Baltimore Orioles Player of the Week: Tony 'taters' his way to the top, owns Phillies

Anthony Santander has been on fire all month long.
Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

"You can't clip these wings" has been a battle cry of the Baltimore Orioles for over a year now. It's a mantra about overcoming adversity, and the Orioles have faced their fair share so far this season. Even as the injuries to the pitching staff continue to pile up, the Birds have continued to be successful with their next man up strategy, and this week was no different.

The O's started off the week by completing a four-game sweep of the division-rival Tampa Bay Rays. They returned home to host the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves sit second in the National League East while the Phillies are in first place with the best record in the senior circuit. Consecutive series' against those teams are daunting for anyone, but those six games also completed a stretch of 17 straight days playing a game for the Orioles, who had to be worn down by then.

Nevertheless the Orioles overcame the injuries and exhaustion to take two out of three against the Braves and Phillies, finishing the week 5-2. A big part of the reason they have continued to play so well has been the hot hitting of Anthony Santander. "Tony Taters" has been on fire and is hitting almost .300 with eight home runs and 14 RBI already in June, and the month is barely half over.

Santander had a quiet start to the week. He went hitless in the series finale against Tampa Bay and had just two singles in 11 at-bats against Atlanta. He didn't have an RBI in the series and scored only one run, but boy did he make up for it against Philadelphia.

Tony introduced himself to the Phillies in opener when he hit a two-strike, two-out, solo home run from the right side off of Phillies reliever Matt Strahm that tied the game 2-2 in the eighth. He was just as great on defense as well. When the Phillies took the lead on a bases loaded single from Kyle Schwarber in the top of the 10th, Santander threw a bullet from right field to home plate on one bounce to nail speedster Johan Rojas, who had just entered the game as a pinch runner, at the plate.

In the second game the of the series Tony Taters took over. For the second day in a row Santander hit a monster solo homer, this time from the left side, that tied the game at two apiece. He then gave the Orioles their first lead of the series with an RBI sacrifice fly in the sixth, but he wasn't done. In Santander's next at-bat, he hit his second home run of the game, this one a two-run shot, in the eighth to pad the Orioles lead in a game they eventually won 6-2.

In the rubber match of the series, Santander came through again. After the Phillies cut the Orioles lead in half to make it a 4-2 game in the fifth, Santander answered right back with an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to take back any moment the Phillies had picked up. He scored later on a three-run blast from Jordan Westburg that put the game out of reach and helped the Orioles to a big series win.

For the week, Santander went 7-for-26 with five runs, three home runs and six RBI. Four of his runs, along with the three homers and six RBI came in the last three games against the Phillies while hitting 5-for-11 for the series, which is why Santander is this week's Orioles Player of the Week. The Orioles will now get a much deserved day off as they get ready to face the New York Yankees in a three-game series starting Tuesday.