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All Wel & good: Castillo's bat keying O's surge

Backstop making play for more consecutive starts with offensive outburst
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Every Major Leaguer wants to play every inning, but even Orioles catcher Welington Castillo admitted that rotating between he and Caleb Joseph has allowed him to stay more fresh both at the plate and behind it.

That freshness has translated into a red-hot August that has helped the Orioles creep to just 1 1/2 games out of the second American League Wild Card spot.

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BALTIMORE -- Every Major Leaguer wants to play every inning, but even Orioles catcher Welington Castillo admitted that rotating between he and Caleb Joseph has allowed him to stay more fresh both at the plate and behind it.

That freshness has translated into a red-hot August that has helped the Orioles creep to just 1 1/2 games out of the second American League Wild Card spot.

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"It's kind of like pitchers," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You know, you try to back off and make sure you keep them healthy and fresh so that when we get to this time of year, we're able to ride certain hot hands."

Castillo proved he has the hot hand in Wednesday's 8-7 victory over the Mariners after going 4-for-4 -- the four knocks tie a career high -- with three RBIs and two runs scored. The Orioles' red-hot catcher logged his 23rd multi-hit and 12th multi-RBI game of the year and finished a triple shy of the cycle.

Video: SEA@BAL: Castillo hammers a two-run homer

"Hitters get hot and get in a groove," Showalter said. "Catchers, infielders, defensively there's a little bit of that, too. Not like hitting as much, but the tempo and the pitching. He and Caleb, what do they have, 24 or 25 home runs between them?"

Although Joseph and Castillo have now combined for 24 home runs, Castillo has been the huge offensive catalyst over the past month, hitting .379 with six home runs and 14 RBIs in his past 16 games. During the Orioles seven-game winning streak, Castillo has hit a scorching .522 with three home runs and eight RBIs and has been one of the offensive leaders in moving the Orioles up in the AL Wild Card standings.

"[I've changed] mostly nothing [with my approach at the plate]," Castillo said. "I just go [up] there with my plan and try looking for my pitch and then … don't go away from my plan."

Video: SEA@BAL: Castillo plates Davis with an RBI double

Although the plan has been to rotate Joseph and Castillo behind the dish to keep the catchers fresh, Castillo's bat may be a necessity to continue the team's longest winning streak of the season. Showalter has now started Castillo in four straight games for the first time since the catcher started 11 in a row from June 10-20. With the AL Wild Card in sight and everything going right at the plate, Castillo is ready to take on more playing time.

"At the end of the day, me or [Joseph] want to play every day, but that's not our decision," Castillo said. "We just come every day here to play, prepared to play every day, but the decision has to be made by the skipper. There's no one [else] to make that decision. If you ask that question to [Joseph], he's going to tell you the same thing. He's prepared to play every day. Me, too. That's the [only] way every player can think about it."

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles, Welington Castillo