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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Orioles series preview

It’s been a while, Baltimore!

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Cubs were supposed to face AL East teams in 2020, but that was all cancelled due to the pandemic.

Thus it’s been five years since these two teams have faced each other. Among familiar faces we’ll see in this brief two-game set is Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, who was the Cubs’ bench coach in 2014 and first base coach from 2015-18.

For more on the O’s, here’s Mark Brown, managing editor of our SB Nation Orioles site Camden Chat.

The 2022 Orioles alternate between looking like a team that’s lost 100+ games in the three most recent full-length regular seasons and a team that’s a bit better than expected while still not being very good. Right now is one of the “100+ loss” times, with Orioles fans particularly reeling from the news that MLB’s top pitching prospect, Grayson Rodriguez, is out until at least September with a Grade 2 lat strain. If not for that injury, I think he might have made his MLB debut during this two-game series. Instead, the Cubs will face Kyle Bradish, who debuted earlier this season and has been bitten by home runs a bunch, as well as Jordan Lyles, signed by the Orioles to eat innings while also giving up runs. Lyles has been successful at both so far this season.

You will get to see for yourselves the new left field wall at Camden Yards around which all discourse has revolved. The wall has been moved back as far as 30 feet in left-center field and is now 12 feet high, which had been projected to lead to something like 50 fewer home runs hit in Baltimore on the season. Last I looked, they were right about on pace for that. There has been more than one batted ball projected by Statcast at 400+ feet that hit off the top of the wall and turned into a double instead. Yankees slugger Aaron Judge recently claimed the stadium is now like a “Create-a-Park,” as if a player who plays 81 games at Yankee Stadium should ever opine about ridiculous fence dimensions. Right-handed hitters are not having fun with it overall, though. Judge has just been the most prominent whiner.

One area where the team has surprised up to this point is having a bullpen that’s beaten expectations. Orioles relievers had a worst in MLB ERA of 5.70 last season. So far in 2022 they’ve been fifth-best with a 3.13 ERA. We’ll see if it lasts if the rotation requires them to cover more innings. For now, there are eight relievers active on the roster and seven of them have ERAs at 2.02 or lower. Pessimist that I am, I note that all seven of these pitchers are significantly overachieving their FIP numbers and expect regression at any time.

Fun fact

The Cubs are 9-3 all-time vs. the Orioles and haven’t lost to them since 2008, sweeping a three-game series at Wrigley in 2014 (and that was a 96-win Orioles team!) and another three-game set in Baltimore in 2017.

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Keegan Thompson, RHP (6-0, 1.99 ERA, 1.081 WHIP, 3.51 FIP) vs. Kyle Bradish, RHP (1-3, 6.82 ERA, 1.545 WHIP, 5.44 FIP)

Wednesday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (2-5, 5.32 ERA, 1.225 WHIP, 4.20 FIP) vs. Jordan Lyles, RHP (3-4, 4.50 ERA, 1.484 WHIP, 3.98 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 6:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 6:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Prediction

The Cubs have played well on the road and I like these pitching matchups, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Cubs will sweep this pair and extend their current six-game winning streak against the O’s.

Up next

The Cubs have Thursday off, then head to Yankee Stadium for a three-game series against the Bronx Bombers that begins Friday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Orioles?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    2
    (80 votes)
  • 41%
    1
    (69 votes)
  • 11%
    0
    (19 votes)
168 votes total Vote Now