The Cubs are in first place after sweeping the Brewers at home and now prepare for a three-game set against the Athletics. With the Cardinals still hot on their tail, they'll need to keep up the kind of intensity they've shown over the last few days. Although they are 8.5 games back in the AL West, don't expect the A's to go down easy. They are 64-48 and playing for an AL Wild Card spot and are an all around tough opponent. See match-ups below.
Game 112, Monday, August 5, 7:05pmCDT
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (8-8, 3.07 ERA)
OAK: RHP Chris Bassitt (7-5, 3.84 ERA)
Hendricks starts things against the A's. He's coming off seven shutout innings and a win against the Cardinals. He last allowed a run on July 21, against the Padres. Khris Davis is 5-17 off of him, former Cardinal Stephen Piscotty is 4-15, and former Philly Cameron Rupp is 0-7.
Bassitt has accumulated 292 major league innings and 48 starts since 2014, briefly with the White Sox and then bouncing between the minors and the majors with the Athletics. He's spent the majority of 2019 healthy and in the majors. Nick Castellanos is 4-11 with three doubles off of him.
Game 113, Tuesday, August 6, 7:05pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (9-7, 3.86 ERA)
OAK: LHP Brett Anderson (9-7, 4.04 ERA)
Lester surrendered five earned runs in a five-inning loss to the Cardinals last time out. Current A's have a .596 OPS against him in 56 at bats.
Former Cub Brett Anderson is back at it with the A's. He rebounded from his rough 2017 with a decent half-season in 2018 and has improved on that performance this year. His strikeout rate has just about hit bedrock, but he continues to get groundballs more than half the time. He hasn't won since July 5, having lost his last two and getting handed no-decisions in the two starts before that. He's allowed 13 earned runs in 24.1 innings during that stretch. Current Cubs are 6-20 off of him with three strikeouts.
Game 114, Wednesday August 7, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP José Quintana (9-7, 4.40 ERA)
OAK: RHP Homer Bailey (9-7, 5.20 ERA)
Q allowed two earned runs over six innings and got a win as part of the Milwaukee sweep. Going back to the beginning of July, he's allowed sixteen earned runs over 28.2 innings and hasn't had a scoreless appearance since June 29. Current A's have a .860 OPS against him in 63 at bats. Robbie Grossman is 5-20.
The A's picked up Homer Bailey from the Royals after the All-Star break, and he's gone 2-1 in four starts since then. Most recently he got a no-decision while allowing two earned runs in six innings to the Brewers. Rizzo is 11-28 with two homeruns and six walks off of him. Heyward is 7-21 with a homerun.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals take on the Los Angels juggernaut and the Brewers try to make up some ground in a series against the last-place Pirates. Is it time for scoreboard watching yet? The division has been so tight all year that I feel like I've never really not been watching the standings.