O's game blog: Looking for a sweep in Chicago

When this Orioles series in Chicago began, the team had not posted a four-game win streak since the end of the 2020 season. Today, the O's seek a five-game streak and a four-game sweep on the road against the White Sox – which would be their first four-game sweep at Chicago since 1995.

Baltimore's pitching has led the way to 4-0, 4-1 and 6-2 wins in this series. As a staff, the team's pitchers have allowed just the three runs on 16 hits with seven walks and 25 strikeouts.

The O’s pitchers have allowed two runs or less in seven of the last nine games, pitching to an ERA of 1.73 in that span. In the last four games, the O’s staff has allowed two total earned runs for an ERA of 0.55.

Over the last six games, O’s starting pitchers have an ERA of 0.98. The bullpen, which has been strong almost all year, has now gone 11 straight games allowing one earned run or less with an ERA of 1.29 in that span.

Couple that with some solid defense and an offense that has produced six runs or more 11 times in 22 games, you can see why the club has moved to 34-39 and is now five games from .500.

The Orioles have won five of six, seven of nine and 10 of 14 games. Since the Orioles were 10 games under .500 on May 19, they are 20-15. That is a 35-game win percentage of .571 and a team playing at that percentage over a full year would win 93 games.

On the mound today will be right-hander Jordan Lyles (4-6, 4.92 ERA), who is making his 15th start. The Orioles are 5-9 when he starts. On Tuesday versus Washington, he recorded a quality start, his fifth this season, allowing two runs over 6 1/3 innings on 92 pitches. Lyles is 3-4 with a 6.70 ERA in eight road starts.

The O’s get a real challenge today with the White Sox starting righty Dylan Cease (5-3, 2.68 ERA), who is making his 15th start. On the year, he has thrown 74 innings allowing 59 hits, 36 walks, 108 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.284.

Cease ranks seventh in the American League in ERA and is third in strikeouts. He ranks first among qualified AL pitchers in strikeout rate at 13.1 per nine. The Sox are 10-4 in his outings and 4-1 over the last five.

Cease has not allowed an earned run in his last five games covering 27 1/3 innings. He’s given up 10 runs in that span, but all unearned and his ERA was lowered during this stretch from 4.24 to its current 2.68. During this span opponents have hit just .175 with an OPS of .494 against him.

Cease is the first White Sox pitcher since 1913 (when the American League started tracking earned runs) to allow zero earned runs in five straight starts and the first MLB pitcher to accomplish the feat since Max Scherzer also did it in five consecutive starts from Aug. 26-Sept. 18, 2021, according to Elias Sports.

Cease has not allowed an earned run over his last three starts at home, going 0-1 with a zero earned runs, 24 strikeouts and an opponents batting average of .148 (9-for-61) opponents average. He has allowed seven unearned runs during that span and owns a 10-5 record, 3.23 ERA, 203 strikeouts and a .202 opponents average in 29 starts at Guaranteed Rate Field since 2020.

He has allowed five home runs in his first 14 starts of 2022 and has a homer rate of 0.61/9, the fifth-lowest mark in the American League this season.

During their current four-game winning streak, Orioles pitchers own a 0.55 ERA, their first time holding their opponents to two earned runs or fewer over a four-game span since doing so from June 5-8, 2016. The O's are one of six teams to limit opponents to only two earned runs in a four-game stretch this season, along with the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and San Diego Padres.

Baltimore's last series sweep of any kind was a three-game sweep from July 23-25, 2021 against the Nationals at Oriole Park and their last road sweep was a three-game set from June 28-30, 2021 at Houston. The last time the Orioles swept a four-game series was from July 17-20, 2017 versus Texas, and their last four-game sweep on the road was from Aug. 22-25, 2011 at Minnesota.

The last time the O's swept the White Sox was a three-game series at Oriole Park from May 5-7, 2017 and the last time the O's swept the White Sox in Chicago was a three-game series from Aug. 18-20, 2014. The last time the O's swept a four-game series in Chicago was from July 6-9, 1995.

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