O's game blog: The road trip begins at Wrigley Field in Chicago

The red-hot Orioles are back in action tonight, beginning a two-city, five-game road trip that will take them up to the All-Star break. They begin play tonight looking for their longest in-season win streak in 23 years.

The Orioles (43-44) could reach the .500 mark with a win tonight. They have not been at .500 at any point this season. They were last at .500 on April 10, 2021 when they were 4-4. The Orioles have won eight in a row and Sunday beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-5 to complete a four-game sweep.

Baltimore has won eight in a row for the first time since winning 12 straight from Sept. 30, 2015 to April 12, 2016, and the first time in a single season since winning eight in a row from April 22 to May 1, 2005. The last time the Orioles won at least nine games in a row in a single season was when they won 13 straight from Sept. 7-22, 1999.

The O's have won 13 of their last 18 games and 19 of their last 28 games. Their .679 winning percentage since June 11 – over those past 28 games - is tied for the second-best winning percentage in the AL and fourth best in MLB over that time. Only Houston (.741, 20-7) in the AL has a better mark in that time frame.

The Orioles finished their homestand a perfect 7-0 after sweeping three games against the Texas Rangers and four against the Angels. This marked Baltimore's first sweep of a homestand since May 5-9, 2017 when the team took three games from Chicago-AL and two against Washington. The last time the Orioles swept a homestand of seven games was Aug. 3-9, 2004 when the team took three games against Seattle and four against Texas.

Baltimore's sweep of the Angels last weekend marked their first four-game series sweep since July 17-20, 2017 versus Texas. And it was the O's first sweep against the Angels since 2010 when the team won all six games in the season series: Aug. 3-5 at Oriole Park and Aug. 27-29 at Angel Stadium. The last time the Orioles swept a four-game series against the Angels was July 17-20, 2003.

The Orioles eight straight wins have come by just 14 total runs. During the win streak, they have won five times by a single run and once by two runs. They have three walk-off wins during the run.

Right-hander Jordan Lyles (5-7, 4.50 ERA) will make his 18th start tonight. On Thursday against the Angels he gave up just one run and five hits over six innings to get the win. Lyles is 1-2 with an ERA of 2.81 and three quality outings over his past four starts. In that span he has allowed a .206 batting average and .597 OPS.

While he is 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA at home this year, he is just 3-5 with a 5.89 ERA over 10 road starts.

Lyles has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his 17 starts and the Orioles are 6-11 in his games. He has thrown 90 or more pitches 14 times and thrown 100 or more six times, including in each of his last three starts.

Right-hander Adrian Sampson (0-0, 2.91 ERA) makes his fourth start for the Cubs. For the year he has thrown 21 2/3 innings allowing 19 hits with three walks and 19 strikeouts. He has a 1.015 WHIP and the team is 2-1 in his starts.

Chicago (34-52) just got swept four in a row by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs lost those games by two, one, two and two runs. They have lost six of their past eight and the Orioles beat them 9-3 on June 7 with the second game of a two-game series rained out.

The Orioles and Cubs face off at Wrigley Field tonight for the first time since 2014, when the Cubs swept a three-game series from Aug. 22-24. The last time the O's won a game on the North Side of Chicago was June 26, 2008. The Orioles have only played six games at Wrigley Field since moving to Baltimore in 1954, going 2-4. The O's have gone 4-9 all-time in 13 games against the Cubs; the only team they've played fewer games against is the Cincinnati Reds (12).

On Sunday, MLB announced that Orioles reliever Jorge López has made the All-Star game via the Player Ballot and will represent the Orioles next week at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. This marks the first career All-Star selection for López and he is the first reliever to represent the Orioles at the game since Brad Brach and Zack Britton in 2016.

López, 29, has collected 16 saves in 20 opportunities this season, pitching to a 3-5 record with a 1.74 ERA (8 ER/41.1 IP) in 38 appearances. He has struck out 47 batters while walking 15, and has limited opponents to a .169/.256/.270 (25-for-148) slash line with a 0.97 WHIP. His 16 saves rank tied for sixth in the AL and tied for 11th in MLB. 

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