Baltimore Orioles player of the week: Mountcastle mashes his way to the top

Ryan Mountcastle had a bounce back week
Baltimore Orioles v Chicago White Sox
Baltimore Orioles v Chicago White Sox / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Throughout his career Ryan Mountcastle has been a very streaky hitter. When he's cold, he has trouble controlling the strike zone and usually ends up with a lot of strikeouts on pitches out of the zone. On the other end of the spectrum, when Mountcastle gets hot, he's capable on carrying a team nearly all by himself. Mountcastle is hot right now, and he's a big part of the reason the Birds finished this week 4-2 with two series wins.

Orioles fans saw both ends of the Mountcastle spectrum over the last few weeks. From May 12 through the 20, Mountcastle played in six games and went 1-22 in that time. He was hitting so poorly that Brandon Hyde batted him seventh in the lineup for the series opener against the White Sox on May 23. Mountcastle has been a mainstay in the heart of the Orioles lineup for years, so it was strange to see him so low in the order.

Who knows whether Mountcastle took it personally, but he responded brilliantly and reminded Hyde why he's been in the heart of the Orioles lineup for so long. Mounty went 4-5 in that game, notching a double and three singles, and has been on a tear ever since. He has a hit in 10 of his last 11 games. The only game Mountcastle didn't record a hit was May 28 against the Red Sox when he entered the game in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter. He went 0-1 with a walk, so his on-base streak currently stands at 11.

Ryan Mountcastle steps it up for the Orioles to close out May

This week, Mountcastle truly exploded. He had four multi-hit games and went 10-22 with five runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, and five RBI. He raised his batting average 20 points in the week and is now slashing .291/.330/.498.

Mountcastle's biggest game of the week came on June 1 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Batting cleanup for the Birds, Mounty crushed fastball from Taj Bradley 400 ft over the centerfield wall. It gave the O's a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the series opener against the Rays and set the tone for the series. It also broke an uncharacteristic 17-game homerless drought for Mountcastle. And if that wasn't enough, Mountcastle blasted a second two-run homer in the fourth inning, this one traveling 431 ft again over the wall in centerfield.

With the Orioles in the middle of a ridiculous stretch of the schedule that has them playing 43 games in 45 days, it is the perfect time for Mountcastle to get hot. His success this week has made him the first to earn the Orioles player of the week honors for a second time.