Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Apr 29th – May 5th

It was another great week for the Baltimore Orioles as they dominated their division foe, the New York Yankees, before heading into Cincinnati to sweep the Reds. The O’s now sit alone atop the AL East, with a 1-game lead over the aforementioned Yankees. The birds started the week by taking 3 of 4 against the Yankees in the first meeting of these two AL powerhouses. This was undoubtedly the biggest series of the year so far for the Orioles and they did not disappoint. They were then able to keep things rolling as they swept the Cincinnati Reds, including an 11-1 beatdown to close out the week.

It is hard to go 6-1 in a week without solid pitching. But solid is quite the understatement for the Orioles as they did not allow more than 2 runs in any game this week. They also proved that they can close out tight games after a week that saw Craig Kimbrel blow 2 save opportunities. Although the bats struggled at times this week, we saw the O’s put up 11 runs in the series finale against the Reds, which is exactly what they were looking for heading into next week. Let’s take a look at this week’s who’s hot and who’s not:


Who’s Hot: Adley Rutschman

In a week that saw Jorge Mateo and Ryan McKenna contribute in big ways, it was the Orioles star catcher who shined brightest this week. Adley Rutschman was able to keep his great start to the season going this week by appearing in all 7 games and averaging .345 over 29 plate appearances. This brings his average on the season to .324 which puts him at 11th overall in the league in that category. He was able to pull off the impressive hitting this week in large part due to extra base hits. Of his 10 hits this week, 3 were doubles and he also blasted his 5th home run of the season on Saturday against the Reds.

Adley is surely the leader of this team, and between him and Gunnar Henderson, the Orioles are in a great spot for years to come. If Adley can keep putting up great numbers offensively like he did this week, it will be difficult for him to be de-throned as the best catcher in baseball.

Weekly Stats: .345 Avg / 1 HR / 5 RBI / 1 BB / 7 K / 3 2B / 0 3B / 16 Total Bases / 0 SB

Who’s Not: Colton Cowser

The AL Rookie of the month for March/April, Colton Cowser, has begun to cool down recently, including this past week. Colton “Milk Man” Cowser batted.167 and drove in just 1 RBI while striking out 5 times and being caught stealing once. Cowser also found himself on the bench 3 times this week, although he did appear as a pinch hitter in one of those games.

Every batter goes through tough stretches, and Cowser is coming off a stretch where he exceeded all expectations. To his defense, there were certainly some difficult pitching matchups for him this week, which ultimately led to him finding himself on the bench a few times. I don’t think there is any reason to worry about Colton or his level of play. He surely needs to work on seeing breaking balls better, but he is young and confident and will be back to his old form sooner rather than later. With Austin Hays returning from the IL soon, I think Cowser can find himself getting some more days off from time to time, however, there is no denying that Cowser has earned the right to start almost every night on this young, talented team.

Weekly Stats: .167 Avg / 0 HR / 1 RBI / 2 BB / 5 K / 1 2B / 0 3B / 3 Total Bases / 1 CS


Who’s Hot: The Starting Rotation

It simply would not be fair to pick just one guy to spotlight from the Orioles’ pitching staff, so we will shout out the entire pitching rotation. In a week that saw Grayson Rodriguez hit the IL with some shoulder soreness, the Orioles were able to welcome back ace Kyle Bradish and John Means; and they did not disappoint. Bradish went 4.1 innings in his season debut against the Yankees allowing just 1 run on 4 hits and striking out 5. On the other hand, Means was able to go 7 innings of shutout ball while allowing only 3 hits and striking out 8 in a win over the Reds.

It is a huge boost for the O’s to get these guys back, but others who stepped up in their absence have continued to perform. Before heading to the IL, Grayson Rodriguez went 5.2 scoreless innings in a win over the Yankees. Additionally, Cole Irvin continued his red-hot stretch of starts by going 6.1 scoreless innings while only allowing 2 hits against the Reds. However, the biggest star this week was Dean Kremer who secured 2 wins this week going 7 innings against the Yankees while only allow two solo home runs, and then allowing just 1 hit in 6 shutout innings against the Reds on Sunday.

Notice that I have not mentioned Corbin Burnes yet, who actually was hit with the only Orioles loss of the week when he gave up a whopping 2 runs off of 4 hits against the Yankees in a 2-0 loss Wednesday. In fact, the 2 runs allowed were on a home run that barely snuck its way inside the foul pole. It was truly an amazing week for Orioles’ starters. Of the 7 starts this week, only 3 saw a starter allow a run. Pitching like this would certainly allow the Orioles to rest their bullpen more and be a major threat come playoff time.

Weekly Stats: 41.5 IP / 23 H / 11 BB / 1.08 ERA / 36 K / 5-1

Who’s Not: Craig Kimbrel

One may consider it nitpicking, but Craig Kimbrel finds himself on the cold list yet again. It is Kimbrel’s 2nd straight week in this spot; however, it was not an awful week by any stretch of the imagination. With pitching as dominant as the Orioles’ this week, it was truly difficult to find a struggling pitcher. However, I had to pick someone, and Kimbrel gave fans more reasons for concern this week. After coming back from a few days off after his 2 blown saves last week, Kimbrel had a great outing Friday night against the Reds, securing his 8th save of the year while striking out all 3 batters he faced. However, Kimbrel has continued to look rough when appearing in back-to-back games. He struggled Saturday evening and nearly blew another save before Yennier Cano came in to save the day. Kimbrel only made it through 0.1 innings, allowing a run off of 2 hits and walk.

Kimbrel continues to prove he has some good stuff at times, while also giving fans a lot of reason to be concerned. One can hope that Kimbrel’s veteran experience will help in the back end of the season, but for now, Kimbrel is borderline trustworthy to close out games. I would not be surprised if we begin seeing Yennier Cano from time to time in closing situations.

Weekly Stats: 1.1 IP / 2 H / 1 BB / 8.18 ERA / 4 K / 1 Save / 1 Hold

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