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Orioles on deck: What to watch Friday vs. Cubs, plus series matchups

Orioles (42-46) vs. Cubs (43-45)

Where: Camden Yards

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First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN/105.7 FM

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (5-7, 5.85 ERA) vs. Cubs LHP Mike Montgomery (1-6, 3.75 ERA)

Series matchup

Offense (MLB rank)

Runs per game: Orioles (4.45, 22nd); Cubs (4.53, 21st)

Average: Orioles (.254, 17th); Cubs (.239, 28th)

Home runs: Orioles (123, 11th); Cubs (117, t-12th)

OPS: Orioles (.734, 22nd); Cubs (.744, 18th)

Pitching (MLB rank)

Team ERA: Orioles (5.07, 30th); Cubs (4.10, ninth)

Starters' ERA: Orioles (5.75, 29th); Cubs (4.66, 17th)

Bullpen ERA: Orioles (4.11, 15th); Cubs (3.26, fourth)

Fielding (MLB rank)

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Fielding percentage: Orioles (.984, 12th); Cubs (.982, 25th)

Errors: Orioles (51, 12th fewest); Cubs (61, fifth most)

UZR/150: Orioles (-4.6, 26th); Cubs (4.2, fifth)

Defensive runs saved: Orioles (-15, 23rd); Cubs (24, fourth)

What to watch

1. Bring on the champs. There is no team the Orioles have faced fewer in their history than the Cubs. This weekend, they'll play only their fourth head-to-head series ever, and first since 2014. The Cubs come to Camden Yards for just the second time, and first since 2003. Although this weekend has lost some of its luster with the Cubs struggling a season after winning the World Series and the Orioles slogging through 2017.

2. Get back. Kevin Gausman had put together his best two-start stretch of the season before going into the All-Star break with an outing of five earned runs in four innings. He had pitched 12 1/3 scoreless innings over his previous two starts. It will be worth watching to see whether he can get back on track.

3. Good or bad break? The Orioles went into the All-Star break having won two straight after seven losses in eight games. It seemed before Saturday that the break couldn't come at a better time, but the club began winning right before the four days off. Can the Orioles pick up where they left off?

Orioles lineup

CF Adam Jones

3B Manny Machado

2B Jonathan Schoop

DH Mark Trumbo

1B Chris Davis

LF Trey Mancini

​​​​​​​C Welington Castillo

RF Joey Rickard

​​​​​​​SS Ruben Tejada

jland@baltsun.com

twitter.com/JoshLandSun

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