Anthony Santander can change the momentum of a game with one swing of the bat.
He’s had some huge hits for the Orioles and has become one of the MLB’s most dangerous hitters this season.
Entering the series finale Aug. 19 against the Toronto Blue Jays, Santander is riding a career-high 13-game hitting streak. He is batting .364 (20-for-55) with six doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 15 runs, 18 RBIs and three walks during that stretch. It’s also the longest streak by an Oriole player since Trey Mancini had a 17-game hitting streak in 2017.
“He’s just on fire,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said about Santander. “Really driving the ball. He’s just had a really nice few weeks and nice approach and hitting the ball hard.”
Overall, Santander is slashing .298/.333/.702 on the season. He is tied for third in MLB with nine home runs and ranks second with 25 RBIs behind the San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. (28).
This is not the first time Santander has enjoyed this type of success.
“I remember back in 2016 I had a similar situation to what I’m experiencing right now,” the Margarita Island, Venezuela, native said through an interpreter. “I think the most important thing is to control the emotions, try to come to the ballpark ready to compete and help my team win, which is the most important thing right now.”
Santander put together his third career multi-home run game in an 8-7 10-inning loss to the Blue Jays Aug. 18. After riding a six-game winning streak Aug. 7-13, the Orioles (12-11) have lost three in a row and dropped four of five games, falling into third place in the AL East behind the New York Yankees (16-7) and Tampa Bay Rays (15-9).
“It’s been tough for sure,” Santander said about the recent losing streak. “The whole idea is to continue to fight, to work hard, to compete, and hopefully get a win at the end of the game.”
The Orioles have been one of the surprises of the MLB season. The rebuilding club was supposed to linger at the bottom of the standings, but instead, they are in the thick of the expanded playoff race.
If they want to make an unlikely run to the postseason, Santander will likely have to continue playing a key role. Nineteen of his 28 hits this season have gone for extra bases (nine doubles, one triple and nine home runs). Santander also leads the club with eight multi-RBI games and flashed the glove Aug. 18 against the Blue Jays, picking up his first outfield assist of the season by throwing out Travis Shaw at second base in the seventh inning.
What are Santander’s goals for the rest of the season?
He plans to keep things simple.
“My goals for this season are to stay healthy,” he said. “I can control the only things I can control, not worry about those things. Just come to the ballpark early and try to give my best effort so the team can win.”
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