Baltimore Orioles (73-52) at Chicago Cubs (55-72), 2:20 p.m. (ET)
08/22/2014 10:33 AM
08/22/2014 10:38 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - Success is the best revenge.
Chicago right-hander Jake Arrieta gets his first look at the team that traded him -- the Baltimore Orioles -- on Friday afternoon when the Cubs host the American League visitors for the first of three interleague games at Wrigley Field.
Arrieta was a bit part for the Orioles last season when he was dealt to the Cubs with relief pitcher Pedro Strop in exchange for catcher Steve Clevenger and veteran pitcher Scott Feldman.
Baltimore had been hoping for a playoff push with an experienced pitcher, but Feldman was 5-6 with a 4.27 earned run average in 12 starts as the Orioles fell short of the postseason, and he then bolted for Houston as a free agent.
Meanwhile, Arrieta has blossomed into the ace of a transitioning Cubs staff after the trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics a month ago.
He'd posted a 5.46 ERA in 69 games with Baltimore in parts of four seasons, but is 6-4 with a stingy 2.61 ERA this year in 19 starts.
Baltimore has established a nine-game lead in the American League's East Division and has the best record in the majors -- 31-13 -- since the end of June.
The Orioles enter with three games worth of Chicago success, having swept the White Sox in a series that ended Wednesday.
Baltimore's 161 home runs are tops in the big leagues for the season, but the pitching staff's 2.87 ERA is fourth in baseball during the stretch since June 30 as well. The bullpen has been particularly hard to hit, allowing an opposition batting average of just .185 in that stretch.
Getting the start for the opener at Wrigley is Kevin Gausman, who's aiming for a fourth win in five starts.
He allowed one run on two hits in six innings of a 4-1 win at Cleveland on Sunday and has gone 3-1 in his last five starts with a 3.23 ERA.
Meanwhile, Arrieta's last start came Sunday, when he held the New York Mets to two hits in seven innings, but saw the bullpen cough up the lead en route to a 2-1 loss.
He's allowed two runs or less in 14 starts this year.
Baltimore took two of three from Cubs the last time these teams met back in 2008.
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