Orioles hoping rest of trip is breeze in Windy City

The Orioles are preparing to spend a week in Chicago, with Thursday's off-day separating series against the White Sox and Cubs.

My Southwest flight this morning must be packed because I'm in the B group and I used early bird check-in.

The struggle is real.

The Orioles lost two of three at U.S. Cellular Field last season. They haven't swept the White Sox in a three-game series in Chicago since 1989.

Why not?

The White Sox haven't swept the Orioles in a three-game series in Chicago since 2003.

The Orioles actually are playing a team with a losing record. It was bound to happen.

norris-with-glove-pitching-white-sidebar.jpgBud Norris will make his 21st start of the season tonight and his 12th on the road. In his 11 starts away from home, he's gone 5-5 with a 4.55 ERA and three quality starts over 63 1/3 innings.

In two career starts against the White Sox, Norris is 0-2 and has allowed eight earned runs over 10 1/3 innings for a 6.97 ERA. He's never pitched as U.S. Cellular Field.

Norris has gone 5 1/3 and five innings in his last two starts, but he's gotten both decisions in 9-3 and 11-3 victories over the Blue Jays and Yankees, respectively. He's walked three and struck out 11.

The stat that really jumps out at me is Norris surrendering one home run in his last five starts. He's given up four in his last nine outings.

The current White Sox are batting .366 (15-for-41) against Norris this season. Adam Dunn is 3-for-9 with a double, home run and four RBIs. Conor Gillaspie is 4-for-5, and Dayan Viciedo is 2-for-5 with a double, triple and four RBIs.

The Orioles get Chris Sale tonight. In other words, a team that struggled to score runs in Cleveland gets a guy who's 10-2 with a 2.01 ERA.

Enjoy.

Sale shut out the Giants on four hits over eight innings in his last start, walking two and striking out 12. He's allowed two runs in his last 14 innings, with four walks and 21 strikeouts.

On June 23 at Camden Yards, Sale allowed two runs and 11 hits over six innings and didn't get the decision in the Orioles' 6-4 victory.

Sale is 0-1 with a 5.28 ERA in eight career games (two starts) against the Orioles, with nine runs and 23 hits allowed in 15 1/3 innings. He's walked nine and struck out 13.

Nelson Cruz is 5-for-11 with a home run against Sale. Delmon Young is 4-for-12 with a double and home run. Adam Jones is 2-for-5 with a home run.

Does Chris Davis sit against a tough left-hander? He's only got one at-bat against Sale. Steve Pearce is 0-for-3 with a walk.

Davis doubled twice yesterday and drove in a run. He must bat seventh if he's in the lineup.

Right-handers are batting .215 against Sale this season, which sounds really bad until you consider that left-handers are hitting .122.

I'll ask again: Does Davis sit?

Pearce will continue to play. He's hot again. Ride him until the wheels fall off.

Andrew Miller has appeared in eight games with the Orioles. In 7 1/3 innings, he's allowed one run and two hits, walked three and struck out 11.

Darren O'Day has allowed one run in his last 23 appearances, and one hit in his last 10 innings. His ERA is down to 0.96.

Zach Britton earned his 26th save yesterday in 29 chances in his first season as a closer.

How do you like the back end of the bullpen?

I'll be with the team for the rest of the season. A week in Chicago and trips to Tampa, Boston, New York and Toronto in September, along with all of the home games. And the playoffs, of course, if the Orioles make it.

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