a very good-hitting team, the Reds, in his last start June 26. This is the clearest case of doom I have ever seen.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

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.

Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.

You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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