O's game blog: Homestand begins with makeup game versus the Cubs

The Orioles begin a seven-game homestand today, opening with a makeup game versus the Chicago Cubs. They play the Cubs for just this one game today and then host Boston for three and the Chicago White Sox for three more next week.

This homestand includes Sunday night’s game when the Orioles host the Red Sox in Williamsport, Pa. in the Little League Classic.

But before they get that far they host the Cubs today to makeup a rained out game from June 8 at Camden Yards. The Orioles had won the opener of that two-game series 9-3 before the rainout. In July they swept a two-game series at Wrigley Field by scores of 4-2 and 7-1, respectively.

So they are 3-0 against the Cubs by a combined 22-6 score.

Chicago (49-67) has been playing better, winning the last two games of a series at Nationals Park. They have won five of their last seven, and eight of 12 games. The Cubs are 14-10 in the second half and have won four consecutive series. They are 25-33 on the road.

Cubs pitchers have been on a real roll the last month or so, pitching to an ERA of 2.69 over the last 27 games. That is among the best in the majors in that span.

Right-hander Adrian Sampson (0-3, 3.88 ERA) will make his 12th appearance and 10th as starter, and the Cubs are 5-4 in his starts. For the year, he has thrown 53 1/3 innings, allowing 54 hits and five homers with 14 walks and 42 strikeouts. He has a 1.275 WHIP with a 2.4 walk rate and 7.1 strikeout rate.

In his last start on Saturday at Cincinnati, he gave up six hits and two runs over four innings on 87 pitches. In four road starts, he is 0-1 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.339 WHIP.

Right-hander Spenser Watkins (4-2, 4.23 ERA) gets the start for the Orioles, making his 16th start. The club is 9-6 when he gets the ball this year. He faced the Cubs on July 13 and was the winning pitcher at Wrigley Field, allowing one run and four hits over five innings. 

The O's have gone 33-21 at Oriole Park this season, and their .611 home winning percentage is fourth in the American League and eighth in MLB. Baltimore has outscored its opponents 231-205 (+26) at home this year, and the Orioles have won 16 of their last 20 home games.

The Orioles have gone 10-5 in their first 15 games in August. Their .667 winning percentage is the best in the AL and tied for the fourth-best in MLB this month. The O's have outscored their opponents 70-57 (+13) in August while posting a .747 OPS, which leads the AL and ranks seventh in MLB this month.

Baltimore center fielder Cedric Mullins is slashing .309/.339/.527 (17-for-55) with three doubles, three homers, seven runs scored, six RBIs, three walks and three stolen bases in 13 August games with an at-bat. He recorded his first three-hit game since July 5 on Friday at Tampa Bay. He is second in the AL and tied for third in MLB with 25 stolen bases, making him the third Orioles player since 2000 with back-to-back seasons with at least 25 steals, joining Brian Roberts from 2004-09 (six seasons) and Corey Patterson from 2006-07.

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