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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Athletics series preview

The Cubs make their first visit to Oakland since 2016.

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Oh my goodness, the A’s are a bad baseball team. This is apparently by design:

I don’t know about “the worst team in MLB history,” there are some A’s teams from the past that might qualify for that “honor.” On the other hand, from Friday night:

A’s pitchers wound up walking 17 in that game, which is just one short of the MLB record for a nine-inning game, set by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944, tied by the Boston Braves in 1945.

And if that’s not enough, look at what the Cubs broadcasters are going to have to deal with at Oakland Coliseum:

For more on the A’s, here’s Nico Pemantle, manager of our SB Nation A’s site Athletics Nation.

We will see if the A’s can rise from rock bottom when they face the Cubs this week, but entering this series Oakland has fallen to 3-13 including back to back 11-0 shellackings at the hands of the Rays and a game in which Oakland pitchers walked 17 Mets and hit two others.

The problem? Just pitching, hitting, and defense, in all of which the A’s have performed at the bottom of the league for the season’s first two weeks. Oakland was supposed to be improved thanks to adding “league average” players in Jace Peterson and Aledmys Diaz to boost an infield that struggled mightily in 2022. However, both came out of the gate tepid and the only pitcher throwing reasonably well so far is Kyle Muller. The rest of the rotation (Shintaro Fujinami, Ken Waldichuk, James Kaprielian, JP Sears) have ranged from Sears’ “OK but not getting deep into games” to Waldichuk’s “purely awful” first two starts.

Meanwhile, Nick Allen was once thought to be the shortstop of the future but he has been, to the bewilderment of A’s fans, relegated to the weak side of a platoon with Diaz — also a right-handed batter and not a good shortstop. Allen was then optioned to AAA last week. In the outfield, the most exciting player is Esteury Ruiz (acquired, like Muller, in the Sean Murphy trade to Atlanta). He and right fielder Ramon Laureano have performed decently.

Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, and the A’s aren’t as bad as their 3-13 start. But they are rebuilding and currently are a team that causes opponents to lick their chops a bit. They will probably get hot at someone’s expense, but whether that will be the Cubs remains to be seen.

Fun fact

The Cubs have won two of three in all three series against Oakland in Chicago, for an overall record of 10-5 vs. the A’s. The 15 total games are the fewest that the Cubs have played against any current team. They have played 16 against the Orioles and Rays, 17 against the Angels and 18 against the Blue Jays and Mariners. The Cubs’ most games vs. any opponent is 2,582, against the Pirates. They have played 2,487 vs. the Cardinals and 2,127 to 2,392 against the five other pre-expansion National League clubs. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

Probable pitching matchups

Monday: Hayden Wesneski, RHP (0-0, 7.50 ERA, 2.833 WHIP, 11.54 FIP) vs. Kyle Muller, LHP (0-0, 5.52 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 4.39 FIP)

Tuesday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (2-1, 1.00 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 2.65 FIP) vs. Ken Waldichuk, LHP (0-2, 10.20 ERA, 1.933 WHIP, 9.57 FIP)

Wednesday: Justin Steele, LHP (2-0, 1.42 ERA, 0.842 WHIP, 3.69 FIP) vs. James Kaprielian, RHP (0-2, 12.15 ERA, 2.250 WHIP, 9.15 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 8:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Tuesday: 8:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 2:37 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network


Seriously, though I hate to predict sweeps... the Cubs really should sweep this series.

Up next

More Dodgers! The Dodgers visit Wrigley Field for a four-game series which begins Thursday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Athletics?

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