The Cubs (31-37) began their six-game homestand with a much-needed sweep of the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates. That whitewashing puts them within 3.5 games of first place in a wide-open National League Central. Things don’t get much easier for Chicago, however, as the mighty Baltimore Orioles come to Wrigley for three games this weekend.
The O’s (43-25) have the second best record in baseball, though they are still five games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in their own division. They have a .750 team OPS, the ninth-best mark in MLB, and are led by outfielder Austin Hays with an .851 mark. Stud catcher Adley Rutschman excels both with the bat and behind the plate, young shortstop Gunnar Henderson has 10 homers, and the compact Cedric Mullins is a tremendous hitter.
The O’s bullpen has been excellent so far in 2023 and closer Felix Bautista has been dominant with 18 saves and a 1.11 ERA. The starting rotation is a potential weak spot, however, with a 4.61 ERA that is just 20th in baseball. That could really haunt them if the Cubs are able to pitch well over the weekend.
Baltimore has made the most of one-run games with a 12-7 mark in those contests, an indication that their record may be somewhat inflated. That said, they’re still a very formidable opponent and the Cubs will have their hands full.
Chicago’s offense is really clicking and the return of Cody Bellinger from injury can only help the cause. Let’s see if they can get back to the consistent play that had everyone feeling so good in April. It would be nice to have a little excitement this summer at Wrigley Field.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, June 16 at 1:20pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
- Saturday, June 17 at 1:20pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
- Sunday, June 18 at 12:05pm CT on Peacock.
What to Watch For
- The Cubs are hoping to start Justin Steele on Saturday, though they still have not formally announced him yet.
- Ian Happ had five hits against the Pirates, including three for extra bases.
- Christopher Morel has eight knocks in his last five games, with two leaving the yard.
- Mike Tauchman continues to be an on-base machine, reaching base eight times against Pittsburgh.