Cubs-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

A day after the Chicago Cubs traded one starting pitcher, the man who may be the next trade chip dealt will get the ball looking to continue his dominant stretch.

While scheduled starter Matt Garza has been impressive over the last few weeks, Oakland's Bartolo Colon has been fantastic for more than a month.

In what could be a pitchers' duel Wednesday night in Oakland, Garza goes up against Colon, who seeks to extend the longest winning streak of his career.

Colon (11-2, 2.79 ERA) is not only undefeated over his last nine starts, he's recorded a win in each of the last eight with a 1.37 ERA while allowing one home run over 59 innings.

The 40-year-old gave up one run and six hits in eight innings in a 6-1 win over St. Louis on Saturday. He won eight straight decisions for the Angels from July 21-Sept. 10, 2005, the same season he won the Cy Young Award and a league-best 21 games.

"He's been dominant," teammate Josh Donaldson told the club's official website. "It hasn't even been a question."

Donaldson stayed hot in Tuesday's 8-7 series-opening win, going 2 for 4 with a homer and starting the Athletics' three-run eighth with a leadoff single. He's 12 for 26 with four homers and 10 RBIs over his last eight games, posting an OPS of 1.548 for Oakland (49-35), which has won five of six.

The Cubs (35-46) made two trades Tuesday, sending starter Scott Feldman to Baltimore while also shipping Carlos Marmol to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Feldman had been strong in his only season with Chicago, going 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA.

The move by the rebuilding Cubs clearly seemed aim at cutting payroll while still trying to maximize return. They received veteran reliever Matt Guerrier from the Dodgers, and pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop and two international signing bonus slots from the Orioles.

With the run Garza (3-1, 3.83) has been on of late, he may be the best available arm on the trade market as the July 31 deadline approaches - something he's well-aware of.

"Somebody asked me, 'Well, do you sit by your phone?'" the 29-year old right-hander said. "I said, 'No.' No phone calls. No worries, guys. I'm not too worried about it, just going to keep plugging away every five days."

For prospective suitors, his stock only seems to be rising after he spent almost two months on the disabled list with a strained lat to start the season. He's 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA over his last three starts.

He struck out a season-high 10 while throwing seven innings of one-run ball in a 7-2 win at Milwaukee on Thursday.

"I like where I'm at, and I'm just going to try to keep improving," said Garza, who can become a free agent at the end of the year.

Although Chicago got rid of the much-maligned Marmol, the relief woes didn't end Tuesday. James Russell was tagged with the blown save as he surrendering the go-ahead three-run homer to Derek Norris with two outs in the eighth.

Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie and Seth Smith are a combined 4 for 35 off Garza with nine strikeouts. He's 1-3 with a 3.09 ERA in five career games - four starts - against the A's, but hasn't seen them since 2010.

Colon is 0-1 with a 5.33 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs, whom he hasn't pitched against since 2004. He has a 1.20 ERA in winning his two starts against NL clubs this season, and is 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA in his last six versus the Senior Circuit.

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