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Chicago Cubs vs. Oakland Athletics Preview, Friday 8/5, 9:05 CT

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The Cubs spend the weekend in northern California.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs just had a homestand in which they went 7-1 and did quite a number of fascinating things. Doug Kern of ESPN.com runs down all the cool facts. Here, perhaps, is the most interesting:

This week's series sweep of the Miami Marlins was the Cubs' first at Wrigley Field since July 2002, and the Cubs' all-time record against the Marlins now stands at 93-92. Of all the possible National League matchups, only one other has been played more than 100 times to within a one-game margin: The Milwaukee Brewers lead their all-time series with the Arizona Diamondbacks 65-64.

And now, they'll be playing a team this weekend who they've faced less than any other MLB club (nine games, same as the Orioles and Rays). Just the way the schedule falls.

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Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Russell SS, Soler DH, Heyward RF, Baez 3B, Ross C

Athletics lineup:

Semien SS, Smolinski CF, Valencia 1B, Davis LF, Butler DH, Healy 3B, Eibner RF, Ladendorf 2B, Maxwell C

Jon Lester

vs

Dillon Overton

Let's just say Jon Lester isn't the most popular player in Oakland, due to his meltdown in the 2014 wild-card game, his last game played for the A's. The last time he pitched against the A's was June 22, 2014, and most of those players aren't on the A's anymore. Current members of the A's are 19-for-98 (.194) against Lester with two HR and 27 strikeouts.

Dillon Overton was the A's second-round pick in 2013. He's got decent minor-league numbers, but has been pretty awful since his callup. Just one of his four starts (July 19 vs. the Astros) could be described as "decent" (6⅓ innings, three earned runs) and the others were horrific. He's allowed nine home runs in 18⅓ big-league innings. Obviously none of the current Cubs have ever faced him -- not in the majors, anyway, but both Willson Contreras and Miguel Montero (on rehab assignment) faced him in the minors, May 11, when Iowa played Nashville. Contreras doubled; Montero had two singles. Extremely small sample size, but maybe it'll help.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.