Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: June 24th – 30th

The Baltimore Orioles were able to get back on the right track this week after finishing last week on a 3-game losing streak. Yes, the O’s did lose the first two games of the week to extend the losing streak to 5. However, they then got back to their winning ways, taking 4 in a row before dropping the final game of the 4-game series against the Texas Rangers.   

As we watch the brutal June gauntlet come to an end, the O’s find themselves back on top of the AL East but will continue to jockey with the New York Yankees throughout the remainder of the season. To put the division to rest, the Orioles will undoubtedly look to upgrade both the starting rotation, as well as the bullpen. However, for now, they will work with what they have and rely on the red-hot offense to continue carrying them. Let’s take a look at this week’s who’s hot and who’s not:

Batting

Who’s Hot: Heston Kjerstad

After being recalled for the 2nd time this season, Heston Kjerstad is making sure he gives Orioles leadership no reason to send him back down. Since being called up again to begin the week, Kjerstad has been absolutely barreling balls all over Camden Yards. Kjerstad batted .438 while collecting 15 total bases and walking 3 times. A big part of this on-base success was the long ball as Kjerstad blasted 2 home runs, including a grand slam against the Texas Rangers on Saturday night. Kjerstad also drove in 8 runs to go along with his stellar week.

There has never been any doubt about what Heston Kjerstad can do with a bat in his hands. His raw power is truly impressive, and he deserves to be a regular starter in the major leagues. His name is constantly brought up when discussing some potential trades that the Orioles may look to make this summer. I speak for all O’s fans when I say we would love to see Kjerstad on the Orioles for many years to come, particularly as a starter. As long as he can continue to swing the bat the way he is now, he will surely continue to see playing time for the time being.

Weekly Stats: .438 Avg / 2 HR / 8 RBI / 3 BB / 3 K / 2 2B / 0 3B / 15 Total Bases / 0 SB

Who’s Not: Ryan Mountcastle

One of the Orioles’ best players this season, and potential All-Star at 1st Base, Ryan Mountcastle, has begun cooling off a bit recently. This week was not one of Mountcastle’s best weeks as he batted .222 and drove in just 1 RBI while collecting 5 total bases.

This really should not be a big concern for the O’s as Mountcastle will surely reclaim his spot as one of the O’s most dominant hitters in no time. Mounty has been one of the best all-around 1st basemen in the AL this season and will look to rebound next week coming off a couple of days of rest.

Weekly Stats: .222 Avg / 0 HR / 1 RBI / 1 BB / 2 K / 1 2B / 0 3B / 5 Total Bases / 0 SB

Pitching

Who’s Hot: Cade Povich

With the concern surrounding the Orioles starting rotation due to injuries, there is no doubt that the team will need some guys to step up. It seems that Cade Povich is starting to find his stride and provide that pitching spark at just the right time. The rookie, who has been struggling with walking batters, is seemingly getting much more comfortable in the majors. He is making very few mistakes and is locating his pitches much better. In 2 starts this week, Povich gave the O’s 10.2 innings of work while allowing 12 hits and 1 walk while yielding a 4.41 ERA and striking out 8. It should also be noted that Povich notched his first career win in the major leagues!

A 4.41 ERA and 12 hits allowed in less than 12 innings may not sound great on its face, however, of the 5 earned runs Povich allowed, 3 were solo home runs. The biggest sign of progress is of course the fact that Povich only walked 1 batter in 10.2 innings pitched. This is a great sign, as this has been his Achilles heel, not only since being promoted but in the minors. If Povich can continue keeping the base path clear and can keep punching out guys at a high rate, the team can live with the occasional home run. It is becoming more and more apparent of the O’s need for starting pitching, and Povich starting to heat up is a great sign for the team.

Weekly Stats: 10.2 IP / 12 H / 1 BB / 4.41 ERA / 8 K / 1-1 / 3 HR Allowed

Who’s Not: Cole Irvin

Unlike the aforementioned Cade Povich, Cole Irvin has been a thorn in the side of the Orioles’ recent starting pitching woes. Irvin, who began the season as one of the best starters in the entire AL, has been struggling mightily in his past few outings. This week was no exception. In 2 starts this week, Irvin was only able to manage a combined 7.2 innings, allowing 15 hits and yielding an 11.25 ERA. Irvin never had great control this week, finding himself behind in the count early, which allowed batters to swing freely quite often. Additionally, Irvin hit multiple batters and was only able to manage 3 strikeouts.

A month ago, Orioles fans were talking about how big it was that guys like Cole Irvin and Albert Suarez were stepping up and pitching great. That was going to be needed even more with the injury to Kyle Bradish, not to mention Tyler Wells, John Means, and Dean Kremer. However, Irvin has completely flopped and provided even more of a reason for the O’s to consider making a move at the trade deadline for a starting pitcher. The hope was to upgrade the bullpen, but now that focus has shifted tremendously. It will be critical for Irvin to find his stuff and regain some confidence, otherwise, he may find himself with a bullpen role in the near future.

Weekly Stats: 7.2 IP / 15 H / 2 BB / 11.25 ERA / 3 K / 0-2 / 2 HR Allowed

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