The Baltimore Orioles are coming off of a sweep of the Chicago White Sox and have won four in a row, but today they will begin a very rare three game series against the Chicago Cubs at historic Wrigley Field. Not everything will be unfamiliar however, as the Orioles will face two former O's pitchers in the three game set.
Baltimore has not played at Wrigley Field since 2008 when the team made its' first ever trip to the historic park and obviously the team is a lot different than it was back then when the O's took two of three.
Here are the pitching matchups for this weekend series:
- Friday – Kevin Gausman (7-4, 3.70 ERA) vs Jake Arrieta (6-4, 2.61 ERA)
- Saturday – Bud Norris (11-7, 3.69 ERA) vs Kyle Hendricks (5-1, 1.48 ERA)
- Sunday – Miguel Gonzalez (6-6, 3.80 ERA) vs Tsuyoshi Wada (3-1, 2.75 ERA)
As you can see, while the Cubs as a whole are not a very good baseball team as they are 55-72, the Birds are going to see arguably their three best pitchers, including two former Orioles in Arrieta and Wada.
Arrieta could just not get it figured out in Baltimore, but a trade to the Cubs last year has given him a change of scenery and boy has it benefited him. He has had a great year for the Cubbies, but let's also remember that most pitchers find a little more success when the move from the American League to the National League.
Wada, who was considered the better pitcher of the two when both he and Wei-Yin Chen were signed, never threw a pitch for the Orioles in a regular season game as he had injuries and could never get it figured out in AAA. Wada signed with the Cubs as a free agent this offseason and in limited starts, he has done very well for Chicago.
The Cubs may be throwing some good pitchers in this series, but their biggest issue is offense as they rank near the bottom of the league in several offensive categories. Their .238 average is the third worst in all of baseball, their 480 runs are the third lowest, and they have the second most strikeouts in all of baseball.
Baltimore's offense, who is one of the best in baseball, will have to figure out the tough arms of the Cubs, but as long as the Orioles pitching staff keeps the Cubs to their normal numbers, three to four runs may be enough in each game to secure a victory.
The O's own a nine game lead in the AL East and are 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels for the best record in the American League, so while these games are not must wins by any stretch, if the Orioles have their eyes set on the top seed in the AL, these are games you have to win when you are playing inferior competition.
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