Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 6/16)

Game 1: Tuesday, June 15
Chi Cubs5
Game 2: Wednesday, June 16
Chi Cubs6
Game 3: Thursday, June 17
Chi Cubs3

Athletics 2

(33-34, 12-21 away)

Cubs 6

(29-36, 16-16 home)

    8:05 PM ET, June 16, 2010

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    OAK 100000100 2 9 0
    CHC 02013000 - 6 9 0

    W: R. Dempster (5-5)

    L: G. Gonzalez (6-5)

    Athletics-Cubs Preview


    The losses are mounting for the Chicago Cubs and manager Lou Piniella seems to be losing faith.

    The sputtering Cubs look to avoid losing for the 11th time in 15 games Wednesday night when they continue a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics at Wrigley Field.

    Piniella has made several adjustments since the start of the year to give Chicago (28-36) an edge -- shuffling his batting order around and moving staff ace Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen and back to the rotation -- but nothing seems to be working.

    In Tuesday's 9-5 series-opening loss to the A's, sloppy defense led to the Cubs' demise, as the team committed a season-high four errors. Three-time Gold Glove first baseman Derrek Lee was responsible for back-to-back errors in a four-run fourth and rookie right fielder Tyler Colvin added two more in a three-run seventh.

    Piniella didn't speak with his normal enthusiasm in the press conference after Tuesday's embarrassing performance, and seemed to be at a loss for words.

    "What do we do? Go out tomorrow and play better," he said.

    The Cubs are in danger of falling nine games below .500 for the first time since they were 22-31 on June 2, 2007. Despite that disappointing record, Chicago managed to rally and win the NL Central.

    The Cubs are 7 1/2 games out of first this year, and need to quickly get things turned around to have any chance of making the playoffs.

    The A's (33-33) are also in the midst of a little funk, but they're still in the thick of the race in the AL West, sitting four games back of first-place Texas. Oakland, 5-9 this month, hasn't won consecutive games since reeling off four in a row May 26-29.

    Rajai Davis and Kevin Kouzmanoff each had three hits Tuesday for the A's, who totaled eight runs while getting swept in a three-games series in San Francisco over the weekend.

    Kouzmanoff, batting .458 with three homers and 11 RBIs during a career-high 15-game hitting streak, looks to extend his run against scheduled starter Ryan Dempster (4-5, 3.74 ERA).

    Dempster allowed three runs, five hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings of Thursday's 5-4, 10-inning loss in Milwaukee. The Cubs dropped to 2-7 with Dempster on the mound since April 28, but it hasn't entirely been the right-hander's fault, as the offense has backed him with three runs or fewer seven times.

    This will be Dempster's first appearance against the A's, leaving only the Angels as the only team the 13-year veteran hasn't faced.

    It will also be his first start against an AL team other than the Chicago White Sox since facing Tampa Bay on June 17, 2008, a span of six interleague starts.

    Like Dempster, Oakland scheduled starter Gio Gonzalez's interleague experience has come extensively against the team's natural NL rival.

    Gonzalez is 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA in three interleague starts -- all versus San Francisco.

    Against the Giants on Friday, Gonzalez (6-4, 3.79) allowed four runs, six hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings of a 6-2 loss, his first defeat since May 12. The left-hander had gone 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA in his previous five outings.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakW4L1
    Last 104-66-4

    Pitching Matchup

    G. Gonzalez
    15-9, 3.23 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/30 at SEA
    7.0 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = Win
    R. Dempster
    15-12, 3.85 ERA

    Last Game:
    10/3 at HOU
    6.0 IP, 3 ER
    Dec = Loss

    Gameday Lineups

    1. C. Jackson, LF R. Theriot, 2B
    2. D. Barton, 1B J. Baker, 3B
    3. R. Sweeney, CF M. Byrd, CF
    4. K. Kouzmanoff, 3B D. Lee, 1B
    5. K. Suzuki, C X. Nady, RF
    6. J. Cust, RF A. Soriano, LF
    7. A. Rosales, SS G. Soto, C
    8. M. Ellis, 2B S. Castro, SS
    9. G. Gonzalez, P R. Dempster, P