The Chicago Cubs continue their interleague schedule this week as the Oakland Athletics come to town for a three game set at Wrigley. The Athletics (32-33) are in 3rd place 4 games behind of AL West leading Texas, while the Cubs (28-35) also in 3rd, stand 7.5 back of Cincinnati. The A’s come in scuffling a bit after being swept by Bay Area rivals San Francisco over the weekend.
Carlos Zambrano (2-4, 6.05 ERA) goes for the Cubs in game one against Trevor Cahill (5-2, 2.91). Zambrano is 7-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 19 career interleague starts. He won his only start over Oakland in 2004 tossing 6 2/3 innings of one run ball while striking out 8. Cahill is coming off his longest start of the season, 8 innings, against LAA, a 6-1 win and is 4-0 with 1.91 ERA in his last 5 outings.
Ryan Dempster (4-5, 3.74) matches up with lefty Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.79). Gonzalez is familiar to Chicago having been a 1st round pick of the White Sox in 2004. He was orginally traded in 2005 with Aaron Rowand to Philadelphia for Jim Thome and then returned to Chicago in a deal for Freddy Garcia before ending up in Oakland in the trade that brought Nick Swisher in return.
Thursday’s finale offers this season’s first perfect game tosser in lefty Dallas Braden (4-6, 3.95) and the struggling right-hander Randy Wells (3-5 5.15) . Wells and pitching coach Larry Rothschild believes they have everything sorted out and have corrected something they saw Wells doing from the stretch. He’s winless in his last 8 starts with a 6.47 ERA.
Former Cub and utility man Jake Fox was designated for assignment by the Athletics after Sunday’s game. Fox was only hitting .214 with 2 home runs and 12 RBI. The team has 10 days to either trade or release Fox.
Athletics C Kurt Suzuki, who missed this weekend’s series against the Giants due to a death in the family, returned to the team Sunday and is scheduled to be activated from the bereavement list before Tuesday’s game. Landon Powell who replaced Suzuki on the active roster will stay with team as the backup catcher in lieu of Fox’s designation. There is no word yet on who the Athletics plan to send to Triple-A Sacramento.
Former Cubs RP Michael Wuertz and INF/OF Eric Patterson make their return to Wrigley Field. Wuertz pitched out of the Cubs bullpen from 2004-2008.
Cubs left-handed reliever John Grabow is eligible to come off the DL after a rehab stint at Triple-A Iowa. In 3 outings at Iowa Grabow struck out 1 with a 10.12 ERA. Mitch Atkins, recently called up Saturday, is the most likely to be sent down.
2009 Cubs 1st round pick Brett Jackson hit a walk-off two-run homer in the 11th Monday night for Single-A Daytona. The home run completed the cycle for Jackson. It was his first career cycle and walk-off home run. Daytona has won 5 of their last 6 to pull within 2 games of .500. Jackson is hitting .291 overall with 4 home runs and 10 stolen bases on the season.