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Chicago Cubs vs. Oakland Athletics preview, Monday 4/17, 8:40 CT

The Cubs open a series against a team that’s had a rough start to its 2023 season.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

OAKLAND — I’m in San Francisco for a few days visiting my dad, so I’m going to attend the first two games of this series.

Monday notes...

  • IT’S BEEN A WHILE: This is by far the earliest calendar date that the Cubs have played the Athletics. The earliest of any of their five previous series against the A’s was June 15, in 2010, at Wrigley Field. This will be just the third series the teams have played at Oakland. The Cubs lost two of three games in 2013, then swept a three-game set in 2016. Their win at Oakland in 2013 was by 3-1 on July 3. It was the last game in which no Cubs batter struck out. They have played 1,451 games since then. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • THE STARTERS: Through Sunday, Cubs starters have a 3.11 ERA in 14 games (25 earned runs in 72⅓ innings). That’s tied for the best in the National League with the Giants and third-best in MLB behind the Twins and Rays.
  • THE STRIKEOUTS: Cubs pitchers overall are averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings, tied with the Yankees and White Sox for second-best in MLB behind the Twins (10.5). Meanwhile, Cubs relievers have recorded 11.47 strikeouts per nine innings and a 30.6 percent strikeout rate, both the best marks in baseball.
  • HE’S HOT: Nico Hoerner has a 12-game on-base streak in which he is batting .365/.421/.423 (19-for-52) with three doubles and eight stolen bases.
  • ALSO HOT: Cody Bellinger, last 11 games: .310/.375/.571 (13-for-42) with two doubles, three home runs and 10 runs scored.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

A’s lineup:

Also of interest:

Hayden Wesneski, RHP vs. Kyle Muller, LHP

Major League Baseball
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Hayden Wesneski, after some really good pitching down the stretch last year and also in Spring Training, has started his 2023 season with a thud. One mediocre start was followed by a bad one. One can only hope that this will improve, and soon. He’s never faced the A’s or anyone on their active roster, which should not surprise you, as the Oakland roster is pretty anonymous.

Kyle Muller was the Braves’ second-round pick out of high school in Texas in 2016. He came to the A’s in the three-way deal that sent Sean Murphy to Atlanta and William Contreras to Milwaukee (among others involved).

He’s a big dude (6-7, 250) and has a decent K rate, but a high walk rate as well. He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on their active roster.

So who will be able to use unfamiliarity to his advantage? Tune in and find out!


Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Athletics site Athletics Nation. If you do go there to interact with A’s fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2023 Game Thread procedure will be like last year’s, similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every post related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.